Pope to call on UN to fight climate change

Pope Francis next year will issue an edict urging the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics to take action to fight climate change.

The 50- to 60-page order will be presented as part of a speech Francis will give to the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York in September, The Guardian reported.

ADVERTISEMENT
Bishop Marcelo Sorondo, the pope’s top scientific adviser, said the purpose of the edict is to influence countries in the U.N., as they try negotiate the first new international climate agreement in 20 years.

“Our academics supported the pope’s initiative to influence next year’s crucial decisions,” he said at a meeting in London, according to The Guardian. “The idea is to convene a meeting with leaders of the main religions to make all people aware of the state of our climate and the tragedy of social exclusion.”

Francis and the Catholic Church will present the effort as a moral obligation for Catholics. But it will also be framed on scientific grounds.

As part of the climate push, Francis will also make a March visit to the Philippines, which was hit by a major typhoon in 2013.

The edict will come amid various efforts Francis has taken to call for an end to financial and economic systems that he says hurt the poor and the environment.

“An economic system centered on the god of money needs to plunder nature to sustain the frenetic rhythm of consumption that is inherent to it,” he said in October, according to The Guardian.

But the climate change effort is likely to anger conservative Catholics in places such as the United States and Australia who doubt the science behind human-caused climate change and don’t believe governments should take actions to stop it, The Guardian said.