Pope urges action on climate change
In a long-awaited encyclical calling for action on climate change, Pope Francis this week said human selfishness had caused global warming.
In the letter, he urged the rich to change their lifestyles to avert the destruction of the planetwide ecosystem.
Environmentalists hoped the message would spur nations ahead of the UN climate change conference in Paris in December, the BBC reported.
But parts of the document have already been criticised by some US conservatives, with two Republican presidential candidates dismissing it.
The encyclical aims to inspire everyone – not just Roman Catholics – to protect our planet.
The 192-page letter, which is the highest-level teaching document a pope can issue, lays much of the blame for global warming on human activities.
Pope Francis writes: “We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life.”
He criticises what he calls a “collective selfishness”, but says that there is still time to stop the damage, calling for an end to consumerism and greed.
The release comes six months before international leaders gather in Paris to try to seal a deal to reduce carbon emissions.
The BBC reported that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the document, saying climate change was a “moral issue requiring respectful dialogue with all parts of society”.
It has also been widely praised by environmental groups, with World Wide Fund for Nature president Yolanda Kakabadse saying it “adds a much-needed moral approach” to the debate on climate change.
Greenpeace leader Kumi Naidoo highlighted passages calling for policies that reduce carbon emissions by replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy.