Pope at­tacks ‘short­sighted hu­man ac­tiv­ity’

Urges world lead­ers to re­duce global warm­ing

Las Vegas Review-Journal (Sunday) - - WORLD - By Ni­cole Win­field

VAT­I­CAN CITY — Pope Fran­cis on Satur­day blasted “short­sighted hu­man ac­tiv­ity” for global warm­ing and ris­ing sea lev­els and urged lead­ers at cli­mate talks in Ger­many to take a global out­look as they ne­go­ti­ate ways to curb heat-trap­ping emis­sions.

Fran­cis met with a del­e­ga­tion of Pa­cific lead­ers and told them he shares their con­cerns about ris­ing sea lev­els and in­creas­ingly in­tense weather sys­tems that are threat­en­ing their small is­lands.

He de­cried in par­tic­u­lar the state of oceans, where over­fish­ing and pol­lu­tion by plas­tics and mi­cro-plas­tics are killing fish stocks and sea life that are crit­i­cal to Pa­cific is­land liveli­hoods.

While sev­eral causes are to blame, “sadly, many of them are due to short­sighted hu­man ac­tiv­ity con­nected with cer­tain ways of ex­ploit­ing nat­u­ral and hu­man re­sources, the im­pact of which ul­ti­mately reaches the ocean bed it­self,” the pope warned.

His­tory’s first Latin Amer­i­can pope has fre­quently spo­ken out against global warm­ing and the im­pact it has in par­tic­u­lar on poor and in­dige­nous peo­ples. His land­mark 2015 en­cycli­cal “Praise Be” de­nounced how wealthy coun­tries ex­ploit the poor, risk­ing turn­ing God’s cre­ation into an “im­mense pile of filth.”

The Pa­cific lead­ers praised the en­cycli­cal for draw­ing at­ten­tion to those most vul­ner­a­ble to cli­mate change, in­clud­ing res­i­dents of small Pa­cific is­lands for whom ris­ing sea lev­els pose an ex­is­ten­tial threat.

The pres­i­dent of Nauru, Baron Waqa, told Fran­cis that Pa­cific is­land lead­ers would urge ne­go­tia­tors at Bonn to up­hold the Paris cli­mate ac­cord, where govern­ments made com­mit­ments to keep global tem­per­a­ture rise this cen­tury be­low 2 de­grees Cel­sius above pre-in­dus­trial lev­els, and pur­sue ef­forts to limit it to 1.5 de­grees Cel­sius.

Waqa warned that the 1.5-de­gree rise was a cru­cial thresh­old: “There only re­mains a few years be­fore we ex­ceed car­bon diox­ide lev­els that will make tem­per­a­ture rise to lev­els that will see many parts of the Pa­cific dis­ap­pear,” he said.

Fran­cis told the Pa­cific lead­ers that he hoped the Bonn talks would take their plight into con­sid­er­a­tion, and look for a shared strat­egy to con­front the “grave prob­lems” fac­ing the en­vi­ron­ment and oceans.

The As­so­ci­ated Press

Pope Fran­cis ad­dresses a del­e­ga­tion of Pa­cific lead­ers Satur­day in the Cle­men­tine Hall at the Vat­i­can.

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