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Pope Francis has called for leaders to speed up action to tackle the climate crisis, warning that recent climate disasters show the world may be nearing “breaking point”.
The call, made in a letter named Laudate Deum or ‘Praise God’, has been issued ahead of the COP28 climate talks in November, where the Pope warns leaders must commit to “the abandonment of fossil fuels” and urgently switch to clean energy sources.
The document, known as an apostolic exhortation, follows eight years after Laudato Si’, in which the Holy Father called for all people to care for our common home.
Time running out – but it’s not too late to act
Pope Francis warns that failing to act urgently enough to stop global temperature rises means “we are now unable to halt the enormous damage we have caused”, with some effects of the climate crisis being irreversible and time running out “to prevent even more tragic damage”.
The Pope cites the effects of droughts, floods and melting glaciers and ice caps as examples of “the signs of climate change”, and that these impacts are being “borne by the most vulnerable people”.
However, the Pope insists that action can still be taken to avoid even greater catastrophes in the future. Francis argues that politicians have the responsibility to bring about the most important changes to reduce emissions, but that each person has a role to play in minimising suffering caused by temperature rises and bringing about wider changes in attitudes and behaviour.
Laudate Deum: Your questions answered
The Vatican released the new Apostolic Exhortation by Pope Francis, Laudate Deum, on 4 October. It has been called a follow up to Laudato Si’.
“World leaders can’t shirk responsibility”
Christine Allen, Director at CAFOD, said:
“As Pope Francis reminds us, human beings and the earth are not replaceable commodities. We are interdependent and connected. Yet we continue to put greed over and above our love for each other or for our planet. We echo his calls for measures that will help to re-balance our world: including phasing out all fossil fuels and investing in clean energy sources.
“World leaders – including the UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak – cannot shirk their responsibility to the millions around the world who have contributed least to the heating of our planet. Instead of making hundreds of trips in private jets, politicians in wealthy countries must lead the way: facing up to our historic responsibility as a major polluter, and providing more financial and technical support for communities to respond to the effects of climate change.”
Isacko Molu, Director of Caritas Marsabit in Kenya, a partner of CAFOD, said:
“Pope Francis inspires us in our work and is right to lambast the determined work of humans to damage creation. The lands I grew up in as the son of a pastoral farmer are no longer recognisable: barren and dry, they – and the communities who relied upon them – are just some of those who have lost out from the greed and indecision of world leaders.”
The publication of Laudate Deum came at the end of the Season of Creation and on the feast day of St Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecology.
How can I respond to Laudate Deum?
Pray for God's gift of creation, the earth - our common home, all people and creatures.
Sign our petition urging the Prime Minister not to backtrack on climate action.
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