Pope Francis has pleaded with the leaders at the UN COP25 climate summit in Madrid for “honesty, responsibility and courage” in the fight against climate change.

Driving the news

Four years after the Paris Agreement on cutting global emissions, the world must admit that the awareness of climate change “is still rather weak”, the Pope deplored in a message published Wednesday to the COP25, which runs through December 13.

World leaders have been “unable to respond adequately to that strong sense of urgency for rapid action called for by the scientific data at our disposal”, Francis continued.

“Current commitments made by States to mitigate and adapt to climate change are far from those actually needed to achieve the goals set by the Paris Agreement”, the Pope decried.

Francis lamented “how far words are from concrete actions” still on global warming.

Calling for transition and transformation processes to more sustainable development models, “to encourage solidarity and to reinforce the strong links between the fight against climate change and poverty”, Francis said that time is running out and the desire to change is still too weak.

“We must seriously ask ourselves if there is the political will to allocate with honesty, responsibility and courage, more human, financial and technological resources to mitigate the negative effects of climate change, as well as to help the poorest and most vulnerable populations who suffer from them the most”, the Pope cautioned.

Go deeper

Despite the continuing political inaction, however, the pontiff recalled that “numerous studies tell us that it is still possible to limit global warming”.

“To do this we need a clear, far-sighted and strong political will, set on pursuing a new course that aims at refocusing financial and economic investments toward those areas that truly safeguard the conditions of a life worthy of humanity on a ‘healthy’ planet for today and tomorrow”.

To follow that urgent “new course” on pollution, all need “to reflect conscientiously on the significance of our consumption and production models and on the processes of education and awareness to make them consistent with human dignity”, the Pope continued.

“We are facing a ‘challenge of civilization’ in favour of the common good and of a change of perspective that places this same dignity at the centre of our action, which is clearly expressed in the ‘human face’ of climate emergencies”.

Why it matters

On climate change “there remains a window of opportunity, but we must not allow it to close”, the Pope concluded his message.

“We need to take advantage of this occasion through our responsible actions in the economic, technological, social and educational fields, knowing very well how our actions are interdependent”.

Pleading with world leaders not to leave the burden on climate to coming generations, Francis called for action now “in order to preserve and cultivate our common home”.

“May we offer the next generation concrete reasons to hope and work for a good and dignified future!”, the Pope urged the COP25 delegates.

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Progressive Catholic journalist, author and educator. Working on social justice, equality and Church renewal.