Pope Francis has today issued an update to his 2015 message about the Climate Crisis, which was entitled 'Laudato Si''. His new apostolic exhortation, Laudate Deum, has been written 'to all people of good will on the climate crisis.'
He expresses his concern that in the eight years since his last message on the climate crisis, 'our responses have not been adequate, while the world in which we live is collapsing and may be nearing the breaking point.' He goes on to say that despite attempts to 'deny, conceal, gloss over or relativize the issue, the signs of climate change...are increasingly evident.'
He is also clear on the fact that humans are the cause of the problems we face, but he points out that 'the climate crisis is not exactly a matter that interests the great economic powers, whose concern is with the greatest profit possible at minimal cost and in the shortest amount of time.'
He expresses his frustrations with the slowness of the COP process, saying 'international negotiations cannot make significant progress due to positions taken by countries which place their national interests above the global common good.'
Of COP29, due to take place in the United Arab Emirates in November and December of this year, he writes 'To say that there is nothing to hope for would be suicidal, for it would mean exposing all humanity, especially the poorest, to the worst impacts of climate change.'
Decisive action is what is required, rather than more words. We can't continue 'appearing to be concerned but not having the courage needed to produce substantial changes.' And that action cannot just be based around new technologies, as this would only be 'pasting and papering over cracks', while beneath the surface there is a continuing deterioration to which we continue to contribute'.
He hopes that participants in COP28 negotiations will be 'strategists capable of considering the common good and the future of their children, more than the short-term interests of certain countries or businesses.'
He also comments on the growing efforts by households to reduce their impacts on the environment. Whilst the small changes families make don't create the global-scale action we need, 'we are helping to bring about large processes of transformation rising from deep within society.'
A shift in lifestyles is required, '...there are no lasting changes without cultural changes, without a maturing of lifestyles and convictions within societies, and there are no cultural changes without personal changes.'
The Pope closes by expressing his hope that those of us in the Western world do more to live more sustainably. He states, 'emissions per individual in the United States are about two times greater than those of individuals living in China, and about seven times greater than the average of the poorest countries, we can state that a broad change in the irresponsible lifestyle connected with the Western model would have a significant long-term impact.'