Considering science and religion is not exactly a match made in heaven, it’s a breath of fresh air to see that the leader of the Catholic Church is not only agreeing with scientists on a contentious topic, but is also rallying for change.
“I don’t know if it is all (man’s fault) but the majority is, for the most part, it is man who continuously slaps down nature,” he said to reporters on a plane taking him to Manila, Philippines. “I think man has gone too far. Thank God that today there are voices that are speaking out about this.”
According to New Scientist, later on this year, the Pontiff will release his eagerly anticipated encyclical on the environment and ecology which urges followers of the Catholic Church to be “Good Samaritans” on this important issue. He is also intending to hold a multi-faith symposium on the matter to increase awareness. Whether or not he is capable of convincing stubborn minds remains to be seen as the subject has conservative and liberal Catholics divided, and evangelicals typically vehemently deny global warming.
Still, the Pope is hopeful that his words can positively influence the outcome of the next UN Climate Change Conference, which is due to be held in Paris from November 30th to December 11th. The ultimate goal of this round of negotiations is to achieve, finally, a legally binding global agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to a level that keeps global warming below 2oC, which has eluded us for 20 years.
Last year, the meeting was held in Lima, Peru, which resulted in 190 nations reaching an agreement on how countries should tackle climate change. While some regarded this as an important step towards achieving a global climate change this year, many said it was too weak to limit warming, and Francis agrees: “The meetings in Peru were nothing much, I was disappointed. There was a lack of courage.”