Pope highlights need for action on climate crisis

Posted on 05 October 2023


The first papal document to focus exclusively on the climate crisis has been published.

The Laudate Deum is addressed to "all people of goodwill" and calls for urgent action to address the crisis.

Pope Francis says that the climate crisis is a "grave threat to humanity and to the planet," and he warns that the consequences of climate change will be "catastrophic" if we do not take action now.

Oceans reached their highest recorded temperatures this year, soaking up heat due to climate change. 

Globally, September was around 1.75°C warmer than pre-industrial levels. With temperatures above the 1.5°C deemed by scientists to be safest to avoid the worst climate impacts, the crisis continues to be driven by the burning of fossil fuels.

Pope Francis calls for a "just transition" to a clean energy economy and says that this transition must be "efficient, obligatory, and readily monitored." 

He also calls for a "new global goal" for renewable energy and energy efficiency.

"The Pope's reflection that 'international negotiations cannot make significant progress due to positions taken by countries which place their national interests above the global common good' resonates deeply with me,” says WWF Global Lead Climate and Energy Manuel Pulgar-Vidal.

“We must see COP28 as the place where 'the capacity of human beings to transcend petty interests and to think in bigger terms' will fully bloom. 

“Ambitious decisions that reset the course we are on are imperative. We cannot afford to jeopardize the slim opportunity we have to do this."

WWF Italy Head of Climate and Energy Mariagrazia Midulla says the Pope’s warning is a challenge to those in power who “risk” being remembered for their inability to take necessary action.

“It is also a call to all people of good will, individuals, communities, and families to heed the climate crisis and take action within their sphere," she added.

Pope Francis' papal document is a powerful call to action on climate change and has been published ahead of the COP28 climate summit in Dubai this December.

Read more:

Laudate Deum highlights Pope’s deep concern for climate crisis

The climate crisis: The greatest challenge humanity has ever faced