by Ryan Koronowski Posted on December 28, 2014 at 1:32 pmUpdated: December 28, 2014 at 10:42 pm
“Pope Francis Expected To Instruct One Billion Catholics To Act On Climate Change”
CREDIT: AP Photo/Jorge Saenz
At the end of 2015, the nations of the world will meet in Paris and attempt to hammer out a global deal to cut greenhouse gas emissions. And Pope Francis hopes that the world’s Catholics, as well as other major religions, will be a big part of serious climate action.
This includes a series of steps next year. Francis is expected to tell the planet’s 1.2 billion Catholics why acting on climate change is essential to the faith using an influential church document called an encyclical. This has been long–rumored, but will reportedly be released to the world’s 5,000 bishops and 400,000 priests following a papal visit to the hurricane-damaged city of Tacloban in the Philippines.
In September, the Pope will take his message to the U.N. General Assembly in a New York address next year, according to John Vidal of the Guardian, who cited Vatican insiders. He will reportedly personally lobby political and faith leaders there, with the goal of pushing them to commit to real action ahead of the Paris meetings in December of next year.
While it isn’t certain what exactly he will tell these leaders, it will likely be similar to what he has been telling Catholics everywhere since the beginning of his papacy. Earlier this year, Francis told a massive crowd in Rome, “if we destroy Creation, Creation will destroy us!” He has called the destruction of the rainforest a “sin,” and under his leadership, the Church held a five-day summit with scientists, economists, philosophers, astronomers, and other experts to explore ways the Catholic church could address climate and sustainability.
Earlier this month during the climate talks in Lima, Catholic bishops from every continent called for “an end to the fossil fuel era.” This follows, they said, the need to prioritize “the immediate needs of the most vulnerable communities.” Addressing the causes and effects of climate change is a moral and social justice issue for them, as the impacts of a changing climate will disproportionately affect those who can least-ably adapt (and who did not emit most of the pollution in the first place).