By Roger Harrabin BBC environment analyst
The Vatican Science Academy has challenged politicians to end their “infatuation” with a form of economic growth that is ruining the Earth.
The academy said that nations were measuring their wealth by GDP (Gross Domestic Product), taking no account of the harm caused by business practises.
It urged countries to act as stewards of God’s creation.
The statements are likely to influence the Pope’s coming Encyclical on climate change.
An Cambridge Economics professor, Partha Dasgupta, told the academy’s climate conference in St Peter’s Basilica: “GDP is a disgraceful index because it does not count depreciation of our assets – including damage to Mother Nature, the most fundamental asset we have.”
Cardinal Peter Turkson, who helped write the coming Encyclical – an official statement – said: “For humans to degrade the integrity of the Earth by constant changes in its climate; by stripping its natural forests; to contaminate Earth’s water, land and air with poisonous substances – all of these are sins.
“There is an all-embracing imperative to protect our garden, our hope. We must move away from our unthinking infatuation with GDP.”