"The climate emergency is a challenge for civilization that requires radical changes in economic systems, but political leaders have not done enough," Pope Francis said in a message to governments gathered at the annual climate summit in Madrid. .
"We must seriously ask ourselves if there is the political will to allocate with honesty, responsibility and courage, more human, financial and technological resources to the climate crisis," he said, in the pontifical message, which was well received by the activists.
“Numerous studies tell us that it is still possible to limit global warming. To do this, we need a clear, forward-looking and strong political will, determined to pursue a new course that aims to refocus financial and economic investments towards those areas that truly safeguard the conditions of a life worthy of humanity in a healthy planet for today and tomorrow. "
He placed special emphasis on the role of young people, who “show a greater sensitivity to the complex problems that arise from this emergency. We must not place the burden on the next generations to face the problems caused by the previous ones ”.
As a small state, the Vatican has observer status in the talks, so the Pope can send a representative, but does not have the right to vote on key decisions. As an Argentine, Pope Francis' words had a particular resonance, as he is still considered a Latin American COP, despite the last minute change of venue from Chile to Madrid following the political unrest in Santiago.
The Chilean government continues to be the official host, and its environment minister, Carolina Schmidt, is the official Chilean president, in charge of the conference, who appears frequently flanked by Lorena Aguilar of Costa Rica's co-hosts, and the main climate official from the UN, Patricia Espinosa, from Mexico.
Kat Kramer, Christian Aid's Global Climate Leader, welcomed the message from the Holy See: “The Pope's intervention in 2015 helped secure the Paris agreement and advanced the cause of global cooperation. It is a sad reflection on the lack of progress since then that he feels the need to once again present the moral case for action ”.
“Studies released this week showing temperatures and emissions hitting new highs suggest that our leaders are failing us. It is no wonder that Pope Francis felt the need to intervene once again to remind politicians that they must do a much better job. "
Neil Thorns, director of advocacy for the Catholic aid agency Cafod, said: “Pope Francis is clear that the climate crisis cannot be tackled alone: it must be considered alongside broader issues of environmental degradation, poverty and inequality.
His message to COP25 highlights the need to reform our development model along with the reorientation of our economic systems, emphasizing that the challenge of civilization “is that we act for the common good and with the most vulnerable people at the center of decisions. ”.
Various faith groups prayed for action on climate Tuesday at the COP, and on Friday morning they will bring a giant clock to the scene to “sound the alarm” on the climate crisis.
Thursday was designated as Youth Day, with a series of events to highlight generational differences. Climate strike activists were planning a march through central Madrid on Friday night, coordinated with marches in other cities around the world.
Progress has been slow on the official agenda in the two weeks of UN talks, which began last Monday. The efforts focus on a provision in the Paris agreement that would allow international carbon trading, which is controversial among some activists but supported by others.
Behind the scenes, countries are discussing how to update their plans to cut or cut greenhouse gas emissions, established under the 2015 Paris agreement. A growing number of countries, including the UK, will host the meeting Next year, they are signing up to a net zero emissions target for 2050, but governments are under pressure to set stronger targets for 2030.