Climate plea, Pope Francis chastises the United States and the “irresponsible” Western lifestyle.

Pope Francis

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis issued a fresh call for climate action on Wednesday, declaring that “the world in which we live is collapsing and may be nearing the breaking point” and scolding the United States for “irresponsible” Western excess as well as the “weakness” of world leaders for not acting more forcefully.

Francis published a follow-up known as an apostolic exhortation eight years after releasing his historic environmental encyclical, “Laudato Si’,” in which he chastised sceptics of climate change and urged a “ecological conversion” among the faithful.

It was regarded as a lower-level text and was far shorter than his 180-page encyclical, at just 12 pages. Its influence could also be more constrained.

In his summary of established science, Francis once more attacked deniers of human-caused climate change. Beyond the topic of climate change, he couched artificial intelligence as a troubling trend towards “increasing human power beyond anything imaginable.” With the exception of a brief segment of religious allusions towards the conclusion, the “green pope” criticised the amount of emissions from high-consumption cultures and said that the world’s poor were bearing the brunt of their actions in what reads like a policy document.

The pope wrote, “We can state that a broad change in the irresponsible lifestyle connected with the Western model would have a significant long-term impact, if we consider that emissions per individual in the United States are about two times greater than those of individuals living in China, and about seven times greater than the average of the poorest countries.”

Even though the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops quote, “our care for one another and our care for the earth are intimately bound together,” was merely a paraphrase of the pope’s words in “Laudato Si,” Francis made sure to commend American bishops for their apt expression of this idea, even as he criticized the country.

Climate activists applauded Francis’s 2015 statement, seeing him as contributing to the momentum that would lead to the historic Paris Agreements that were signed in December of the same year to drastically reduce global emissions. It is said that a Vatican group that participated in the discussions in Paris influenced promises made by Poland and Latin American Catholic nations.

In his latest document, Francis lamented the lack of progress made by world leaders since then and attributed it to both a “failure of conscience and responsibility” and the lack of institutions to hold nations accountable for their actions.

The ambition of Vatican City’s own climate pledges is not particularly noteworthy. Similar to Italy and the EU, it has committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. The Vatican claims to have outlawed single-use plastics, made compost for its gardens, and recycled the majority of its waste.

A portion of the paper, written by Francis, was devoted to his hopes for the COP28 (the United Nations climate meeting), which is set to begin in late November this year. Environmental campaigners have grown disillusioned with the yearly meeting, as nations argue over policy specifics and strive for slow progress. The United Arab Emirates, which has one of the biggest carbon footprints per capita in the world and is wealthy from oil production, is hosting this year’s summit. The UAE also boasts state-of-the-art renewable energy projects.

Among the various fault lines, less developed nations claim they require far greater financial assistance in order to prepare for and deal with the effects of a warming climate, which is mostly due to emissions from wealthier nations.