Some time in the next few months, his successor Pope Francis may just go one step further. His actions could tip the balance against fossil fuels, as the world’s wealthiest institution takes on the world’s most powerful industry.
The signs have been building. In November, the Pope sent a letter to Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott urging him to address climate change and sustainability at the G20 summit – something Abbott had pointedly refused to do.
At Lima, the Pope sent another letter urging diplomats to agree on a strong deal to tackle climate change as UN negotiations drew to a close. In a message to Peru’s environment minister, Manuel Pulgar Vidal, who led the discussions in Lima, Francis warned that “the time to find global solutions is running out.”
A group of Catholic Bishops went one step further, calling for an end to fossil fuel use, citing climate change’s threat to the global poor as the lodestar of their concern. The document, signed by bishops from all continents, insisted on limiting global temperature rise to 1.5C relative to pre-industrial levels — a considerably more ambitious goal than the 2C ceiling that’s generally agreed on as the threshold beyond which climate change becomes truly dangerous."
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