Friday, November 27, 2015

Pope:  ‘Catastrophic' If Climate Talks Are Derailed

Pope Francis warned Thursday that it would be "catastrophic" for world leaders to let special interest groups get in the way of a global agreement to curb fossil fuel emissions as he brought his environmental message to Africa on the eve of climate- change talks in Paris.

Francis issued the pointed warning in a speech to the U.N.'s regional office in Nairobi.

Thursday was the second day in a row that Francis had touched on environmental concerns after he arrived in Kenya for a six-day pilgrimage that also takes him to Uganda on Friday and the conflict-ridden Central African Republic.

Francis has made ecological concerns a hallmark of his nearly 3-year-old papacy, issuing a landmark encyclical earlier this year that paired the need to care for the environment with the need to care for humanity's most vulnerable.

He has accused the world's powerful countries of indulging a “selfish and boundless thirst” for money by ravaging the planet's natural resources and impoverishing the weak and disadvantaged in the process.

On Thursday, Francis repeated that message but took particular aim at those who reject the science behind global warming.  In the United States, that includes some Republican presidential candidates and lawmakers, who have opposed steps President Barack Obama has taken on his own to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

"It would be sad, and dare I say even catastrophic, were special interests to prevail over the common good and lead to manipulating information in order to protect their own plans and interests," Francis said.

Francis, who has said global warming is "mainly" man-made, said the world was faced with a stark choice: either improve or destroy the environment.  He said he hoped the Paris talks, which begin on Monday, would approve a "transformational" agreement to fight poverty and protect the environment by developing a new energy system that depends on minimal fossil fuel use.

Read more at Pope: ‘Catastrophic' If Climate Talks Are Derailed

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