Pope Francis: These 4 'Perverse Attitudes' Could Push Earth to Its Brink
Pope Francis issued a strong message to negotiators at the COP23 climate talks in Bonn, Germany on Thursday, warning them not to fall into "four perverse attitudes" regarding the future of the planet—"denial, indifference, resignation and trust in inadequate solutions."
Francis, who has long pressed for strong climate action and wrote his 2015 encyclical on the environment, renewed his "urgent call" for renewed dialogue "on how we are building the future of the planet."
"We need an exchange that unites us all," he said, "because the environmental challenge we are experiencing, and its human roots, regards us all, and affects us all."
The pontiff also said he hopes the COP23 talks would be "inspired by the same collaborative and prophetic spirit" of COP21, which led to the landmark signing of the Paris agreement to avoid global temperature rise well below 2°C.
"The Agreement indicates a clear path of transition to a low- or zero-carbon model of economic development, encouraging solidarity and leveraging the strong links between combating climate change and poverty," Francis said.
Although the pope did not call any countries out by name, the U.S. is the only country not in support of the Paris agreement due to President Donald Trump's declared withdrawal from the pact. Syria and Nicaragua, which were the only other holdouts, recently joined the accord.
Trump, who notoriously said global warming is a hoax, has filled his administration with lawmakers who question the science of climate change or reject mankind's role in causing the global issue.
Francis has spoken against global warming skeptics several times before. In September, during an in-flight press conference from Colombia to Rome, the pope said that those who reject climate science remind him of a psalm from the Old Testament about stubbornness.
"Man is stupid, the Bible said. It's like that, when you don't want to see, you don't see," he said as the papal plane flew near Caribbean islands pummeled by Hurricane Irma. His statement was not addressed to any political leader in particular.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration used its only public forum at COP23 to promote coal.
According to the Associated Press, the top American representative at the talks told other delegates that the U.S. is still committed to reducing greenhouse gas even though the Trump wants to exit the Paris accord.
Dozens of nations have joined the Powering Past Coal Alliance, launched Thursday at the climate talks, to phase out the use of coal by 2030. The alliance involves more than 20 nations including Angola, Austria, Belgium, Britain, Canada, Costa Rica, Denmark, El Salvador, Fiji, Finland, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Marshall Islands, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Niue, Portugal and Switzerland, according to Reuters. The states of Oregon and Washington have also joined.
The climate talks are expected to end Friday.
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By Governor Jay Inslee
Climate Week this year coincides with clear skies in Washington state for the first time in almost two weeks.
In just a few days in early September, Washington state saw enough acres burned – more than 600,000 – to reach our second-worst fire season on record. Our worst fire season came only five years ago. Wildfires aren't new to the west, but their scope and danger today is unlike anything firefighters have seen. People up and down the West Coast – young and old, in rural areas and in cities – were choking on smoke for days on end, trapped in their homes.
Fires like these are becoming the norm, not the exception.
By Bill McKibben
To understand the planetary importance of this autumn's presidential election, check the calendar. Voting ends on November 3—and by a fluke of timing, on the morning of November 4 the United States is scheduled to pull out of the Paris Agreement.
President Trump announced that we would abrogate our Paris commitments during a Rose Garden speech in 2017. But under the terms of the accords, it takes three years to formalize the withdrawal. So on Election Day it won't be just Americans watching: The people of the world will see whether the country that has poured more carbon into the atmosphere than any other over the course of history will become the only country that refuses to cooperate in the one international effort to do something about the climate crisis.