On Saturday, the UN held their High Level Virtual Climate Ambition Summit on the 5th anniversary of the Paris Climate accord, with the goal of urging national governments to honor their commitments to reduce CO2 emissions and limit global warming.

Pope Francis sent a video message to summit participants, highlighting how the Holy See has adopted a “culture of care” to combat climate change.

“The effects of the ongoing pandemic and climate change—which are relevant not only for the environment but also for the spheres of ethics, society, economics, and politics—weigh most heavily upon the lives of the poor and vulnerable. In this way, they appeal to our responsibility to promote, through collective and joint commitment, a culture of care, which places human dignity and the common good at the center.”

He also brought attention to two commitments made by the Holy See to address climate change: “reducing net emissions to zero before 2050” and “promoting education in integral ecology.”

Ending his message to the UN, Pope Francis concluded: “The moment has come for a change of direction. Let us not rob the new generations of their hope in a better future.”

Read his full address to the UN below:

“The current pandemic and climate change, which have not only environmental but also ethical, social, economic, and political relevance, affect above all the life of the poorest and most fragile. In this way, they appeal to our responsibility to promote, through collective and joint commitment, a culture of care, which places human dignity and the common good at the center.

Aside from adopting various measures that cannot be postponed any further, a strategy is necessary to reduce net emissions to zero (net-zero emission).

The Holy See joins in this aim, moving on two levels:

1. On the one hand, Vatican City State is committed to reducing net emissions to zero before 2050, intensifying the efforts at environmental management that have already been in process for some years, and which make possible the rational use of natural resources such as water and energy, energy efficiency, sustainable mobility, reforestation, and the circular economy also in waste management.

2. On the other, the Holy See is committed to promoting education in integral ecology. Political and technical measures must be united with an educational process that favors a cultural model of development and sustainability based on fraternity and the alliance between the human being and the environment. From this perspective, I inaugurated the Global Education Pact to accompany Catholic schools and universities, attended by more than seventy million students in all continents, and I have supported the “Economy of Francesco”, through which young economists, businesspeople, and experts in finance and the world of work promote new pathways to overcome energy poverty, which place care for common goods at the center of national and international politics, and which favor sustainable production also in countries with a low income, sharing appropriate advanced technologies.

The moment has come for a change of direction. Let us not rob the new generations of their hope in a better future. Thank you.”

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