Pope Francis ramps up environmental message

Source: Amanda Reilly, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, February 8, 2016

Pope Francis today urged people to protect their “common home” from environmental degradation in a new video message.

While not mentioning climate change specifically, the pope’s message in the video carries the same themes as his papal encyclical last year that discussed the scientific basis for climate change and called for urgent action to protect the planet.

“The relationship between poverty and the fragility of the planet requires another way of managing the economy and measuring progress,” the pope said in the new video, “conceiving a new way of living.”

The video is the second in a monthly series of messages from the pontiff on various topics. The pope’s January video has so far garnered more than 5 million online views.

The minute-and-a-half February video begins with peaceful images of nature and shows the pope speaking to the camera before cutting to an ominous shot of garbage washed up on a beach.

“This month, I make a special request,” the pope said. “That we may take good care of creation — a gift freely given — cultivating and protecting it for future generations.”

Tomás Insua, global coordinator of the Global Catholic Climate Movement, called the video “very timely” in light of the recent Paris climate deal. In December 2015, more than 190 nations met in Paris and agreed to limit warming to 2 degrees Celsius and to pursue efforts to limit warming to 1.5 degrees.

“The pope video is a compelling follow-up of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si, reinforcing his powerful call to action to care for our common home,” Insua said in a statement. “And it is a very timely message, given that governments and society as a whole need to put into practice the recent Paris Climate Agreement by taking bold action to tackle the climate crisis.”

Pope Francis last year brought his climate change message to Congress and pledged support for President Obama’s regulations limiting carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. Recent polls have showed that the pope is swaying U.S. acceptance of climate change.