Pope Francis urged international cooperation to tackle environmental crises, in a document released today. Laudate Deum – which in Latin means “Praise God” – is a follow-up to his 2015 Laudato Si, the most comprehensive Encyclical on climate and the environment.
“The Pope makes clear that the environmental crisis and plight of the poor are really the same crisis,” stated Eric LeCompte the Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA Network. “Wealthy countries need to take responsibility for the ways they've caused the climate crisis and support poor countries that don't have the resources to deal with the crisis.”
Pointing to droughts and floods, dried-up lakes, communities swept away by seaquakes and flooding, Pope Francis laments that in spite of many negotiations and agreements, the transition to cleaner energy sources and lower emissions is not progressing quickly enough.
Last year, a group of experts estimated developing countries need $1 trillion in aid and finance annually to meet climate goals. Next week, the IMF and World Bank hold their Annual meetings in Marrakesh, the first time in 50 years that the meetings take place in Africa. According to the African Development Bank, Africa is the world's most vulnerable region to climate change. Leaders at the meetings will discuss proposals on debt and changes to the mission of the World Bank and other development banks to deal with the climate crisis and other global challenges.
In a chapter devoted specifically to the upcoming UN conference on climate change, COP28, that Dubai will host in November and December, the document states that it “can represent a change of direction or … will represent a great disappointment.”
“One of the most important messages from Francis is that world leaders must work together," noted LeCompte. "We can only deal with the challenges of poverty and the climate crisis through cooperation."
Read Laudate Deum: Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis here.
Read Encyclical Letter Laudato Si here.