Pope Francis reaffirmed his support for the Paris climate accord and urged United Nations delegates to overcome the “perverse attitudes” keeping the world from fighting global warming.
“We need an exchange that unites us all, because the environmental challenge we are experiencing, and its human roots, regards us all, and affects us all,” Francis wrote to delegates gathered at the UN climate summit in Bonn, Germany.
While not naming names, Francis criticized Paris accord opponents seeking to undo the agreement that went into force in 2016.
“We should avoid falling into the trap of these four perverse attitudes, which certainly do not help honest research or sincere and productive dialogue on building the future of our planet: denial, indifference, resignation and trust in inadequate solutions,” Francis wrote.
President Donald Trump announced in June he would withdraw the U.S. from the Paris accord, though that won’t happen until 2020.
Trump said the Paris accord would hurt the U.S. economy while giving an advantage to competitors, like China and India, neither of which pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Francis specifically criticized economic and technical arguments against the Paris accord.
“Moreover, we cannot limit ourselves only to the economic and technological dimension: technical solutions are necessary but not sufficient; it is essential and desirable to carefully consider the ethical and social impacts and impacts of the new paradigm of development and progress in the short, medium and long term,” Francis wrote.
Francis made environmentalism a major cause of the Catholic Church, publishing an encyclical on global warming and environmental stewardship in 2015. Francis even gave a copy of that encyclical to Trump in May.
UN delegates have been hashing out the particulars of the Paris accord, but talks are being strained by calls from developing countries to mobilize money over and above $100 billion. Delegates pushed any decision on “loss and damages” to 2018, according to reports.
Trump administration officials attended the Bonn summit, holding at least one event to promote clean coal technology and nuclear power.
Despite plans to withdraw, White House energy adviser George David Banks told reporters Trump is still committed to fighting global warming.
Banks said the administration was promoting natural gas exports, funding clean coal and nuclear technologies among other things as part of their plan to reduce emissions.
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