Pope calls on Finance Ministers to be free of the “idolatry of money that causes so much suffering”

The Pope lamented continued development of and investment in fossil fuels.  “We continue along old paths because we are trapped by our faulty accounting and by the corruption of vested interests,” he said. “We still reckon as profit that which threatens our very survival.”  “It is my prayerful hope that…you will agree upon a common plan that accords with climate science, the latest in clean energy engineering and, above all, the ethics of human dignity,”

‘Startling’ inaction on climate change must end, pope says

By Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service, 28 May 2019

VATICAN CITY — If the world is to win the fight against climate change, its leaders must stop profiting from fossil fuels that threaten the survival and well-being of the planet and its inhabitants, Pope Francis said.

Addressing a Vatican climate change conference for finance ministers from around the world May 27, the pope said that the current crisis is “caused by a confusion of our moral ledger with our financial ledger.”

“We live at a time when profits and losses seem to be more highly valued than lives and deaths, and when a company’s net worth is given precedence over the infinite worth of our human family,” he said.

The conference, “Climate Change and New Evidence from Science, Engineering and Policy,” was sponsored by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. Among the issues discussed during the event was the fulfillment of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, a list of 17 major commitments that the world’s nations and U.N. agencies will be asked to pursue until 2030.

The pope gave his address after a private meeting with Raoni Metuktire, chief of the Kayapo indigenous group in the Brazilian Amazon region, to discuss the Synod of Bishops on the Amazon, which will be at the Vatican in October.

“This meeting attests to Pope Francis’ care for the Amazonian people and environment, as well as to his commitment to safeguard our common home,” said Alessandro Gisotti, Vatican interim spokesman.

The climate change conference featured reports from climatologists and experts on the dangerous effects of greenhouse gas emissions on the environment.

Despite the commitment by world leaders to meet the U.N. goals, the pope lamented that an increase in investments in fossil fuels and a decrease in clean energy investments indicate that “the signs today are not good.”

“We continue along old paths because we are trapped by our faulty accounting and by the corruption of vested interests,” he said. “We still reckon as profit that which threatens our very survival.”

Pope Francis said the “effects of global inaction are startling” and cited recent extreme global meteorological events, such as heat waves, droughts, fires and floods, as “a dire premonition of much worse things to come, unless we act and act urgently.”

“It is my prayerful hope that, as stewards of the world’s finances, you will agree upon a common plan that accords with climate science, the latest in clean energy engineering and, above all, the ethics of human dignity,” he told the finance ministers.

**

La Croix, report

Decisive action needed to tackle climate change, Francis says

La Croix International staff (with Vatican News)
Vatican City, May 29, 2019

Pope Francis addresses foreign ministers during the discussion on Climate Change and New Evidence from Science, Engineering, and Policy, at the Vatican. (Photo courtesy Vatican Media)

Finance ministers have “the responsibility of working to achieve the goals that your governments have adopted” to combat climate change, says Pope Francis.

Pope Francis, at a discussion on the Sustainable Development Goals, organized by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, described climate change as “an issue of great importance for humanity and the whole of creation.”

The discussion brought together finance ministers from various countries to reflect on “Climate Change and New Evidence from Science, Engineering, and Policy.”

“We live at a time when profits and losses seem to be more highly valued than lives and death, and when a company’s net worth is given precedence over the infinite worth of our human family,” Pope Francis said.

“Today’s global interdependence obliges us to think in terms of one world with a common plan,” he said while calling on the finance ministers to “work to achieve the goals” agreed on by governments in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement COP21.

Pope Francis also warned them of the current state of affairs. “The signs today are not good,” he said, pointing to the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere while telling the finance ministers that “Time is of the essence. We await your decisive action for the sake of all humanity.”

Pope Francis reiterated this point by citing climatologists. “Their message is clear and insistent. We need to act decisively to put an end to all emissions of greenhouse gases by mid-century at the very latest, and to do even more than that.”

Francis also called on ministers to commit to several specific goals:

  • to value what is important, not what is superfluous;
  • to correct our national accounts and our business accounts, so as to stop engaging in activities that are destroying our planet;
  • to put an end to global dependency on fossil fuels;
  • to open a new chapter of clean and safe energy, that utilizes, for example, renewable resources such as wind, sun and water;
  • above all, to act prudently and responsibly in our economies to actually meet human needs, promote human dignity, help the poor and be set free of the idolatry of money that creates so much suffering.

“Before all else,” the pope said, “We must recognize the ledger of life itself, of human dignity and survival.” He said it is his “prayerful hope that, as stewards of the world’s finances, you will agree upon a common plan that accords with climate science, the latest in clean energy engineering, and above all the ethics of human dignity.”

For the full text of the pope’s address, click here.

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