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Pope Francis’ climate encyclical could have ‘mayor impact’, says UN



The UN thinks that Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, set to be released next week, could have a “major impact” on climate change talks and negotiations ahead of a climate summit in December.

The much anticipated encyclical, a letter set to bishops, is expected to argue that there is a moral duty to protect the environment and could spur many Catholics to take action on climate change. While some have welcomed the Pope’s involvement in the issue, others have criticised the move, stating that the Pope should stay out of such matters, including some US evangelical Christian leaders.

Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, said, “Pope Francis is personally committed to this issue like no other pope before him. I do think the encyclical is going to have a major impact.”

The comments come after the G7 met in Bonn, Germany, with one of the major topics of the meeting being climate change and the environment. World leaders are set to gather in December in Paris for climate negotiations, with the hope that a universal treaty can be agreed upon.

Figueres also noted that more governments, businesses and investors are recognising the economic benefits of moving towards a more sustainable and low-carbon economy.

“I believe that the transformation is on its way, it is irreversible and it is only going to pick up speed,” she added.

The encyclical, which is expected to be published on June 18, will not be the first time the Pope has addressed issues around sustainability. He has previously commented that exploiting the Earth is a “sin” and called for development that respects “God’s creation.

Photo: Gabriel Andrés Trujillo Escobedo via Flickr

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Further reading:

Pope Francis creates tribunal to judge sexual abuse cover-ups

Pope Francis: ‘if we destroy creation, creation will destroy us’

Pope Francis: a year in the life of an environmental pope

Pope Francis speaks out against fracking and environmental devastation

Pope Francis says no to an ‘economy of exclusion’