Vatican committed to net zero emissions by 2050, Pope Francis says

Pope Francis gives the general audience address Nov 25 2020 Credit Vatican Media Pope Francis gives the general audience address in the Apostolic Library Nov. 25, 2020. / Vatican Media.

Pope Francis urged Saturday the adoption of a "climate of care," and said the Vatican City State is committed to reducing its net emissions to zero by 2050.

Speaking in a video message during the virtual Climate Ambition Summit Dec. 12, the pope said "the time has come for a change of course. Let us not rob the new generations of hope in a better future."

He also told summit participants that both climate change and the current pandemic disproportionately affect the lives of the poorest and weakest in society.

"In this way, they appeal to our responsibility to promote, with a collective commitment and solidarity, a culture of care, which places human dignity and the common good at the center," he stated.

In addition to the goal of net zero emissions, Francis said the Vatican is also committed to "intensifying environmental management efforts, already underway for some years, that enable the rational use of natural resources such as water and energy, energy efficiency, sustainable mobility, reforestation, and the circular economy also in waste management."

The Climate Ambition Summit, held virtually Dec. 12, was co-hosted by the United Nations, United Kingdom, and France, in partnership with Chile and Italy.

The meeting marked five years since the Paris Agreement and took place in advance of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) to be held in Glasgow in November 2021.

In his video message, Pope Francis said the Vatican is also committed to promoting education on integral ecology.

"Political and technical measures must be combined with an educational process that favors a cultural model of development and sustainability centered on brotherhood and the alliance between human beings and the environment," he said.

Vatican-supported programs such as the Global Education Pact and the Economy of Francesco had this perspective in mind, he added.

The British, French, and Italian embassies to the Holy See organized a webinar for the anniversary of the Paris Climate Agreement.

In a video message for the webinar, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, said States need "a new cultural model based on the culture of care," instead of the "culture of indifference, degradation, and waste."

This model leverages on three concepts: conscience, wisdom, and will, Parolin said. "At COP26 we cannot miss the opportunity to make manifest this moment of change and of taking concrete and urgent decisions."

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