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“Activist” and “pope”. Historically, these are not two words that go together. But they have done so over the past decade, particularly when it comes to climate change.
Who is he? Jorge Mario Bergoglio. AKA Pontiff. AKA the Pope.
What is the problem ? For years, Pope Francis has used his position to raise awareness about climate change. Now he is going to the COP – the annual United Nations climate conference.
- He will be the first pontiff to attend the conference, and he won’t stop there.
- In 2015, Francis released “Laudato Si,” a major papal document in which he urged the world to take climate change seriously and reduce material waste and consumption-centered lifestyles.
- Last month, he revisited the subject in a major new work, “Laudate Deum.” Over the past eight years, the climate has warmed and the pope’s tone in these writings has also changed.
What are people saying? All things Considered host Scott Detrow spoke with Christiana Zenner, a professor at Fordham University who has studied the pope’s writings on climate change; and Nicole Winfield, Vatican correspondent for the Associated Press.
Here’s Zenner on how Francis’ tone has changed over the years:
This document is a doubling and intensification of some of the rhetoric that was nascently present in “Laudato Si” but which was amplified substantially in “Laudate Deum”. So while “Laudato Si’” was very broad and very meaningful, “Laudate Deum” is shorter.
It’s concentrated. It’s more concise. It’s more grumpy. And he particularly focuses on climate change. We now know that climate change and climate crises have many different types of drivers: water, food security, migration, etc. And so these topics also appear in this document.
But the focus of this paper is on climate change – particularly the veracity of anthropogenic climate change linked to the extraction and burning of fossil fuels, the complicity of contemporary economic paradigms and modes of power in perpetuating this dynamic , and the disproportionate burden on the world. poor and vulnerable while rich countries continue to overconsume and do nothing – that is really the heart of this message.
And the way it is centralized and absolutely relentless is distinctive. And I think this is true not only with regard to Pope Francis and his own writings, but also with respect to just about any document at this level of authority emanating from the Catholic Church.
Want more? Listen has Consider this dive deeper into this story.
Here’s Winfield on what the pope might hope to accomplish by attending COP28:
I think he’s hoping that this will somehow elevate what he’s already said and said for many years, but with a personal appearance in Dubai.
He was very present on the world stage. He sent envoys to Moscow and kyiv.
You know, he’s trying to do what he can in this war. He is clearly desperately concerned about the situation in the Holy Land. Early in his papal tenure, he and the Vatican helped negotiate the groundbreaking agreement between the United States and Cuba that led to détente.
But in terms of actual results, there’s not much, but he brings to the table the moral authority of the papacy.
And Winfield on the urgency with which the pope prioritizes climate change among his social causes:
This is by far one of the most, if not THE It’s a crucial question for him, and that’s because he considers it to be a very global question.
For him, this raises questions of poverty, migration, war and peace. And when he approaches it, he approaches it from many different perspectives and angles, which shows that everything is interconnected. So, for him, everything that matters now can be brought together and examined through the prism of the environment and climate change.
And now ? COP28 will take place this year from Thursday November 3 to Tuesday December 12 in Dubai.
The radio version of this story was produced by Emma Klein and Marc Rivers. It was edited by Jeanette Woods and Bridget Kelley. It was hosted by Scott Detrow.