Vatican Warns of ‘Severe Humanitarian Impacts’ from Climate Emergency

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Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin addressed the U.N. COP27 climate summit Tuesday, urging net-zero emissions and warning climate change “will not wait for us.”

Speaking for Pope Francis, Cardinal Parolin told the dignitaries gathered in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm El-Skeikh that the Holy See is fully committed to the goal of net-zero emissions and is “intensifying its efforts to improve its environmental management.”

“But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” 2 Peter 3:7

The Holy See's Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin delivers a speech at the leaders summit of the COP27 climate conference at the Sharm el-Sheikh International Convention Centre, in Egypt's Red Sea resort city of the same name, on November 8, 2022. (Photo by AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP) (Photo by …

The only way to overcome the climate emergency, the cardinal contended, is to combine political, technical, and operational measures with the promotion of “new lifestyles.”

“The socio-ecological crisis that we are living is a propitious moment for individual and collective conversion and for concrete decisions that can no longer be postponed,” he declared. “The human face of the climate emergency challenges us deeply.”

“We have a moral duty to act concretely in order to prevent and respond to the always more frequent and severe humanitarian impacts caused by climate change,” he insisted, while underscoring the “growing phenomenon of migrants being displaced” by climate change.

Other global crises such as the coronavirus pandemic and the war in Ukraine risk “overshadowing our efforts here in Sharm el-Sheikh,” he said, echoing U.N. secretary general António Guterres, who said Monday that climate change is more important than other global issues because it is “is on a different timeline and a different scale” and is “the defining issue of our age.”

“We cannot allow for this to happen,” Cardinal Parolin said. “Climate change will not wait for us.”

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