NAIROBI, Kenya, Pope Francis gave a stern warning Thursday ahead of next week’s climate conference in Paris: it would be “catastrophic” if special interests defeat a real plan at cutting fossil fuel emissions.
On his second day in Kenya, the pope spoke to a United Nations regional office and headquarters for the United Nations Environment Programme about the environment, a topic he’s made central to his papacy.
“It would be sad, and I dare say even catastrophic, were particular interests to prevail over the common good and lead to manipulating information in order to protect their own plans and projects,” the Pope said. He urged leaders to work together and reach an agreement to cut green house gasses, and asked science and business to partner in seeking ways to protect the environment.
The Pope said no country “can act independently of a common responsibility. If we truly desire positive change, we have to humbly accept our interdependence.”
Tying in one of the other pillars of his papacy, the poor, he said poverty and the environment are interconnected because it is the poor who, on one hand are mostly outsiders to a global economy that runs on fossil fuels, but that ultimately are affected the most by global warming.
The Pope also urges Africans to stand up against poaching elephant ivory and the illegal trade of rare and precious stones because they feed “political instability, organized crime and terrorism.”
Pope Francis heads next to Uganda and the Central African Republic.
By Shawn Price