Pope Francis today published his papal encyclical on the environment which called for greater political and personal action to tackle climate change. In a strongly worded paper he says there is a moral imperative to act and grave consequences if we fail to do so.

Friends of the Earth Scotland Director Dr Richard Dixon commented,

“Pope Francis has shown himself to be a friend of the earth and of the poorest and most vulnerable on our planet. His encyclical recognises that those least responsible for the climate crisis are those who will suffer the most.

“It is great to see Pope Francis adding his voice to the ever-growing movement demanding climate justice. Communities, scientists and progressive businesses are all calling for urgent action to cut carbon emissions. Climate change is a social justice issue and we welcome one of the world’s most prominent religious figures speaking up for the millions of people affected.

“The UN talks in Paris in December are an important milestone on the road to climate justice and the Pope’s moral message on climate action will help motivate new audiences.

“Climate change threatens some of the poorest people on the planet – from subsistence farmers in sub-saharan Africa struggling to provide food for their families to small island states which could be lost to rising sea levels.”

The Pope also warned of the perils of putting ‘blind faith’ in technical solutions and the financialisation of nature through carbon credits. He also criticised climate change deniers and those impeding progress to a more just and sustainable world.

Dr Richard Dixon continued,

“We know that to avoid climate catastrophe we must keep fossil fuels in the ground, reduce our energy consumption and significantly increase support for community-owned renewables. In Scotland, this means rejecting new fossil fuel plans such as fracking or underground coal gasification and supporting North Sea workers to make the transition to new low-carbon jobs.

“We are planning a year of action to ensure that Scotland lives up to its climate commitments at home and sets a positive example internationally.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

 

Link to the encyclical: http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html

UN Climate Conference in Paris this year aims to agree a new international deal to limit dangerous temperature rises to below 2C.

Friends of the Earth Scotland is planning on taking 100 people to the United Nations talks in Paris this year. http://www.foe-scotland.org.uk/come-to-paris-2015

Scotland missed its climate change emission reduction targets for the fourth year in the row http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-33058391

Friends of the Earth Scotland is:

* Scotland's leading environmental campaigning organisation
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 75 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups. www.foe-scotland.org.uk