Pope Francis: World headed toward ‘suicide’ if no climate agreement is reached

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Pope Francis gestures during a meeting with the media onboard the papal plane while en route to Rome, Italy, November 30, 2015.  Photo courtesy REUTERS/Daniel Dal Zennaro/pool

Pope Francis gestures during a meeting with the media onboard the papal plane while en route to Rome, Italy, November 30, 2015. Photo courtesy REUTERS/Daniel Dal Zennaro/pool

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (Reuters) The U.N. climate conference in Paris is most likely humanity’s last chance to thwart global environmental disaster, Pope Francis said on Monday (Nov. 30), warning the world was “at the limits of suicide.”

The pope, who wrote a major document on the environment last June, made the comment in an hour-long news conference aboard the plane returning him to Rome at the end of a six-day trip to Africa.

The freewheeling conversations have become a trademark of his papacy and the few times he takes direct questions from journalists.

Francis, who visited Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic, also said the continent was “a martyr of exploitation” by wealthy countries who lust after its natural resources and try to impose Western values instead of concentrating on development.

The pope was asked if the U.N. climate summit in Paris would mark a turnaround in the fight against global warming.

“I am not sure, but I can say to you ‘now or never’,” he said. “Every year the problems are getting worse. We are at the limits. If I may use a strong word I would say that we are at the limits of suicide.”

He spoke of retreating glaciers in Greenland and low-lying countries at risk from rising sea levels.

“I am sure that the (Paris delegates) have goodwill to do something. I hope it turns out this way and I am praying that it will,” he said.

World leaders launched an ambitious attempt on Monday to hold back the earth’s rising temperatures, with the United States and China — the world’s biggest carbon emitters — urging the U.N. climate summit in Paris to mark a decisive turn in the fight against global warming.

The pope’s last stop in Africa was the Central African Republic, one of the continent’s poorest nations.

He made an unscheduled stop at the country’s only pediatric hospital, where doctors told him that they did not have oxygen and that most of the children there were destined to die of malnutrition or malaria.

He delivered medicines donated by a Rome hospital.

“Africa is a victim,” he said. “Africa has always been exploited by other powers … there are some countries that want only the great resources of Africa.

“But they don’t think about developing the countries, about creating jobs. Africa is martyr, a martyr of the exploitation of history,” he said.

He sidestepped a question about the church’s ban on the use of condoms to stop the spread of HIV-AIDS, saying it was reductive to talk about condoms while African countries were mired in poverty, social injustice, wars and human trafficking.

The pope confirmed that next year he planned to visit Mexico and hoped to be able to visit Armenia.

“But I am old and these trips are heavy,” he said.

(Reporting By Philip Pullella.)

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  • Science not in

    The “Climate Gate” Copenhagen e-mails of 2009 reveal the corruption of the “science” being touted by the Marxists from the Cult of Global Warming. Dissenters are systematically ostracized and dubbed “deniers” and “flat-earthers” by pseudo-intellectual sophists, supporting Josef Stalin-like Lysenkoism and Malthusian population control. This pope should stay in his lane and be more zealous about important religious matters at play these days, especially the worldwide persecution of Christians, the desecration of holy matrimony and the recent, horrific revelations about Planned Parenthood. So, I can only quote the venerable James Delingpole:“If you want to [regress] the global economy back to the Stone Age because you believe in ‘social justice,’ one world government and wealth redistribution on a scale that makes Pol Pot look like Milton Friedman, just say so. But don’t try to greenwash your totalitarian misanthropy as concern for nature.”

  • Fran

    Thankfully, God will not allow this to happen to planet earth, even at the hands of man (Revelation 11:18).

  • Ron

    Frank, your god must have been pretty stoned to write Revelation, for some of the whacked out stuff that’s in there. But the worst thing you are heading to is to expect a god to save us as an excuse to do nothing yourself.

    Your beliefs are part of the problem not the solution.

  • Ted

    Huh? “Marxists?”. Nice conspiracy theory. Get an education on the subject already; efforts to minimize and to deal with anthropogenic climate change are increasingly being started and supported by the business community and diverse other groups that you won’t find many Marxists in.

  • Junebug

    Thank you Tonny Onyulo for the good report of the Pope’s tour. I am heartened by the Pope, and President Obama too, for walking right into dangerous places to speak of peace, love and caring for all God’s creations. Hopefully in the long term it will have made a difference.

  • Be Brave

    If there has already been several “mass extinctions” per scientific authority, why are we at all concerned with the current one? Why is science leading a cause that science has proven is utterly immutable?

    Life and non-life and life again. The story of planet earth. Why deny that?

    Why not party like it’s prehistoric 1999?

  • Sue

    Fran, enough already with the bible spam. It’s also irresponsible to shove off human responsibility to your fictional sky creature.

  • Sue

    Fran, Revelation is merely the largely disconnected ravings of multiple lunatics likely on hallucinogens during much of the writing.

    Your bible is entirely written and conceived of by humans. Enough with the bible spam already.

  • Thomas Ryscavage MD

    Please ask the Vatican if they are aware of what happened on December 12, 2004, Instantaneous and severe damage to the upper atmosphere of our entire planet from a magnetic pulse sent from a magnetar on the other side of our universe. Instantaneous! Severe damage to our ionosphere. This is one of many severe dangers we face from off of our planet, Global Warming is like one small faucet leak in one house in an entire city. These REAL problems are like an enormous asteroid heading for that city. ‘Global Warming’ is like that fat guy standing on a barrel selling the town’s people a little bottle of alcohol and snake oil to cure their ‘grip’. ‘Global Warming’ is about one thing only -MONEY.

  • Chris

    Let’s be clear, the Pope doesn’t retreat to his lab to do science, but neither is he uninformed. The Vatican has an entire science wing (the Pontifical Academy of Sciences) which includes scientists who are both religious and not. (Look up the participants if you’re interested.) They published a statement before the Pope published his. And while we’re at it, let’s recognize that a trained academic doesn’t look at the Book of Revelation as either prophecy or lunatic ramblings, but as first century apocalyptic writing following the rules of its genre.

  • Gord

    Let’s be clear, Chris doesn’t get out much.

  • Gord

    Be Daft, it is because there is good evidence and scientific consensus that the current one is caused by human activity, and more significantly, it affects us who are alive now.

    Geez, are you really so stu​pid, or just in denial?

  • Gord MD PhD RN RSN ROFL

    No, global warming has serious consequences, and it is caused by human activity.

    Just for you: www3.epa.gov/climatechange/kids/

    Enough with your conspiracy theories.

  • Dr. Cajetan Coelho

    Planet and nature needs to be respected by all.