Why the Pope's Encyclical on the environment should speed up the end of the fossil-fuel era

Reacting to the Pope’s Encyclical on the environment, Kumi Naidoo, International Executive Director at Greenpeace, said:

“Greenpeace welcomes the valuable intervention of Pope Francis in humanity’s common struggle to prevent catastrophic climate change. This first encyclical on the environment brings the world a step closer to that tipping point where we abandon fossil fuels and fully embrace clean renewable energy for all, by the middle of the century.

“Everyone, whether religious or secular, can and must respond to this clarion call for bold urgent action.

“As the Encyclical states, the environment is a public good, the heritage of all humanity and the responsibility of us all. Greenpeace has always taken that view. That’s why, with the support of millions of people, we aim to stop Shell drilling for oil in the melting Arctic.

“The wording that ‘technology based on fossil fuels, highly polluting - especially coal, but also oil and, to a lesser extent, gas - must be progressively replaced and without delay’ is a crystal-clear call on responsible investors, CEOs and political leaders to step up the pace of the clean energy revolution.

“The criticism of ‘those who hold most of the resources and economic or political power seeming to be concerned mainly in masking the problems or hiding the symptoms … of climate change’ is a welcome rebuke to climate change deniers and the interests that seek to thwart progress. That dirty game must end now.

“Above all, Pope Francis reminds all of us, individuals through to world leaders, of the moral imperative to address social and climate injustice. It is the poor who are most affected by catastrophic climate change, yet they have contributed least to causing the problem.”

Anna Abad, Climate Justice Campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia said:

“Filipinos who continuously bear the brunt of catastrophic climate impacts have found a strong advocate in Pope Francis especially since his encyclical amplifies the global call for climate action as a moral imperative.

“With deadlier extreme weather events like 2012’s Super Typhoon Bopha and 2013’s Super Typhoon Haiyan becoming the new normal for the Philippines, climate injustice is becoming the fate of vulnerable communities, whose basic human rights are violated by the impacts of climate change.

“The Pope’s demand for environmental accountability is a first step in galvanizing strong public outcry targeted at world leaders and at the fossil fuel industry—namely, the 90 big polluters responsible for the lion’s share of global carbon emissions that fuel climate change— for their irresponsible activities from which they have highly profited at the expense of humanity and the planet. It is high time that they be held to account for the damage they have and will continue to cause. Climate justice must be served.”

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