By THOMAS D. WILLIAMS, PH.D.
ROME — Pope Francis engaged former U.S. President Bill Clinton via zoom Monday, stressing the urgency of addressing the climate change “catastrophe,” the migration “crisis,” and war.
“It is time to work together to stop the ecological catastrophe before it’s too late,” the pontiff told Mr. Clinton at a meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). “Let us stop while there is still time, please.”
The pope reiterated his intention of releasing a second document on the environment later this month, eight years after the publication of his encyclical “Laudato Sì” on the same theme.
In late August, Francis said it is time world leaders to “listen to science and institute a rapid and equitable transition to end the era of fossil fuel.”
It is “absurd to permit the continued exploration and expansion of fossil fuel infrastructures,” he declared in his message for the September 1 Feast of Creation. “Let us raise our voices to halt this injustice towards the poor and towards our children, who will bear the worst effects of climate change.”
“The unrestrained burning of fossil fuels and the destruction of forests are pushing temperatures higher and leading to massive droughts,” the pope stated, a product of “consumerist greed, fueled by selfish hearts.”
Moreover, “richer nations have contracted an ‘ecological debt’ that must be paid” to poorer nations, he added.
“Let us heed our call to stand with the victims of environmental and climate injustice, and to put an end to the senseless war against creation,” he said.