Pope Francis's environment encyclical - Laudato Si (Be Praised), On the Care of Our Common Home - will have a significant impact on the climate debate, particularly at this years United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris.
The goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to limit the global temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. However, there is a huge gap in industrialized nations, like Canada, with keeping commitments made under the Kyoto Protocols and real action to meet targets.
Francis has laid much of the blame for global warming on human activities. Further showing his determination to act as an agent of change he criticizes a "collective selfishness" calling for an end to consumerism and greed. Francis calls on more policies that foster the research and use of renewable energies to minimize the use of fossil fuels and lower carbon emissions. He also took aim at cap and trade rules.
He warns of an “unprecedented destruction of ecosystems” and “serious consequences for all of us” if humanity fails to act on climate change,
The encyclical propels the Pope to an even higher place on the world stage and solidifies his role as a moral voice for all people .The UN secretary general, the World Bank president, plus the heads of the UN climate talks and the UN environment programme have all welcomed the encyclical, along with non-Roman Catholic faith groups.
The reaction from Conservatives, particular Presidential Candidate Jeb Bush was disturbing. His line this morning that he does not get "economic policy from my bishops or my cardinal or my pope" reaffirms the arrogance at the root of American (and Canadian) inaction, underlying the reason for a moral challenge to the politics of climate change. Climate change and science are in the public domain, people tired of being ignored by politicians bought off by big money - further examples of greed and corruption.
This is about the life or death of the planet, not economics. Global warming is the principal challenge facing the survival, health and prosperity of all humanity. It is a moral issue as is economics. It deserves a more and that it is a moral issue requiring respectful dialogue with all parts of society - politicians, academics, spiritual leaders, economists and the third world.
Most Republicans are deniers of science that overwhelmingly proves that mankind is responsible for the acceleration in climate change.
The question is simple, what sort of world do we want to leave for future generations?