LONDON – Political leaders must give “concrete hope” to future generations that they will take the radical steps needed to fight climate change when they meet at COP26, Pope Francis said in a message released Friday.
The United Nations Summit will be held in Glasgow, Scotland, from October 31 to November 12, and Pope Francis called for “a renewed sense of shared responsibility for our world” to encourage action.
“It is important that each of us stand up for this urgent change of direction,” he said on BBC Radio.
“The political decision-makers meeting at COP26 in Glasgow are urged to provide effective responses to the current ecological crisis in order to give concrete hope to future generations.”
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the summit is incredibly important but the outcome is pending as talks become difficult.
Pope Francis said the summit would be tough, but also an opportunity.
“These crises present us with the need to make decisions, radical decisions that are not always easy,” he said.
“At the same time, such difficult moments also offer opportunities that we shouldn’t miss.”
The Vatican sends a delegation to the summit, but the 84-year-old Pope will not leave after an operation earlier this year.
Pope Francis warned of the danger of isolationism and protectionism in dealing with the climate crisis.
“We can counter these crises by withdrawing into isolationism, protectionism and exploitation. Or we see in them a real opportunity for change, a real moment of conversion, and not just in a spiritual sense, ”he said.
“This last approach alone can lead us to a brighter horizon.”