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Pope Francis says climate has ‘run amok,’ pushes for policy change

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Pope Francis said the climate has “run amok” and pushed for policy change to combat global warming at the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) Saturday.

“The drive to produce and possess has become an obsession, resulting in an inordinate greed that has made the environment the object of unbridled exploitation,” the pope said in his speech, which was mostly delivered by Cardinal Secretary of State of Vatican City Pietro Parolin. “The climate, run amok, is crying out to us to halt this illusion of omnipotence. Let us once more recognize our limits, with humility and courage, as the sole path to a life of authentic [fulfillment.]”

On Tuesday, the pope canceled his trip to Dubai for the COP28 conference by way of doctors’ orders, due to recovering from the flu and lung inflammation. Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said the pope’s condition was improving, but doctors asked Francis not to go to the conference.

“Pope Francis accepted the doctors’ request with great regret and the trip is therefore canceled,” Bruni said, per The Associated Press.

Francis has historically been vocal about his views on climate change. Back in 2018, he made a dire warning to top oil executives, saying climate change could “destroy civilization.” In 2021, he signed on to a plea to governments across the globe urging for more intense action to oppose climate change, alongside other religious heads.

“We have inherited a garden; we must not leave a desert to our children,” the letter read.

The pope would have been the first pontiff to address a U.N. climate conference.

“Following through with the Pope’s and the Holy See’s wish to be part of the discussions taking place in the coming days, the modalities by which this can happen will be defined as soon as possible,” Bruni added, according to the Vatican’s news service.

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