The Church Challenges the State to Take Radical Action on Climate Change

One of the world's biggest religions has joined the global debate about climate change—on the side of the angels. After months of anticipation, Pope Francis on Thursday morning released the official text of “Laudato Si’,” or “Praise Be to You,” his encyclical on reversing climate change.

The religious leader of the world's estimated 1 billion Catholics name-checked an array of escalating climate-related problems, such as rising seas, melting polar ice, ocean acidification, the breakneck pace of species extinctions, diminishing freshwater supplies, and “a tragic rise in the number of migrants seeking to flee from the growing poverty caused by environmental degradation,” on his way to calling for a rapid end to burning fossil fuels, the primary cause of global warming.

Pope Francis, who at one time worked as a chemist in his home country of Argentina, affirmed the objective evidence that human actions, such as burning fossil fuels and destroying forests, are the leading causes of global warming.

“A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system,” Francis wrote. “Humanity is called to recognize the need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption, in order to combat this warming or at least the human causes which produce or aggravate it.”

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