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Pope Francis urges global leaders to offer 'concrete hope to future generations' at COP26

by Kelly Valencia

The head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, has urged global leaders attending the UN climate summit in Glasgow, COP26 to "provide effective responses to the present ecological crisis". 

The Pontiff made the remarks as he recorded a special message for BBC Radio 4's Thought for the Day on Friday. 

He said leaders should offer "concrete hope to future generations" and stressed that "each of us, whoever and wherever we may be, can play our own part in changing our collective response to the unprecedented threat of climate change and the degradation of our common home". 

Although the 84-year-old had previously mentioned he hoped to attend the climate conference, the Vatican recently confirmed that he will not travel to Glasgow. Instead, a delegation led by Secretary of State, Cardinal Parolin, will represent the Vatican. 

Pope Francis continued: "We find ourselves increasingly frail and even fearful, caught up in a succession of 'crises' in the areas of health care, the environment, food supplies and the economy, to say nothing of social, humanitarian and ethical crises. All these crises are profoundly interconnected. They also forecast a 'perfect storm' that could rupture the bonds holding our society together within the greater gift of God's creation.

He said that "every crisis calls for vision, the ability to formulate plans and put them rapidly into action, to rethink the future of the world, our common home, and to reassess our common purpose."

Earlier this month the Pontiff together with the Archbishop of Canterbury and representatives of other faiths issued a joint appeal calling for a "global financial architecture which repents of its past sins", including changes in tax rules to promote green activity.

"It is essential that each of us be committed to this urgent change of direction, sustained by our own faith and spirituality. In the Joint Appeal, we spoke of the need to work responsibly towards a 'culture of care' for our common home, but also for ourselves, and the need to work tirelessly to eliminate the seeds of conflicts: greed, indifference, ignorance, fear, injustice, insecurity and violence," Pope Francis added. 

He concluded: "Humanity has never before had at its disposal so many means for achieving this goal. The political decision makers who will meet at COP26 in Glasgow are urgently summoned to provide effective responses to the present ecological crisis and in this way to offer concrete hope to future generations. And it is worth repeating that each of us - whoever and wherever we may be - can play our own part in changing our collective response to the unprecedented threat of climate change and the degradation of our common home."

The COP26 climate conference will run from 31st Oct until 12th November. 

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