More strange new respect for religion -- or at least religious figures who advocate left-wing issues – appeared in Sunday’s New York Times.
Elisabetta Povoledo reported a long story from Rome, taking up half a page of the paper, on Pope Francis’s “climate change” crusade and his recent lecture of corporations in “Pope Urges Oil Executives to Act on Climate: ‘There Is No Time to Lose.’” (Christian conservative opponents of gay marriage and abortion still reliably get hostile coverage.)
Povoledo leveraged the Pope’s moral authority to push warming as a “global crisis.”
Three years ago, Pope Francis issued a sweeping letter that highlighted the global crisis posed by climate change and called for swift action to save the environment and the planet.
On Saturday, the pope gathered money managers and titans of the world’s biggest oil companies during a closed-door conference at the Vatican and asked them if they had gotten the message.
“There is no time to lose,” Francis told them on Saturday.
Pressure has been building on oil and gas companies to transition to less polluting forms of energy, with the threat of fossil-fuel divestment sometimes used as a stick.
The pope said oil and gas companies had made commendable progress and were “developing more careful approaches to the assessment of climate risk and adjusting their business practices accordingly.” But those actions were not enough.
In an era when the White House is viewed by many scientists as hostile to the very idea of climate change, with President Trump announcing the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, Francis is seen as an influential voice to nudge oil executives to take action on the issue.
In his 2015 encyclical, Francis, a vocal supporter of the Paris accord, warned that climate change represented “one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day.” He called for a model of energy transition.
The Vatican is a “safe place for discussion,” said Father Finn, a Catholic priest and the chairman of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility.
“I think that all can agree that there needs to be a shift from fossil fuels to alternative forms of energy, but the debate is how long is that transition period going to be,” Father Finn said.
“For some, it’s tomorrow. For others who believe that climate change is not so serious, there is plenty of time,” he added.
Povoledo gave the liberal Pope the last word, to make a Biblical metaphor. One wonders if she would grant the same to conservative Christians citing actual Bible passages to argue against gay marriage?
The pope on Saturday said that the situation was dire. Despite the Paris agreement, carbon dioxide emissions and atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases remained high. He said the search for new fossil fuel reserves was “even more worrying.”
“We received the earth as a garden-home from the Creator,” Francis said. “Let us not pass it on to future generations as a wilderness.”