Pope Francis on Wednesday announced he would attend the Conference of Parties (COP28) in Dubai that will run from November 30 to December 12.
“Yes, I will go to Dubai. I think I will leave December 1st until December 3rd. I’ll stay there for three days,” the pontiff said in an interview with Rai 1 Television.
It will be the first time a pope has attended a COP meeting in person since the process began in 1995.
The 86-year-old pope recalled his conversation with France’s Environment Minister Segolene Royal. “She asked me, ‘Are you preparing something on the environment? You should do it before the Paris meeting’,” the pope narrated.
“Laudato sí’ was released, it came out before Paris. And the meeting in Paris was the most beautiful of all. After Paris, everyone went backward, and it takes courage to move forward in this,” Pope Francis added.
Laudato Si” ran to almost 200 pages and was aimed not just at the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics, but everyone on the planet, a call to global solidarity to act together to protect “our common home”.
With that document, he placed himself — and the Church — firmly behind the science on blaming human behavior for climate change.
In October, Pope Francis released the apostolic exhortation – Laudate Deum – a follow-up to the 2015 encyclical on the protection of the environment.
In this document, he emphasized the dire need for action, criticized climate change deniers, and highlighted the undeniable human origin of global warming.
In his exhortation, Pope Francis expressed deep concern about the inadequacy of global responses to the climate crisis, which he believes has brought humanity dangerously close to a breaking point.
But he said the Dubai talks “can represent a change of direction”, if participants make binding agreements on moving from fossil fuels to clean energy sources such as wind and solar.
Only a real commitment to change “can enable international politics to recover its credibility”, he wrote.
The trip to Dubai will be the 45th overseas visit by the pope since he was elected — and the seventh country he has visited this year. – with reports from AFP.