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Why the Pope's Encyclical on the Environment Should Speed Up the End of the Fossil-Fuel Era
ROME - Reacting to the Pope's encyclical on the environment, Greenpeace International Executive Director, Kumi Naidoo, said:
"Greenpeace welcomes the valuable intervention of Pope Francis in humanity's common struggle to prevent catastrophic climate change. This first encyclical on the environment brings the world a step closer to that tipping point where we abandon fossil fuels and fully embrace clean renewable energy for all, by the middle of the century.
"Everyone, whether religious or secular, can and must respond to this clarion call for bold urgent action.
"As the encyclical states, the environment is a public good, the heritage of all humanity and the responsibility of us all. Greenpeace has always taken that view. That's why, with the support of millions of people, we aim to stop Shell drilling for oil in the melting Arctic.
"The wording that 'technology based on fossil fuels, highly polluting - especially coal, but also oil and, to a lesser extent, gas - must be progressively replaced and without delay' is a crystal-clear call on responsible investors, CEOs and political leaders to step up the pace of the clean energy revolution.
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"The criticism of 'those who hold most of the resources and economic or political power seeming to be concerned mainly in masking the problems or hiding the symptoms … of climate change' is a welcome rebuke to climate change deniers and the interests that seek to thwart progress. That dirty game must end now.
"Above all, Pope Francis reminds all of us, individuals through to world leaders, of the moral imperative to address social and climate injustice. It is the poor who are most affected by catastrophic climate change, yet they have contributed least to causing the problem."
Greenpeace head of international climate politics, Martin Kaiser, said:
We welcome the clarity and directness of the encyclical about the weakness of the international political reaction to climate change, with too many special interests prevailing over the common good. The Pope's words should jolt heads of government out of their complacency, and encourage them to bring in tough laws in their own countries to protect the climate, and to agree a strong climate protocol in Paris at the end of this year.
The encyclical rightly points out that deforestation is a big contributor to carbon emissions and the loss of species. We endorse Pope Francis' call on world leaders to protect the forests and oceans, and listen to the demands of people and scientists worldwide.
Finally, we hope that the Vatican Bank will join the growing movement which is divesting from coal, oil and dangerous nuclear power and support renewables, in keeping with the Pope's words. And we look forward to the Church's support for an energy revolution at local level as well.
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