A COP28 without Pope Francis

A COP28 without Pope Francis

“An immense regret,” according to the Vatican press service, which announced the news on the evening of Tuesday, November 28.

The pope, who has made defense of the environment one of the cornerstones of his pontificate, was particularly keen on this three-day trip. His goal: to use all his moral weight to give strength and credibility to a multilateral negotiation process that is suffering, but in his eyes is unavoidable given the seriousness of the situation.

“To say that there is nothing to hope for would be a suicidal act that would lead to exposing all of humanity, particularly the poorest, to the worst impacts of climate change,” he wrote in the apostolic exhortation Laudate Deum published on October 4, 2023. If we have confidence in the ability of human beings to transcend their small interests and think big, we cannot give up dreaming that this COP28 will lead to a marked acceleration of the energy transition, with effective commitments and capable of permanent monitoring.

The Pope, who will be 87 years old on December 17, had planned 30 meetings on site, including 20 with heads of state and government. He was also due to deliver a speech on the morning of Saturday, December 2, denouncing the inaction of the States that historically emit the most greenhouse gases and defending the cause of the countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. It remains to be seen whether this speech will still be delivered by Francis remotely.

A delegation from the Vatican will nevertheless go there. Indeed, the smallest state in the world officially ratified, in 2022, the Paris climate agreement, the implementation of which is the very purpose of this COP28.

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