Pope Francis has warned of a “catastrophic” outcome if vested interests blocked an agreement to tackle climate change at the UN talks opening in Paris next week.
“In a few days, an important meeting on climate change will be held in Paris… It would be sad, and I dare say even catastrophic, were particular interests to prevail over the common good and lead to manipulating information in order to protect their own plans and projects,” said Pope Francis at the world headquarters of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in Nairobi.
“We are confronted with a choice which cannot be ignored: either to improve or to destroy the environment,” he said ahead of COP21, a 12-day conference in the French capital which aims to secure a climate rescue pact that officially starts in November 30.
He called on nations to take care of nature through tree planting to protect earth and humanity.
“Planting a tree is first and foremost an invitation to continue the battle against phenomena like deforestation and desertification. It reminds us of the importance of safeguarding and responsibly administering those richly bio diverse lungs of our planet, which include, on this continent, the Congo basins, a place essential for the entire earth and for the future of humanity,” he said.
“Planting a tree is also an incentive to keep trusting, hoping, and above all working in practice to reverse all those situations of injustice and deterioration which we currently experience,” he added.
The Pope said Africa offers the world a beauty and natural richness which inspire praise of the Creator.
“This patrimony of Africa and of all mankind is constantly exposed to the risk of destruction caused by human selfishness of every type and by the abuse of situations of poverty and exclusion,” he said and further blamed first-world countries for not doing enough to curb global warming.
More than 150 heads of state and government are due to attend the start of the conference, which will end December 11.