Pope: Climate change a moral issue and due to human activity
USA TODAY - VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis says most climate change is due to human activity and calls it one of the most important moral issues facing society, according to a draft leaked Monday of his long-awaited encyclical on global warming.
The 191-page draft says the problem needs urgent action and is a key issue related to development and poverty.
The leaked draft in Italian was posted online Monday by L'Espresso magazine, prompting consternation from the Vatican. The final document is scheduled to be released Thursday. The Vatican asked journalists to "respect professional standards" and await the final text.
The Vatican spokesman, Federico Lombardi, called the leak a “heinous decision" and cautioned that the document was a draft and not necessarily an accurate reflection of what the final encyclical will say.
"This is a major ethical breach," said church historian and retired priest Alistair Sear. "I don't know how the magazine (L'Espresso) can justify it. This should never happen, as it undermines the efforts of the church, and media were specifically asked not to release anything ahead of time."
Calls to L'Espresso seeking comment were not returned.
The draft is broken into six chapters, with headings such as "what is happening to our house," "the human roots of the ecological crisis" and "integrated ecology."
According to the leaked document, the pope says the world is addicted to a "culture of waste." The draft also says, "Humanity is called on to be aware of the need to change lifestyles, production and consumption."
The pope describes a “scientific consensus … (about a) worrisome warming of the climate system."
The pope's encyclical, or teaching letter, on the environment will be disseminated to the world's 1.2 billion Catholics and could influence the
United Nations conference on climate change being held in December in Paris. More than 190 nations at the conference will try to reach an agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions.
"We expect the papal encyclical to have a major impact during a very critical year in this (climate negotiation) process," the U.N.'s top climate official,
Christiana Figueres, said last week in Bonn, Germany.
Contributing: Gregg Zoroya in