Pope Francis said Thursday he is convinced that man was primarily responsible for global warming and he hopes his upcoming encyclical on the environment will encourage negotiators at a climate change meeting later this year to make “courageous” decisions to protect God's creation.
Speaking to reporters on the plane taking him from Sri Lanka to Manila, he was asked specifically if man was mostly to blame for climate change.
“I don't know if it is all [man's fault], but the majority is, for the most part, it is man who continuously slaps down nature,” he said.
The words were his clearest to date on climate change, which has sparked worldwide debate and even divided conservative and liberal Catholics, particularly in the United States.
“I think man has gone too far,” he said. “Thank God that today there are voices that are speaking out about this.”
While in the Philippines, the pontiff will meet with survivors of the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan, which the government has said was an example of the extreme weather conditions that global warming has wrought.
A priority of his papacy
Francis, who pledged on the day of his installation as pope to make the environment a priority, said he expected his encyclical on ecology to be released by June or July, in time provide food for thought ahead of the U.N. climate meeting Paris in November.
Last month, about 190 nations agreed to the building blocks of a new-style global deal due in 2015 to combat climate change amid warnings that far tougher action will be needed to limit increases in global temperatures.
Under the deal reached in Lima, governments will submit national plans for reining in greenhouse gas emissions by an informal deadline of March 31 to form the basis of a global agreement due at a summit in Paris at the end of the year.
The pope faulted the Peru conference for not doing enough about climate change.
“The meetings in Peru were nothing much, I was disappointed. I think there was a lack of courage. They stopped at a certain point. Let's hope the delegates in Paris will be more courageous and move forward with this,” he said.
The ultimate goal of U.N. climate negotiations is to stabilize greenhouse gases at a level that keeps global warming below 2 degrees C (3.6 F), compared with pre-industrial times, The Associated Press reported.
Negotiations culminating in the Nov. 30-Dec. 11 meeting in Paris will rise or fall on two key points: How to divide responsibility for global warming and how to pay to fight it.
Some material for this report came from Reuters and AP.