Pope Francis prayed Sunday for the success of the global climate summit in Paris, where another week of negotiations are underway to reach an agreement that would limit the warming of the planet...
The pontiff, who has made fighting climate change a cornerstone of his papacy and issued an encyclical on the contentious topic this year, asked about "the kind of world we want to pass on to those who come after us, to the children who are growing up."
Francis's prayer at the Vatican comes as 195 countries at the climate change conference, which concludes Friday, strive to produce a plan that would limit global warming to no more than 2 degree Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
"For the sake of the common home we share and for future generations, every effort should be made in Paris to mitigate the impact of climate change and, at the same time, to tackle poverty and to let human dignity flourish," Francis said, according to Vatican radio.
On Sunday at the Paris talks, more than a dozen African governments — including Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda — pledged to restore the continent’s natural forests, according to the Associated Press. West African nations along the Sahara desert have also pledged to plant more trees to stop the encroaching desert from destroying more arable land, the AP said.
“As the world forges a climate agreement in Paris, African countries — which bear the least historic responsibility for climate change — are showing leadership with ambitious pledges to restore land,” said Andrew Steer, president and CEO of the World Resources Institute.
Deforestation of the world’s tropical forests has contributed to climate change by producing up to 15% of global carbon emissions, according to the institute.
Negotiators at the conference produced a draft accord last week ahead of schedule, according to media reports. China's chief negotiator, Su Wei, said the preliminary blueprint lays a foundation for this week's continuing negotiations, according to The Guardian.
"Political will is there for all parties," Wei said, according to the newspaper.
The document addresses deforestation, food security, poverty and other issues, CNN reported. "We could have been better, we could have been worse. the job is not done," the French negotiator, Laurence Tubiana, told The Guardian.
Francis's prayer Sunday comes just before the Roman Catholic Church on Tuesday launches a rare Extraordinary Jubilee year dedicated to promoting mercy to last through November 2016. It will be only the fifth Extraordinary Jubilee to be held in the past 500 years. More common are Great Jubilees — 24 of them have been held, the last one in 2000.
Events during a jubilee year include pilgrimages to the Vatican, The church anticipates 25 million will visit during this upcoming year. There will also be the ceremonial opening of the Holy Door at the Vatican by the pope.
That last Extraordinary Jubilee was held in 1983 by Pope John Paul II.
Pope Francis prays for Climate Summit success in efforts to tackle poverty as well as to mitigate the impacts of climate change..