We are going to close our live coverage of the release of Pope Francis's encyclical. You can read the full story here:
Pope Francis: planet facing ‘unprecedented destruction’
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The World Bank says the pope's encyclical is a "stark reminder" of the link between climate change and poverty.
World Bank President Jim Yong Kim says climate change impacts, "including the increased frequency of extreme weather events, are most devastating for the unacceptably high number of people today living in extreme poverty."
He says that over the past 30 years weather-related disasters killed more than 2.5 million people and resulted in almost $4 trillion in damage.
"As the effects of climate change worsen, we know that escaping poverty will become even more difficult," he said. "Climate change also poses a direct risk to the hard-earned development gains over past decades."
On the thorny issue of contraception the encyclical leaves both sides of the argument somewhat frustrated.
The Pope brushed aside the foreseeable calls to consider by insisting that the problem was not population growth in poor countries but massive over consumption by the rich.
It was a line echoed by Prof John Schellnhuber who added: “It's not poverty that destroys the environment - it's wealth, consumption and waste.”
But the traditionalist Catholic group Voice of the Family issued a statement voicing dismay that there was no explicit reaffirmation of the Church’s stance on birth control.
John Smeaton, co-founder of the group Voice of the Family and Chief Executive of Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child, insisted: “The international environmental movement often seeks to convince children that the world is overpopulated and that this must be resolved by controlling reproduction through contraception and access to abortion.
“There is now grave danger that our children will be exposed to this agenda under the guise of education on environmental concerns.”
But the National Secular Society was among the first to blame “Catholic dogma” on birth control as one of the root causes of the problem.
Getting down to nitty-gritty, the Pope’s conclusions will delight some but dismay others, writes John Bingham:
He calls for the effective phasing out of fossil fuels including oil but says the world must work out how to pay for it and that the onus must be on the rich countries “which are more powerful and pollute the most”. He warns against international agreements which impose too heavy a burden on developing countries.
He also dismisses the trade in carbon credits as a “new form of speculation” likely to do nothing to reduce emissions in the end.
Likewise he rubbishes the notion of “internationalising” the Amazon basin but does give strong backing to the idea of giving indigenous people a special status in their own countries.
He also proposes radical plans to impose a form of powerful new international control over the oceans, which he calls the “global commons” to stop pollution and exploitation of resources.
On the controversial issue of GM crops he shrugs off claims that they could be harmful to health and recognises they could do good but warns they could wipe out ecosystems and hand control of agriculture over to “oligopolies”.
Arguing that environmental damage is intimately linked to global inequality, the Pope says that doomsday predictions can no longer be dismissed and that: "The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth."
The effects of the present imbalance can only be reduced by our decisive action, here and now. We need to reflect on our accountability before those who will have to endure the dire consequences.
Professor Lord Nicholas Stern, economist and author of an influential report on climate change, says the publication of the encyclical is of "enormous significance".
Moral leadership on climate change from the Pope is particularly important because of the failure of many heads of state and government around the world to show political leadership. I hope other religious and community leaders will also speak out about how to tackle the two defining challenges of our generation, namely overcoming poverty and managing the risks of climate change. This would encourage greater political leadership in the run-up to the summit in Paris at the end of this year where countries should reach a new international agreement on tackling climate change.
Jessica Hellmann, Director of the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index, writes:
The challenge the Pope raises today must be taken up immediately by the young and the old, but as a professor I think about the challenges and opportunities confronting young people. They will be responsible for identifying and implementing solutions to environmental problems. They also must hold their elders accountable for fixing problems before they get worse, for reinventing what it means to lead a good life. They will need to understand how science and value interact and how to move between knowledge and wisdom.
The Telegraph's Religious Affairs Editor John Bingham has this analysis on Pope Francis and the parable of the plankton:
Pope Francis is nothing if not ambitious.
In the opening passages of his long anticipated encyclical on the environment he makes clear that he is content not merely with influencing the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics or the 2.4 billion or so who might more broadly be classed as Christian.
“Faced as we are with global environmental deterioration, I wish to address every person living on this planet,” he announces matter-of-fact tones.
The text of Laudato Si does all the things it was supposed to do: it warns of doom from man-made climate change, it lambasts politicians for failing to act more decisively and takes aim at the global financial system and the plight of the poor.
He invests in his message with something which the UN’s climate change panel or celebrity eco-toffs of the western world will never be able to turn to – the power of a religious imperative. He tells people to view something as simple as reusing rather than discarding something as “an act of love” to mankind.
If the legacy of this encyclical is persuade even a fraction of those 1.2 billion – let alone “every person living on this planet” to reduce waste, its social impact could be greater than we know.
Jessica Hellmann, Director of the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index, hasthis response to a reader's concern (12.15pm) about idealising nature:
Dr Woo's sentiment that nature is valuable has two key parts. First, life on earth for humans would not be possible without the many living things that feed us, clean our water, house us, and provide other goods and services. When the fabric of life is diminished, these services are diminished too, and that's bad for our economy and our well-being. Second, we have responsibility to steward living things for their own sake. That is not to say that we cannot control species like pests and disease, but when we destroy habitats and change the climate, we put hundreds of thousands or even millions of valuable creatures at risk.
The Church of England has also hailed the encyclical as a vital text for Christians and anyone living on Earth.
The Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt Rev Nicholas Holtam, said climate change is “one of the great moral challenges of our times”. He said:
[This] has been much anticipated and lives up to our hopes that it would be a very substantial and compelling document not just for Roman Catholics but for the whole Church and all people who live together in our common home.
The moral gravity of the challenge of climate change is also recognised by all the world faiths present in the UK.
The transition to a low carbon economy is urgent. Churches and other faith communities have a unique power to mobilise people for the common good and change attitudes and behaviours.”
A reader emails in:
Dr Woo's comment on the value and place of everything in Creation might be sentimentalising some parts of Nature that threaten the rest, for example the deadly virus.
Perhaps we should not idealise too much?
Answering a question, Schellnhuber says that the internationally recognised limit of two degrees centigrade above the average world temperatures before the industrial revolution is "the absolute maximum of global warming that we might be able to digest", and even then many people would suffer, for example from sea level rise inundating small island states. It would be better to aim for a 1.5 degree rise. Warming could be limited to that but it would require enormous political will.
The Telegraph's Geoffrey Lean writes:
Leading Republican climate change sceptics have shown no sign so far that they are prepared to be convinced by the Pope, who will address them in person when he speaks to both houses of Congress in September.
Only one of the 14 or so presidential candidates of the Grand Old Party, Lindsey Graham, accepts the science of climate change. Although Florida is one of the parts of the country most at risk from sea levels rising, two leading Republican candidates with strong links to the state, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, have already come out against the Pope's message.
Republican (and Catholic) Presidential candidate Rick Santorum said Pope Francis should “leave science to the scientists” - perhaps forgetting that those specialising in the climate almost overwhelmingly sound the same alarm.
Similarly, fellow Republican James Inhofe, the leading sceptic in Congress said, “the Pope ought to stay with his job and we'll stick with ours” - but then went on somewhat to undermine his case by telling followers than in opposing measures to control global warming they were “doing the Lord's work” adding “He will eventually bless you for it. Amen”.
Cardinal Turkson has issued a strong rebuff to critics who claim the Pope shouldn't get involved in science. Asked by a Bloomberg reporter what he had to say to those who have strongly urged Pope Francis to stay away from the issue, he said the Pontiff had every right to talk about science as it was a "public domain".
"We talk about the subject not because we're experts but because we are concerned and because it impacts our lives," Cardinal Turkson said.
For some time now, there has been an attempt to emphasise the split between religion and public life. The better recommendation would be to encourage a dialogue between faith and reason.
Carolyn Woo: "The Pope is a forward-thinking business leader." Investing in sustainability is good for the economy.
Jessica Hellmann, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Notre Dame and Director of the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index, studies the effects of climate change and how to help people and ecosystems adapt to climate change.
A critical part of the responsibility the Holy See asks of humanity is adaptation - helping the most vulnerable confront the effects of climate change.
Climate change affects people and other living things all around the world, but lower income countries have lesser capacity than the wealthy countries to handle the disturbances of climate change. They have less protection from climate disasters and less ability to protect the systems that deliver life-giving services. The Global Adaptation Index, for example, shows that countries in Africa are, as a group, among the most vulnerable countries on Earth.
Dr Carolyn Woo, the President of the Catholic Relief Services, who is now speaking, represents another important strand in the development of the encyclical, writes Geoffrey Lean:
The church - as a highly centralised, but also a grassroots, organisation - has been heavily influenced by information filtering up from throughout the world about how poor people are already suffering from the effects of climate change, as harvests are hit and droughts, floods and storms increase.
Dr Woo has just called it "heartbreaking evidence of devastation and destruction". The Pope himself has little background of environmental concern, but is especially concerned about the fate of the world's poorest people. Indeed the decision to issue the encyclical was taken after he visited the Philippines following the devastating 1973 Typhoon Haiyan.
The encyclical has now been released, in which the Pope warns that the world is facing a peril “unprecedented in the history of humanity” and lashes out at “obstructionist attitudes” of climate change sceptics.
You can also read a summary of the 10 things we've learnt from the encyclical.
You can also read the full 180-page document here.