Essay by Eric Worrall
“It continues to be regrettable that global crises are being squandered when they could be the occasions to bring about beneficial changes.” – but ceding national sovereignty might help.
OF THE HOLY FATHER
TO ALL PEOPLE OF GOOD WILL
ON THE CLIMATE CRISIS
2. Eight years have passed since I published the Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’, when I wanted to share with all of you, my brothers and sisters of our suffering planet, my heartfelt concerns about the care of our common home. Yet, with the passage of time, I have realized that our responses have not been adequate, while the world in which we live is collapsing and may be nearing the breaking point. In addition to this possibility, it is indubitable that the impact of climate change will increasingly prejudice the lives and families of many persons. We will feel its effects in the areas of healthcare, sources of employment, access to resources, housing, forced migrations, etc.
6. In recent years, some have chosen to deride these facts. They bring up allegedly solid scientific data, like the fact that the planet has always had, and will have, periods of cooling and warming. They forget to mention another relevant datum: that what we are presently experiencing is an unusual acceleration of warming, at such a speed that it will take only one generation – not centuries or millennia – in order to verify it. The rise in the sea level and the melting of glaciers can be easily perceived by an individual in his or her lifetime, and probably in a few years many populations will have to move their homes because of these facts.
7. In order to ridicule those who speak of global warming, it is pointed out that intermittent periods of extreme cold regularly occur. One fails to mention that this and other extraordinary symptoms are nothing but diverse alternative expressions of the same cause: the global imbalance that is provoking the warming of the planet. Droughts and floods, the dried-up lakes, communities swept away by seaquakes and flooding ultimately have the same origin. At the same time, if we speak of a global phenomenon, we cannot confuse this with sporadic events explained in good part by local factors.
11. It is no longer possible to doubt the human – “anthropic” – origin of climate change. Let us see why. The concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which causes global warming, was stable until the nineteenth century, below 300 parts per million in volume. But in the middle of that century, in conjunction with industrial development, emissions began to increase. In the past fifty years, this increase has accelerated significantly, as the Mauna Loa observatory, which has taken daily measurements of carbon dioxide since 1958, has confirmed. While I was writing Laudato Si’, they hit a historic high – 400 parts per million – until arriving at 423 parts per million in June 2023.  More than 42% of total net emissions since the year 1850 were produced after 1990. 
19. Finally, we can add that the Covid-19 pandemic brought out the close relation of human life with that of other living beings and with the natural environment. But in a special way, it confirmed that what happens in one part of the world has repercussions on the entire planet. This allows me to reiterate two convictions that I repeat over and over again: “Everything is connected” and “No one is saved alone”.
36. It continues to be regrettable that global crises are being squandered when they could be the occasions to bring about beneficial changes.  This is what happened in the 2007-2008 financial crisis and again in the Covid-19 crisis. For “the actual strategies developed worldwide in the wake of [those crises] fostered greater individualism, less integration and increased freedom for the truly powerful, who always find a way to escape unscathed”. 
43. All this presupposes the development of a new procedure for decision-making and legitimizing those decisions, since the one put in place several decades ago is not sufficient nor does it appear effective. In this framework, there would necessarily be required spaces for conversation, consultation, arbitration, conflict resolution and supervision, and, in the end, a sort of increased “democratization” in the global context, so that the various situations can be expressed and included. It is no longer helpful for us to support institutions in order to preserve the rights of the more powerful without caring for those of all.
Read more: https://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/apost_exhortations/documents/20231004-laudate-deum.html
A sort of increased democratization implies ceding national sovereignty to international institutions – which the Pope proposes should be advanced on the back of “occasions” presented by global crisis.
Remind me, weren’t there a few problems, last time the Catholic Church told us which scientific theories to believe in?
Future generations will look back on this embarrassing Papal attempt to propagate scientific ignorance, much as we look back on the embarrassing efforts of the Catholic Church to suppress the theories of Galileo.
Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions. – Terry Pratchett.