Watch CBSN Live

Pope Francis urges "radical" action on climate change ahead of COP26

Biden meets with Pope Francis in Rome
Biden meets with Pope Francis in Rome 08:39

London — Ahead of the upcoming G20 and COP26 conferences, Pope Francis said humanity must take "radical" action to address climate change and other crises. In a statement in Italian put out on CBS News partner network BBC News, the pontiff said humanity needs to abandon isolationism and work for the common good to offer "concrete hope" to future generations.

"We find ourselves increasingly frail and even fearful, caught up in a succession of crises in the areas of health care, the environment, food supplies and the economy, to say nothing of social, humanitarian and ethical crises," Francis said in a radio broadcast on the BBC.

"All these crises are profoundly interconnected. They also forecast a perfect storm that could rupture the bonds holding our society together. … These crises present us with the need to take decisions, radical decisions that are not always easy. At the same time, moments of difficulty like these also present opportunities, opportunities that we must not waste," he said.

President Biden arrived in Rome early Friday for the G20 summit, where a proposed global minimum tax will be discussed. Mr. Biden is America's second Catholic president, he met with the Pope around noon local time.

The U.N. climate summit known as COP26 is taking place from October 31 to November 12 in Glasgow, Scotland, and has been described by some experts and politicians as the world's last chance to come to an agreement to avert the worst effects of climate change.

"We can confront these crises by retreating into isolationism, protectionism and exploitation. Or we can see in them a real chance for change, a genuine moment of conversion, and not simply in a spiritual sense," Francis said.

"The political decision makers who will meet at COP26 in Glasgow are urgently summoned to provide effective responses to the present ecological crisis and in this way to offer concrete hope to future generations.  And it is worth repeating that each of us – whoever and wherever we may be – can play our own part in changing our collective response to the unprecedented threat of climate change and the degradation of our common home."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.