If there’s one person in the Catholic Church who ought to have the ability to influence climate action on a global scale, it’s the pope. And yet as Laudate Deum, his most recent exhortation on climate, demonstrates, even Pope Francis seems frustrated by how little has changed despite his best efforts.
The pontiff didn’t shy away from calling out those he sees as responsible, and after outlining the science proving that climate change is human-caused, he made clear that developing nations contribute little to the problem but bear the brunt of its impacts. He rejected the idea that technology alone will avert disaster and lamented the failure of repeated meetings of the Conference of the Parties to hasten the abandonment of fossil fuels. In drawing from scientific studies, governmental reports, and the works of authors like feminist tech scholar Donna J. Haraway, Francis showed a firm grasp of both the science and politics of climate change while conveying the moral and spiritual implications of the crisis, with the goal of urging “all people of good will” to act.