Pope Francis turns 87 on December 17, and he’s got lung cooties, but he’s still going to Dubai next weekend to tell humanity to stop its un-Christian incineration of the planet:
Dear brothers and sisters, blessed Sunday!
Today I cannot appear at the window because I have this problem of inflammation of the lungs, and Monsignor Braida will read the reflection. He knows them well because it is he who writes them, and he always does it so well! Thank you very much for your presence.
…Besides war, our world is threatened by another great danger, that of the climate, which puts life on Earth, especially for the future generations, at risk. And this is contrary to the plan of God, who created everything for life. Therefore, next weekend, I will go to the United Arab Emirates to speak on Saturday at the COP 28 in Dubai. I thank everyone who will accompany this journey with prayer and with the commitment to take to heart the preservation of the common home.
…I wish you all a good Sunday. And please, do not forget to pray for me. Enjoy your lunch, and arrivederci! [Pope Francis, Angelus, 2023.11.26]
Pope Francis has made a big deal of fighting manmade environmental catastrophe throughout his papacy. After watching his warnings on climate change go much too unheeded, Pope Francis is talking tougher on the need not to wait for Jesus to save the world. We are changing the climate, and the poor will bear the greatest brunt of the damage we are doing:
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.
3. This is a global social issue and one intimately related to the dignity of human life. The Bishops of the United States have expressed very well this social meaning of our concern about climate change, which goes beyond a merely ecological approach, because “our care for one another and our care for the earth are intimately bound together. Climate change is one of the principal challenges facing society and the global community. The effects of climate change are borne by the most vulnerable people, whether at home or around the world”.  In a few words, the Bishops assembled for the Synod for Amazonia said the same thing: “Attacks on nature have consequences for people’s lives”.  And to express bluntly that this is no longer a secondary or ideological question, but a drama that harms us all, the African bishops stated that climate change makes manifest “a tragic and striking example of structural sin”.  [Pope Francis, Apostolic Exhortation: “Laudate Deum,” 2023.10.04]
Pope Francis dismisses the notion that God gave us the Earth to do with as we please and says the “growing technocratic paradigm” that arises from the idea of unbounded human power is what’s gotten us into this climate mess:
28. We need to rethink among other things the question of human power, its meaning and its limits. For our power has frenetically increased in a few decades. We have made impressive and awesome technological advances, and we have not realized that at the same time we have turned into highly dangerous beings, capable of threatening the lives of many beings and our own survival. Today it is worth repeating the ironic comment of Solovyov about an “age which was so advanced as to be actually the last one”.  We need lucidity and honesty in order to recognize in time that our power and the progress we are producing are turning against us. 
In a clear nod to the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, Summit Carbon Solutions, and other neoliberal corporate fascists masquerading as Christians, Pope Francis warns the exploited masses not to fall the exploiters’ bushwah promises of economic benefit:
29. The ethical decadence of real power is disguised thanks to marketing and false information, useful tools in the hands of those with greater resources to employ them to shape public opinion. With the help of these means, whenever plans are made to undertake a project involving significant changes in the environment or high levels of contamination, one raises the hopes of the people of that area by speaking of the local progress that it will be able to generate or of the potential for economic growth, employment and human promotion that it would mean for their children. Yet in reality there does not seem to be any true interest in the future of these people, since they are not clearly told that the project will result in the clearing of their lands, a decline in the quality of their lives, a desolate and less habitable landscape lacking in life, the joy of community and hope for the future; in addition to the global damage that eventually compromises many other people as well [Pope Francis, 2023.10.04].
Pope Francis contends that saving the planet from the rapaciousness of profiteers depends on greater global cooperation rooted in robust democracy:
35. It is not helpful to confuse multilateralism with a world authority concentrated in one person or in an elite with excessive power: “When we talk about the possibility of some form of world authority regulated by law, we need not necessarily think of a personal authority”.  We are speaking above all of “more effective world organizations, equipped with the power to provide for the global common good, the elimination of hunger and poverty and the sure defence of fundamental human rights”.  The issue is that they must be endowed with real authority, in such a way as to “provide for” the attainment of certain essential goals. In this way, there could come about a multilateralism that is not dependent on changing political conditions or the interests of a certain few, and possesses a stable efficacy.
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”. 
37. More than saving the old multilateralism, it appears that the current challenge is to reconfigure and recreate it, taking into account the new world situation. I invite you to recognize that “many groups and organizations within civil society help to compensate for the shortcomings of the international community, its lack of coordination in complex situations, and its lack of attention to fundamental human rights”.  For example, the Ottawa Process against the use, production and manufacture of antipersonnel mines is one example that shows how civil society with its organizations is capable of creating effective dynamics that the United Nations cannot. In this way, the principle of subsidiarity is applied also to the global-local relationship.
38. In the medium-term, globalization favours spontaneous cultural interchanges, greater mutual knowledge and processes of integration of peoples, which end up provoking a multilateralism “from below” and not simply one determined by the elites of power. The demands that rise up from below throughout the world, where activists from very different countries help and support one another, can end up pressuring the sources of power. It is to be hoped that this will happen with respect to the climate crisis. For this reason, I reiterate that “unless citizens control political power – national, regional and municipal – it will not be possible to control damage to the environment”. 
…42. Our world has become so multipolar and at the same time so complex that a different framework for effective cooperation is required. It is not enough to think only of balances of power but also of the need to provide a response to new problems and to react with global mechanisms to the environmental, public health, cultural and social challenges, especially in order to consolidate respect for the most elementary human rights, social rights and the protection of our common home. It is a matter of establishing global and effective rules that can permit “providing for” this global safeguarding.
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 [emphasis mine; Pope Francis, 2023.10.04].
Pope Francis exhorts the COP28 participants with whom he will mingle in Dubai on Saturday to focus not solely on technological solutions but on changing our mindset, our ethics, and our politics:
57. I consider it essential to insist that “to seek only a technical remedy to each environmental problem which comes up is to separate what is in reality interconnected and to mask the true and deepest problems of the global system”.  It is true that efforts at adaptation are needed in the face of evils that are irreversible in the short term. Also some interventions and technological advances that make it possible to absorb or capture gas emissions have proved promising. Nonetheless, we risk remaining trapped in the mindset of pasting and papering over cracks, while beneath the surface there is a continuing deterioration to which we continue to contribute. To suppose that all problems in the future will be able to be solved by new technical interventions is a form of homicidal pragmatism, like pushing a snowball down a hill.
58. Once and for all, let us put an end to the irresponsible derision that would present this issue as something purely ecological, “green”, romantic, frequently subject to ridicule by economic interests. Let us finally admit that it is a human and social problem on any number of levels. For this reason, it calls for involvement on the part of all. In Conferences on the climate, the actions of groups negatively portrayed as “radicalized” tend to attract attention. But in reality they are filling a space left empty by society as a whole, which ought to exercise a healthy “pressure”, since every family ought to realize that the future of their children is at stake.
59. If there is sincere interest in making COP28 a historic event that honours and ennobles us as human beings, then one can only hope for binding forms of energy transition that meet three conditions: that they be efficient, obligatory and readily monitored. This, in order to achieve the beginning of a new process marked by three requirements: that it be drastic, intense and count on the commitment of all. That is not what has happened so far, and only a process of this sort can enable international politics to recover its credibility, since only in this concrete manner will it be possible to reduce significantly carbon dioxide levels and to prevent even greater evils over time [Pope Francis, 2023.10.04].
…because, the Pope says to the powerful interests who will gather around him in Dubai, what’s the point of clinging to narrow, selfish interests if you’ll just go down in history as letting the world go down in flames?
60. May those taking part in the Conference be strategists capable of considering the common good and the future of their children, more than the short-term interests of certain countries or businesses. In this way, may they demonstrate the nobility of politics and not its shame. To the powerful, I can only repeat this question: “What would induce anyone, at this stage, to hold on to power, only to be remembered for their inability to take action when it was urgent and necessary to do so?”  [Pope Francis, 2023.10.04].
And in a p.s. to all you Christmas shoppers, Pope Francis says, Hey, America, quit being such greedy pigs:
72. If we consider that emissions per individual in the United States are about two times greater than those of individuals living in China, and about seven times greater than the average of the poorest countries,  we can state that a broad change in the irresponsible lifestyle connected with the Western model would have a significant long-term impact. As a result, along with indispensable political decisions, we would be making progress along the way to genuine care for one another [Pope Francis, 2023.10.04].
COP28 opens on Thursday. Pope Francis speaks his radical Christian philosophy of global democracy on Saturday at 10 a.m. local time. Dubai is ten hours ahead of Central Time, so if you want to watch the Pope live via the Vatican’s stream, you’ll need to stay up Friday night and tune in at midnight from Brookings or 11 p.m. Friday from Spearfish.