He described the current state of the climate as having "run amok" and called for a halt to the unbridled exploitation of the environment driven by an obsession with production and possession.
The pope's speech, delivered mostly by Cardinal Secretary of State of Vatican City Pietro Parolin, highlighted the destructive consequences of an inordinate greed that has led to the degradation of the environment. He urged humanity to recognize its limits with humility and courage, emphasizing that this is the only path to a life of authentic fulfillment.
However, due to his ongoing recovery from the flu and lung inflammation, Pope Francis had to cancel his trip to Dubai for the COP28 conference. Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni explained that while the pope's condition was improving, doctors advised against his attendance at the conference.
Pope Francis has long been an outspoken advocate for addressing climate change. In 2018, he issued a dire warning to top oil executives, stating that climate change could potentially "destroy civilization." In 2021, he joined other religious leaders in signing a plea to governments worldwide, urging for more decisive action against climate change.
The cancellation of the pope's trip to Dubai means that he would have been the first pontiff to address a U.N. climate conference. However, the Vatican's news service reported that efforts would be made to ensure the pope's participation in the discussions at the conference, in line with his and the Holy See's desire to be involved.