Vatican Calls for Immediate Action on Climate Change

by Ron Benenati

A report commissioned by the Vatican’s Scientific Panel, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences doesn’t mince words: it urges the world to act quickly and strongly to address climate change. 

It says: "humans must act decisively now to avert a coming crisis."

"We have entered a new geologic epoch that began when the impacts of mankind on the planet became a major factor in environmental and climate changes."

"We call on all people and nations to recognize the serious and potentially reversible impacts of global warming caused by the anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants," it says. "If we want justice and peace, we must protect the habitat that sustains us."

The report says climate change is already underway and that action is necessary as a matter of social justice, especially for the poor. It ties action to the biblical idea of "stewardship" for the Earth, described here as "a planet blessed with the gift of life." It asks "all inhabitants of this planet receive their daily bread, fresh air to breathe and clean water to drink."

It concludes: "The believers among us ask God to grant us this wish."

The Vatican commissioned the report to address the "causes and consequences" of the retreat of mountain glaciers. Researchers initially focused on glacier retreat, but ended up looking deeper into its causes. 

The Working Group was co-chaired by Veerabhadran Ramanathan, Scripps Climate and Atmospheric Scientist, and  Nobel Laureate Paul Crutzen.  It includes glaciologists, climate scientists, meteorologists, hydrologists, physicists, chemists, mountaineers, and lawyers. 

Excerpts from the report, which was released yesterday: 

We call on all people and nations to recognise the serious and potentially irreversible impacts of global warming caused by the anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants, and by changes in forests, wetlands, grasslands, and other land uses.

We appeal to all nations to develop and implement, without delay, effective and fair policies to reduce the causes and impacts of climate change on communities and ecosystems, including mountain glaciers and their watersheds, aware that we all live in the same home.

By acting now, in the spirit of common but differentiated responsibility, we accept our duty to one another and to the stewardship of a planet blessed with the gift of life.

We are committed to ensuring that all inhabitants of this planet receive their daily bread, fresh air to breathe and clean water to drink as we are aware that, if we want justice and peace, we must protect the habitat that sustains us. The believers among us ask God to grant us this wish.

The Scientists acknowledge the toxic damage to air, water and land resources caused by the aggressive exploitation of fossil fuels and other natural resources including the estimated "1000 billion tons of carbon dioxide and other climatically important "greenhouse" gases [that] have been pumped into the atmosphere." They state that this "human interference" has resulted in the highest concentration of carbon dioxide in the air over the last 800,000 years.

Results of Human Activity

According to the papel scientific panel,  climatic and ecological impacts of this "human interference" has resulted in worldwide  Glacial retreat, "changes in the composition of the air and air quality that result in more than 2 million premature deaths worldwide every year and threaten water and food security."

"The widespread loss of glaciers, ice, and snow on the mountains of tropical, temperate, and polar regions is some of the clearest evidence we have for a change in the climate system which is taking place on a global scale at a rapid rate."  This is contributing to a rise in sea level and threatens water resources of communities worldwide.

The report states that the pace of glacial retreat  has been increasing since the 1980s. "The Alpine glaciers have already lost more than 50% of their mass." 

"The recent changes observed in glacial behaviour are due to a complex mix of caus­al factors that include greenhouse gas forcing together with large scale emissions of dark soot particles and dust in "brown clouds", and the associated changes in regional atmospheric energy and moisture content, all of which result in significant warming at higher altitudes…"

… In contrast to natural climate and glacial changes the Earth has experienced throughout history, the papal scientists state."

"The primary triggers for ice ages and inter-glacials are well understood to be changes in the astronomical parameters related to the motion of our planet within the solar system and natural feedback processes in the climate system.

The time scales between these triggers are in the range of 10,000 years or longer. By contrast, the observed human-induced changes in carbon dioxide, other greenhouse gases, and soot concentrations are taking place on 10-100 year timescales – at least 100 times as fast.

It is particularly worrying that this release of global warming agents is occurring during an interglacial period when the Earth was already at a natural temperature maximum."

Vatican Scientists Recommend Three Measures

"Reduce worldwide carbon dioxide emissions without delay, using all means possible to meet ambitious international global warming targets and ensure the long-term stability of the climate system. All nations must focus on a rapid transition to renewable energy sources and other strategies to reduce CO2 emissions.


Should also avoid removal of carbon sinks by stopping deforestation, and should strengthen carbon sinks by reforestation of degraded lands. They also need to develop and deploy technologies that draw down excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. These actions must be accomplished within a few decades. "

Reduce concentrations of warming air pollutants (dark soot, methane, lower atmosphere ozone, and hydrofluorocarbons) by as much as 50%, to slow down climate change during this century while preventing millions of premature deaths from respiratory disease and millions of tons of crop damages every year.

 Prepare to adapt to the climatic changes, both chronic and abrupt, that society will be unable to mitigate. In particular, we call for a global capacity-building initiative to assess the natural and social impacts of climate change in mountain systems and related watersheds. 

The report says "the cost of the three recommended measures pales in comparison to the price the world will pay if we fail to act now."

Read the report:

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Comments on “Vatican Calls for Immediate Action on Climate Change”

  1. JP Strait

    We are in the process of educating the public and private sectors in the building arena. is a valuable site that will implement reducing Americas carbon footprint by building sustainable and reto-fitting existing. Structures. JPSTRAIT.

  2. James Newberry

    Defining fossil materials as “fuels” is a basis of the problem. Matter of the lithosphere (fossil hydrocarbons and uranium) are defined as energy only via fraud. They are poisonous and explosive materials, not sustainable energy service.

    Climate change is perhaps better defined as Climate Contamination. Nation-states are pouring hundreds of billions of dollars each year into making these poisonous schemes seem “cheap.” Thus, we have cascading calamity and impoverishment of the public and ecosphere, which result from economic frames of nation-state agendas and power geopolitics, including private profit and military fuels of war.

    We might avoid a nuclear holocaust, but the climate holocaust will only be avoided by global revolution against nation-state agendas which promote globalized corporatism of unregulated capitalism.

  3. austin

    not infallible. Global warming is within normal range and the Vatican is sometimes wrong about science (see Galileo)
    for the facts.

  4. Robbo

    This is great news!
    We at Organic Transit are launching Eco-Urban Vehicles that get the equivalent of 1800mpg and mitigate 28 tons of CO2 each per year. Base price of $3.4K US.
    Website will be up in a week or two.

  5. Sam Hill

    This is NEW WORLD ORDER CRAP and it is FALSE! If this is in fact a report that has come out of the Vatican, then it’s time for all FAITHFUL Catholics to find the SSPX nearest to them. 1000 psuedo scientists jumpin up and down and screaming slogans does NOT make for TRUTH. The glaciers are melting from nuclear fallout in the ice cores at the poles- -what we are now experiencing is POSTGLACIAL REBOUND EFFECT. Persons interested should check out the work of Scott Owen: California USA. The extra water coming off of the glaciers is going into our oceans and sinking the ocean floor. This is putting pressure on the natural piping systems under the crust- -as well as putting pressure on the plates. The sea levels ARE NOT RISING-the ocean floor is SINKING–islands will SINK and there will be massive seismic activity until the planet adjusts itself. Scott Owen has PREDICTED with UNCANNY accuracy ALL of the megaquakes that have occured within the past 2 years (months in ADVANCE) To him, it’s mathematics-pressure and weight- -he’s been DEAD ON. According to Owen, with Fukashima it’s a runaway. Mainstream scientific agencies aren’t telling us the whole truth. Huge fissures and sinkholes are opening ALL over the planet. Scott Owen has traveled to site and demonstrated with science what has occured. Something that MUST be mentioned here is: OUR PLANET IS EXPANDING–yes, GROWING! The EARTH IS NOW 27 miles WIDER at the equator than it was just 100 years ago. That’s the truth. A good source of information on this topic is RICHARD GUY ‘The receding Seas’. At this point we’ve got to be prepared for climate related migration.

  6. Lenay

    The Vatican installed a huge solar panel. This is not a bad thing. It is simply where did the money come from? Will many someones research the varied investments of benefactors and controlling intrests in companies which stand to profit? Start with the Legion of Christ and Opes Dei. That is just for starters. We have The Knights of Malta and Columbus and many others. Are we truly a people of life? Do we mean what we say in respecting the dignity of the human person in EVERY human person from conception to natural human death? Is this why we still treat anyone who comes to you (a bishop/ the bishops)with a statement of a priest or bishops’ harmful action as if they were the enemy?

  7. Juan Oskar

    The Vatican has to much time on its hands. They should be more concerned by saving souls, not trees. The spread of evil radical Islam? Silence.

  8. Barb

    Instead of worrying about global warming the Pope should be calling on the bishops of the world to dedicate Russia to the Imaculate Heart of Mary as the Blessed Mother requested at Fatima. If that doesn’t happen many nations will be destroyed. Can’t we seeing that coming?

  9. Melanie

    Climate change is a hoax and the goal of the hoax is redistribution of wealth and population control. Is this the goal of the Vatican? I am mystified and disheartened to read this

  10. Jaidev

    A rather devout Hindu like me living in India would look at the words of Vatican as great signposts to the future. The Corporate world is the last which would agree that there is a problem. All our forests are removed, 70% drinking water contaminated, no breathable air in the cities,90% of our biodiversity gone, Sir, you mean there is no problem? I think Vatican must show us the path in this time of grave crisis. I dont think Vatican is infallible or uncorrupted. Who is uncorrupted anyway? All of our religions have committed grave injustices on people. There is still time to make corrections. I would wholeheartedly go with the Pope and his campaigns for the planet.

  11. John Paul

    The loss of credibility/trust coming from Catholics in things marked as emminating from the Vatican is astounding. Is The Pope and his prefects taking notice.

  12. Andy

    Whereas, in the old days, a burning bush was sufficient, apparently, it took Hurricane Katrina; 40 hundred-year floods in the U.S.; floods which displaced 2.5 million people in Pakistan; floods in China, Bolivia, Egypt, Mexico, Ecuador, Brazil, Australia, South Africa, Russia, Columbia, Central Europe and Peru, all in 2010; and 1,061 U.S. tornadoes so far in 2011 to finally convince him that the climate was changing. (And please explain to me how all those disasters, which are costing thousands of lives and billions to clean up, fit into your so-called “hoax.” Look into the profit motives of the people telling you it’s a hoax: oh, the oil companies who want to sell you more gasoline).

  13. Jehannedarc

    I think the smoke of satan flew up the nose of the ‘science panel.’ Politicized ‘science’ that tries to make a case mankind can stop climate change is simply stupid, a bunch of left over 60s leftists. About the ONLY thing that will suit the global warmer climate change folks is for mankind to day off by the billions and that would seem to be against church teaching…or maybe it isnt any more. Short of us all living in preColumbian conditions with horses and bikes, there is not one doggone thing short of committing suicide man can do to make a significant impact on the climate. TOO many people in too large cities may be a problem but ‘doing something’ suggests we allow some moronic world bureaucracy make decisions that will have unexpected consequences even the princes at the Vatican science panel didnt see. I keep thinking of who shut Gallileo uop and then spent hundreds of years trying to tell people the church is only invalible on matters of faith and morals, not which way the wind blows or why it blows. Church continues to lurch new world order left…. so satan must be alive and well and messing with some heads in the Vatican.

  14. B. F.

    A couple of things: #1). Every statement that is stamped “coming from the Vatican” does not necessarily come from the pope. Sometimes opinions are released without the popes knowledge. And sometimes the story about an opinion coming from the Vatican is either false or misleading in fact. If this did originate from the Vatican, then I can only guess that it came from the progressives that have implanted themselves behind the Vatican walls. #2). Barb, what you proposed, consecrating Russia to the Imaaculate Heart of Mary, has already been accomplished. John Paul II accomplished this with his bishops on March 25, 1984. It was affirmed by Sister Lucia (one of the child visionaries of Our Lady of Fatima) in a letter written on August 29,1989.

  15. Starr

    Why is that every time the Vatican says something people jump in their throats, especially to the pope’s motives? One, but one thing is EXTREMELY obvious and incredible sad in every aspect and in every matter of life of a human being — this is WHY: Humans have the habitual ERRONEOUS tendency to immediately criticize, judge and condemn others according to PERSONAL assumptions without having any degree of knowledge and a deep thorough conviction of true facts. Unfortunately one and only one answer is the focal point of human error and this is “LACK OF KNOWLEDGE AND INFORMATION.” Humans tend to PARROT about what others, who are not well informed or have no knowledge, are saying and about what is and can be a true fact. The Vatican’s Scientific Academy is not wrong in advising us to take serious measurements about the deterioration of our planet, something that it is quite OBVIOUS, we are seeing every day the changes that are on front of our eyes, we hear and witness about natural disasters all over the globe, we see devastations of the weather in the news and still people here in their comments call it “HOAX” and insult the Vatican for warning us about the serious changes and for advising us to conserve and make rapid changes for the benefit of our precious planet and for the entire human and animal kingdom? Those nasty comments in response to the Vatican’s good purposes are sadly outrageous! If you are not religious, then do not make hurtful comments — perhaps one day YOU will be sorry about your own words, especially if you will live through devastation, and as you die your soul INEVITABLE will have to face God. Instead of criticizing and maligning the Vatican, why don’t we all get busy and save our precious planets for ourselves and for our children?

  16. Sr.

    The Church leaders concerned with “global warming” must certainly agree with ALL of us who are concerned with the catastrophic prophecies of the many mystics and even Our Lady or the last century. Mother Earth has uncontrollably been groaning, belching, churning, cracking at the seams, and splashing her waters about enormously recently. As a result hundreds of thousands lives have been lost and countless of families have been left homeless. These are recorded “global facts” perpetrated upon suffering humanity from around the world from Mount Helen to Louisiana to Japan to Haiti to the current banks of the Mississippi. It is no stretch of the imagination that we are much more at the mercy of the globes own uncontrollable nature than mighty Mother Earth in all her eternal celestial constant evolving glory is of any presumed finite human manipulations of her vast resources as we attempt to “cope” with many modes.
    So it would be far “wiser” to spend the precious few days we call life here in prayer to the Creator for the strength and courage to withstand her challenges to our existence as we employ and enjoy those vast resources with the hope of providing food, electricity, decent housing with air conditioning, and yes motorize ground and air and rail and sea transportation to every corner of His global community.

  17. filow84

    What do you know – the vatican gets something right for a change. See what happens when you address scientific questions using the Scientific Method instead of running to your ancient books of myths and legends?

  18. John

    The problem with global warming if you are a Republican global warming is a myth and if you are a Democrat global warming is real, which goes to show that the political parties do the thinking for the people.

  19. Howard Stens

    Republican factory owners killed your family and friends in the catastrophic blizzards, floods, tornadoes, massive wildfires and other climate change that has been wiping out the bible-belt. This is the Climate Change that their factories created. This is the Climate Change that the Republicans lie about not existing. This is the Climate Change that they program their constituents to deny exists. This is the Climate Change that killed people, destroyed homes, further destroyed the economy that the Republican factories emissions caused so they could make profits by killing those people. Republicans deny Climate Change at all costs in order to keep their factories from having to pay to stop it. The Climate Change that is destroying massive sections of our country can no longer be hidden or denied. The issue of Climate Change is TOTALLY ONLY about Republican factories which cause Climate Change getting charged to put filters on their factories.

  20. Joe Catholic

    The ultimate goal of those who support global warming is to eliminate the cause of CO2, carbon dioxide, and that is people. Those who support this scam are those who support abortion on demand, gay marriage, embryonics stem cell research, and euthanasia. Crazies have invaded the Vatican! But it wasn’t the first time. Good thing the Holy Father is still there. He has solid sense.

  21. Luciano

    Climate follows natural cycles, climate change is fraudulent but stewardship is the key and alarmism about climate change is the wool over everyone’s eyes that leads to equality of poverty and serfdom.

  22. Luciano

    Send the Vatican scientific panel back to school at the “sixth International conference on climate change” to Washington DC from June 30 to July 1 where the real scientists are and away from political hacks who want to destroy the economy.
    Let us pray that the Vatican scientific panel does due diligence and get real perspective as any real Catholic would and avoid knee jerk responses a la chicken little.

  23. peanutbutter

    filow84 The university was a Christian invention and without the belief in intelligent design the scientific method would have never occured. Look at China where the Jesuits tried to bring them into the modern age in the 15-1600’s. They threw them out because science did not fit into their worldview. Galileo believed that tides were caused by Satanic forces. The Church cautioned him strongly to stop promoting his views, used to turn naive Catholics away from their faith by implying that God had not founded the earth for a unique purpose, because his science was intuitive and could not be proved. Until it could they asked him to keep quiet to keep naive people from being scandalized. In fact his science was unproved until the 1800’s.
    Faith and science are not at odds at all. Pope John Paul II wrote an amazing encyclical “Fides et Ratio-On the Relationship Between Faith and Reason” in 1998. You can read it online. He is also famous for telling the Polish people soon after elected pope “Do not be afraid” and they organized and overthrew their communist oppressors. So, what are you afraid of?


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