While his trip back to Rome did not have to change flight plans like the flight to Colombia Sept. 6 did because of Hurricane Irma, Pope Francis was asked about the apparently increasing intensity of hurricanes and other storms and what he thinks of political leaders who doubt climate change is real.
“Anyone who denies this must go to the scientists and ask,” he said. “They speak very clearly. Scientists are precise.”
Pope Francis said he read a report citing a university study that asserted humanity has only three years to reduce the pace of climate change before it’s too late. “I don’t know if three years is right or not, but if we don’t turn back, we’ll go down, that’s true.”
“Climate change — you can see the effects,” Pope Francis said. “And the scientists have told us clearly what the paths to follow are.”
Everyone has a moral responsibility to act, he said. “And we must take it seriously.”
“It’s not something to play with,” the pope said. “It’s very serious.”
Politicians who doubt climate change is real or that human activity contributes to it should speak to the scientists and “then decide. And history will judge their decisions.”
Asked why he thinks governments have been so slow to act, Pope Francis said he thinks it’s partly because, as the Old Testament says, “Man is stupid, a stubborn one who does not see.”
But the other reason, he said, is almost always money.