Pope Francis at a recent ‘Meeting with Finance Ministers from Various Nations’:
We live at a time when profits and losses seem to be more highly valued than lives and deaths, and when a company’s net worth is given precedence over the infinite worth of our human family. You are here today to reflect on how to remedy this profound crisis caused by a confusion of our moral ledger with our financial ledger. You are here to help stop a crisis that is leading the world towards disaster….
In 2015, the nations of the world joined, by mutual consent, in supporting two important agreements: the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement COP21. As the financial leaders of your nations, you have the responsibility of working to achieve the goals that your governments have adopted, for the sake of humanity today and in the future….
We continue along old paths because we are trapped by our faulty accounting and by the corruption of vested interests. We still reckon as profit what threatens our very survival.
The effects of global inaction are startling. About two weeks ago, several scientific research centres recorded the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere – one of the key global causes of global warming linked to human activity – as having reached 415 parts per million, the highest level ever recorded. Around the world, we are seeing heat waves, droughts, forest fires, floods and other extreme meteorological events, rising sea levels, the emergence of diseases and further problems that are only a dire premonition of things much worse to come, unless we act and act urgently….
Let us therefore resolve to work together for these ends:
– to value what is important, not what is superfluous;
– to correct our national accounts and our business accounts, so as to stop engaging in activities that are destroying our planet;
– to put an end to global dependency on fossil fuels;
– to open a new chapter of clean and safe energy, that utilizes, for example, renewable resources such as wind, sun and water;
– above all, to act prudently and responsibly in our economies to actually meet human needs, promote human dignity, help the poor and be set free of the idolatry of money that creates so much suffering….
It is my prayerful hope that, as stewards of the world’s finances, you will agree upon a common plan that accords with climate science, the latest in clean energy engineering, and above all the ethics of human dignity.