The Impact of Laudato Si’ on the Paris Climate Agreement
Pope Francis addresses the intersecting concerns of environmental responsibility and authentic human development in the June 2015 papal encyclical Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home. Pope Francis extends Catholic environmental ethics to advocate for those at the margins of social consciousness who are most vulnerable to rapid environmental changes—the global poor and future generations. Pope Francis’ active collaboration with leading experts in climate science and development economics and his perspective as the first non-European Pope strengthens his contributions to ethical discourse on inter- and intra-generational justice, the preferential option for the poor, carbon mitigation policies, and common but differentiated responsibilities in international climate negotiations. His advocacy efforts in 2015 anticipated critical convocations of world leaders, including the UN General Assembly’s ratification of the Sustainable Development Goals in September 2015 and the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in December 2015, culminating in a unanimous decision among 195 governments to adopt the Paris Agreement. Pope Francis’ contribution to discourse on international climate policies and sustainable development objectives inspired political cooperation leading up to pivotal international agreements.