The Vatican issued the statement hours after releasing a letter from Pope Francis to Scotland’s Catholics.
Expressing regret that he was unable to attend the summit in person, the pope wrote: “Time is running out; this occasion must not be wasted, lest we have to face God’s judgment for our failure to be faithful stewards of the world he has entrusted to our care.”
COP26 President Alok Sharma echoed the pope’s words on Nov. 10, saying that “time is running out” to reach an agreement and calling for a breakthrough on financial support for poorer countries most affected by climate change.
Pope Francis has sought to galvanize efforts to protect the environment since his election in 2013. He issued the encyclical Laudato si’ in 2015, ahead of the U.N. Climate Change Conference in France, which negotiated the Paris Agreement.
The Glasgow summit is encouraging governments to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement and the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The Vatican said on Thursday that the Holy See’s delegation had brought the pope’s concerns to COP26 participants, “emphasizing the human face of the climate crisis, its impact on the poorest and those who have done the least to cause it.”
“The ambitious commitments made by states to limit the rise of the global average temperature to 1.5 °C [2.7°F] above pre-industrial levels and to provide the needed financial resources to do so are promising and indeed essential for the survival of the most vulnerable communities,” it said.
The Holy See highlighted the “issue of loss and damage,” which it said was vital to communities suffering most from climate change.
It said that a joint message signed by faith leaders and scientists at the Vatican on Oct. 4 recognized the importance of the topic.
It also noted that the pope had stressed “the ecological debt and the solidarity that industrialized countries owe to the poor” in Laudato si’.