Pope Francis today appealed to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai to fight for a meaningful breakthrough agreement to curb global warming that includes the elimination of fossil fuels, saying the climate is now “out of control”.

The 86-year-old pope had planned to attend the conference, but health reasons forced him to remain in the Vatican.

His full speech was handed over to his representatives, and the Vatican’s foreign minister, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, limited its length to within the three-minute limit for speeches.

“Unfortunately, I cannot be present with you, as I so much wanted. Even so, I am with you, because time is short,” Francis said in his message.

“I am with you because now more than ever, the future of all of us depends on the present we choose now. I am with you because destroying the environment is an offense against God,” he said.

“May this COP prove to be a turning point, demonstrating a clear and tangible political will that can lead to a decisive acceleration of the ecological transition,” he said.

To achieve this, he stressed, it is necessary to move decisively forward with greater energy efficiency, renewable energy sources, “eliminating fossil fuels” and changing a wasteful lifestyle.

Saying that “the gap between the few rich and the many poor has never been so deep,” the pontiff called for debt relief for poor countries that are less responsible for greenhouse gases but suffer more than advanced countries.

He called this repayment of the “ecological debt” owed to them for suffering from something they did not cause.

“May we be attentive to the cry of the earth, listen to the plea of ​​the poor, be sensitive to the hopes of the young and the dreams of the children! We have a heavy responsibility: to ensure that they are not denied their future,” he said.

“The climate, uncontrolled, calls out to us to stop this illusion of omnipotence. Let us once again recognize our limits, with humility and courage, as the only path to a life of authentic fulfillment,” he said.