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Cardinal Turkson: Pope may intervene if Paris climate-changes talks stall

December 09, 2015

If UN climate-change talks in Paris become stalled, Pope Francis might intervene, Cardinal Peter Turkson told reporters at a December 8 press conference in Rome.

Cardinal Turkson, the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said that effective international action is needed because climate change raises the “horrible and ever more likely possibility” that the earth will become uninhabitable. “When the environment is assaulted, the poor, least able to defend themselves, suffer most,” he added.

Cardinal Turkson said that Pope Francis is counting on negotiators at the Paris talks to produce a practical accord. He said:

If it gets to a stalemate or whatever, he may utter a statement or make a comment or whatever, but he will refrain from exercising any coercive power on the things over here, because that would not belong to his style.

In a surprising foray into the technical details of the climate talks, Cardinal Turkson said that the Vatican would support the “2-degree standard”—the goal of bringing world temperatures down to within 2 degrees (Celsius) of the norms from before the industrial era—rather than the more stringent 1.5-degree standard proposed by some nations.

In an interview with BBC, Cardinal Turkson said that family planning “can offer a solution” to environmental concerns. He said that Pope Francis had “invited people to some form of birth control, because the Church has never been opposed to birth control and people spacing out births and all that.” The cardinal indicated that by “birth control” he was speaking of natural family planning.


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Show 5 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: bernie4871 - Dec. 10, 2015 7:47 PM ET USA

    Birth Control is an invalid expression more appropriate to abortion, as in 'who comes out alive. Contraception is a valid but inhuman action. NPF for less than serious or grave reasons bears the weight of the contraceptive sin. Generosity and continence, for the sake of the spiritual life, are the Catholic bi-Polar virtues that respond to God's mind. Loose talk is the loose screw in the mechanism holiness. Popes and Cardinals and Bishops and priests, do your job. Preach clearly

  • Posted by: brenda22890 - Dec. 10, 2015 9:29 AM ET USA

    I've asked before: does anyone know when Cardinal Turkson will retire?

  • Posted by: jalsardl5053 - Dec. 10, 2015 1:13 AM ET USA

    Ludicrous: amusing or laughable through obvious absurdity, incongruity, exaggeration, or eccentricity meriting derisive laughter or scorn as absurdly inept, false, or foolish. No more need be said.

  • Posted by: bernie4871 - Dec. 09, 2015 11:50 PM ET USA

    I refuse to believe that a Pope could have uttered such things, even using the words "birth control". God loves generous families. He is The Giver of Life and its Source. Such calculation intended to save the planet is a design of the Devil. Some people (I hope not the Pope) are megalomaniacs. It is laughable that Turcson thinks the Pope can intervene, ("but not forcefully because it is not his style"), makes the Pope a laughing stock. God deterines "sustainable".

  • Posted by: FredC - Dec. 09, 2015 7:42 PM ET USA

    Will the cardinal be able to convince the Muslims to have fewer children? I do wish that the Vatican would have a fair hearing between the scientists who claim that man significantly increases global warming (and who get all of the government funding) and scientists who claim that man does not significantly increase global warming (and who get no government funding).