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Papal ‘Global Warming’ Encyclical Leaked By Italian Media

A draft of Pope Francis’ encyclical focusing on global warming has been leaked by an Italian news magazine just days ahead of its final publication. The draft has already set the Internet ablaze as newspapers say the document pushes for action to cut carbon dioxide emissions.

The Italian magazine L’Espresso leaked a draft copy of Francis’ encyclical “Be praised.” The Vatican has already come out saying this document was only an “intermediate” draft and the final text will be released Thursday.

For months, environmentalists and skeptics have waited for Francis to weigh in on global warming. If the leaked draft is any indication of what the pope will say in the final encyclical, it looks like the pope will be surging for action ahead of the United Nations climate summit in Paris set for later this year.

The draft (which is in Italian) acknowledges there’s a “very consistent scientific consensus that we are in the presence of an alarming warming of the climatic system,” according to a translation in The Wall Street Journal.

The Journal also noted Francis calls for world leaders to reduce carbon dioxide emissions through a variety of policies, including by “replacing fossil fuels and developing sources of renewable energy.”

In the draft, Francis does admit there are natural causes to global warming, but counters that “numerous scientific studies indicate that the greater part of global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen oxide and others) emitted above all due to human activity.”

But Francis also writes that poor countries should focus on poverty eradication and social development, according to encyclical text translated by the U.K. blog Bishop Bill.

“For poor countries, the priority should be the eradication of poverty and social development of their inhabitants; at the same time the scandalous level of consumption of certain privileged sectors of their population must be considered and better counter corruption,” Francis wrote in his draft. “Of course, they must also develop less polluting forms energy production, but for this they have need to rely on help from countries that are grown much at the expense of pollution today the planet.”

“The direct exploitation of abundant solar energy requires that you establish mechanisms and subsidies so that developing countries can have access to technology transfer, for technical assistance and financial resources, but always paying attention to concrete conditions, since the compatibility of the systems with the context for which they are proposed is not always properly assessed,” the pope added. “The costs would be low when compared to risk of climate change. In any case, it is above all an ethical choice, based on solidarity of all peoples.”

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