Pope Francis: Irma, Harvey a Reminder That 'We Will Go Down' If Measures Aren't Taken to Address Climate Change

Pam Wright
Published: September 13, 2017

Pope Francis talks to journalists during a press conference he held on board the flight to Rome, at the end of a five-day visit to Colombia, Monday, Sept. 11, 2017.
(AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, pool)

Hurricanes Irma and Harvey are a reminder that humanity will "go down" unless something is not done to address climate change, Pope Francis said this week.

According to Reuters, the pope told reporters on a flight to Rome from a five-day tour of Columbia Sunday that recent hurricanes should be a wakeup call for the world, noting that history will judge those who deny the science on the causes of global warming.

“If we don’t turn back, we will go down,” Francis said. 

While there is broad consensus that climate change is real and responsible for numerous severe weather events, due to their recency, there are no studies that have yet linked Irma or Harvey to climate change.

When asked if world leaders should be held morally responsible if they do not cooperate with other countries to reduce global warming, the pope hinted that the answer was obvious.

“You can see the effects of climate change and scientists have clearly said what path we have to follow,” he said. “All of us have a responsibility, all of us, small or large, a moral responsibility. We have to take it seriously. We can’t joke about it. Each person has their own. Even politicians have their own.”

(MORE: Irma's Staggering Toll)

Without saying so, the pope seemed to direct his remarks at President Donald Trump and his administration's withdrawal in June from the Paris Climate Accord, an agreement that had the full support of the pope. After the U.S. withdrew, the Vatican called the move a “slap in the face."

“If someone is doubtful that this is true, they should ask scientists. They are very clear. These are not opinions pulled out of thin air. They are very clear. Then each person can decide and history will judge the decisions,” he said Sunday.


The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

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