Like Paul on the road to Damascus, Al Gore had a revelation that he could become Catholic. Not because he’s had any religious revelation, but because of Pope Francis’s concern over global warming.
“I think Pope Francis is quite an inspiring figure really,” Gore said during an event at the University of California, Berkeley. “A phenomena. I’ve been startled with the clarity of the moral force that he embodies.”
“Well I’ve said publicly in the last year, I was raised in the Southern Baptist tradition, I could become a Catholic because of this Pope,” Gore said. “He is that inspiring to me. And I know the vast majority of my Catholic friends are just thrilled to the marrow of their bones that he is providing this kind of spiritual leadership.”
Gore’s remarks come as Pope Francis is prepared to issue an encyclical on global warming. Francis is expected to come out against the burning of fossil fuels for energy and champion decarbonizing the world’s economies.
A document from a meeting of world leaders and academics last week said “[f]ossil fuel exploitation has also taken a huge toll on human well being.”
“Market forces alone, bereft of ethical values, cannot solve the intertwined crises of poverty, exclusion, and the environment,” the Vatican document read. “The move to a sustainable world will not be cost-free for all: the options we face are not ‘win-win.’”
“We should be prepared to accept a reallocation of the benefits and burdens that accompany humanity’s activities both within nations and between nations,” according to the document.
The Papacy and the United Nations have joined forces to countries to agree to a global climate treaty when delegates meet in Paris in December. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called addressing global warming “an urgent moral imperative.”
“It is a moral issue.,” Ki-moon said. “It is an issue of social justice, human rights and fundamental ethics.”
“If ever there were an issue that requires unity of purpose, it is climate change,” he added. “Science tells us we are far off track from reducing global emissions sufficient to keep global temperature rise below 2° C. We are currently on course for a rise of 4-5° C. That would alter life on Earth as we know it.”