Activist calls for new alliances to fight climate change

In a world where profit is consistently put before both people and the planet, climate economics has everything to do with ethics and morality, according to a leading activist ahead of a Vatican conference.

The Canadian Naomi Klein, best known for her criticisms of corporate capitalism and globalisation, had been invited to Rome to speak at 'People and Planet First: the Imperative to Change Course', a conference organised by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the International Alliance of Catholic Development Organisations.

"Pope Francis writes early on that Laudato Si is not only a teaching for the Catholic world but for 'every person living on this planet'", she said, pointing out that as "a secular Jewish feminist who was rather surprised to be invited to the Vatican", the encyclical spoke to her.

The challenges facing humanity and the world in general are now so great that a new kind of climate movement was emerging in which "some surprising and even unlikely alliances" were forming, she said.

"Inside these coalitions, we don’t agree on everything — not by a long shot,” she continued. “But we understand that the stakes are so high, time is so short and the task is so large that we cannot afford to allow those differences to divide us."

Warning against American politicians who would use the Bible as a cover to justify their opposition to climate action, she said that Pope Francis’ trip to the US this September could not be better timed.