Pope Francis has urged world leaders to take “radical decisions” at next week’s global environmental summit in a special message recorded for BBC Radio 4’s Thought for the Day.
Leaders attending the Cop26 conference in Glasgow must offer “concrete hope to future generations”, the pontiff said.
Francis is not attending the summit, despite earlier suggestions that he would fly in for a brief appearance to reinforce the significance of the event. His message was recorded in Italian and lasted almost five minutes. It was broadcast on Friday morning with a voiceover in English.
He said: “Climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic have exposed our deep vulnerability and raised numerous doubts and concerns about our economic systems and the way we organise our societies.
“We have lost our sense of security, and are experiencing a sense of powerlessness and loss of control over our lives. We find ourselves increasingly frail and even fearful.”
Complicating the reconciliation bill negotiations for Democratic leaders was a lack of certainty from the key holdouts, Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. Both sounded hopeful that a deal was within reach, but stopped short of offering their firm support.
“After months of productive, good-faith negotiations with Biden and the White House, we have made significant progress on the proposed budget reconciliation package,” Sinema said yesterday, adding: “I look forward to getting this done.”
Manchin also did not commit to supporting the legislation he played a significant role in shaping. Asked whether he would vote for the plan, he said only that its fate was presently “in the hands of the House”.
After months of prolonged negotiations, the proposed framework is far smaller in size and scope than the $3.5tn package Joe Biden initially envisioned. Even so, the president claimed a pre-emptive legislative achievement on par with those enacted by Franklin D Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson.
“Any single element of this framework would be viewed as a fundamental change in America. Taken together they’re truly consequential,” Biden said yesterday before leaving for Europe.
“If we make these investments, we will own the future,” he added.