Action Press/REX

Pope recruits Naomi Klein for climate conference

Sun 28 Jun 2015
By Aaron James

Pope Francis has enlisted the international best-selling Canadian author and environmental activist Naomi Klein for the Vatican's latest conference on climate change.

Naomi Klein will lead the Holy See's meeting, called 'People and Planet First: the Imperative to Change Course' on July 2nd, alongside the Ghanaian President of the Pontifical Council for Peace and Justice, Cardinal Peter Turkson.

Mrs Klein has criticised capitalism and called for a different financial system on several occasions, claiming the system causes severe inequality and environmental damage. She has appeared on several lists of the world's top thinkers, and has sold millions of books on capitalism and the environment.

Leading Catholics, scientists and policy-makers will be attending The People and Planet First conference at the Vatican. It will address Pope Francis' recent encyclical about the environment, as well as various upcoming United Nations meetings in France, Ethiopia and the US in 2015 regarding initiatives about climate change and sustainable development.

Given the presence of Naomi Klein at People and Planet, and the fact Pope Francis has already delivered an extensive message on climate change with his encyclical, it is possible the meeting will be much more policy-focussed, calling for very specific and detailed changes.

Christians and other activists have been marching through Rome today over climate change, before the main conference takes place this Thursday.

Naomi Klein told The Observer: "The fact that they invited me indicates they're not backing down from the fight. A lot of people have patted the pope on the head, but said he's wrong on the economics. I think he's right on the economics.

"There are a lot of people who are having a lot of trouble in realising there is a voice with such global authority from the global south. That's why we're getting this condescending view, of 'leave the economics to us'.

"We're seeing the power base within the Vatican shift, with a Ghanaian cardinal [Turkson] and an Argentine pope. They're doing something very brave.

"There's a way in which UN discourse sanitises the extent to which this is a moral crisis. It cries out for a moral voice."

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