WASHINGTON, June 18, 2015—The World Bank Group today issued the following statement from World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim on Pope Francis’ Encyclical:
“Today’s release of Pope Francis’ first encyclical should serve as a stark reminder to all of us of the intrinsic link between climate change and poverty.
We know the scientific, business and economic case for action to combat climate change and I welcome the Pope’s emphasis on our moral obligation to act.
The impacts of climate change, including the increased frequency of extreme weather events, are most devastating for the unacceptably high number of people today living in extreme poverty. Over the past 30 years, disasters took the lives of more than 2.5 million people and resulted in almost US$4 trillion in damages.
As the effects of climate change worsen, we know that escaping poverty will become even more difficult. Climate change also poses a direct risk to the hard-earned development gains over past decades.
We know solutions exist to get to the goal of zero emissions by the end of the century. We also know those solutions can help the world’s most vulnerable people and that we are the first generation in human history that can end extreme poverty.
The Pope’s encyclical comes at a pivotal moment in the lead up to December’s Paris meeting on climate change. We must now seize this narrow window of opportunity and embark on ambitious actions and policies to help protect people and the environment. This is an urgent, moral, and ethical task for all of us.”