The pope said that the construction of the post-pandemic world must begin with “the recognition of past mistakes.”

“Something similar could be said of our efforts to tackle the global problem of climate change,” he commented. “There is no alternative. We can achieve the goals set by the Paris Agreement only if we act in a coordinated and responsible way. Those goals are ambitious, and they can no longer be deferred. Today it is up to you to take the necessary decisions.”

“COP26 can and must offer an effective contribution to the conscientious construction of a future in which daily actions and economic and financial investments can genuinely protect the conditions that ensure a dignified and humane life for the men and women of today and tomorrow, on a ‘healthy’ planet.”

The pope said that the world was facing an “epochal change” in which richer countries had a duty to lead in climate finance, decarbonization, the promotion of a “circular economy,” and helping vulnerable countries mitigate the impact of climate change.

He noted that the Vatican City State was committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

He also recalled that he and other religious leaders signed a joint message at the Vatican on Oct. 4 appealing for countries to “achieve net-zero carbon emissions as soon as possible.”

The pope said: “The wounds inflicted on our human family by the COVID-19 pandemic and the phenomenon of climate change are comparable to those resulting from a global conflict.”

“Today, as in the aftermath of the Second World War, the international community as a whole needs to set as a priority the implementation of collegial, solidary and farsighted actions.”

He went on: “We need both hope and courage. Humanity possesses the wherewithal to effect this change, which calls for a genuine conversion, individual as well as communitarian, and a decisive will to set out on this path.”

“It will entail the transition towards a more integral and integrating model of development, based on solidarity and on responsibility. A transition that must also take into serious consideration the effects it will have on the world of labor.”