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Pope Francis at his weekly general audience at the Vatican on Oct. 7. Photo: Massimo Valicchia/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

Pope Francis encouraged governments and corporations around the world to protect the planet against climate change and help the poor in a TED talk, AP reports.

Why it matters: Francis warned that the world has "roughly fewer than 30" years to reduce carbon emissions and avoid the worst of climate change. He added that the transition from carbon-based fuels should take into account low-income populations and energy sector workers.

What they're saying: “Science tells us, every day with more precision, that it is necessary to act with urgency — I am not exaggerating, science tell us this — if we want to have the hope of avoiding radical changes in the climate and catastrophes,” Francis said, according to AP.

  • “In fact, the earth must be taken care of, cultivated and protected; we cannot continue to squeeze it like an orange. And we can say this, taking care of the Earth is a human right."

The big picture: The Pope also called on investors to exclude companies that don't consider the environment, adding that many religious organization have already done so.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jan 16, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Using jobs to keep climate in spotlight

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President-elect Biden's climate team plans to draw in agencies government-wide, and will emphasize racial justice and job creation in low-carbon industries.

  • But big climate and energy bills will face high hurdles in Congress. So much of Biden's agenda will rest on executive actions that are certain to face intense legal battles.

What they're saying: "When we think about climate change, we think jobs. We think good paying union jobs," Biden said when he unveiled his energy team last month.

  • Biden cited opportunities in areas such as renewable power, electric vehicles and charging, water infrastructure and more.
  • Biden often mentions environmental justice — addressing disproportionate pollution burdens that poor people and communities of color face.

Who watch: Biden’s team is tasked with breathing life into a platform that goes beyond anything contemplated in the Obama years. But executive actions will face legal challenges, and the legislative agenda is constrained by the narrowly divided Congress.

  • Gina McCarthy, the Obama-era EPA boss, will lead a new White House domestic climate policy office. She'll have to ensure that climate stays high on the agenda of a new administration consumed with the pandemic and the economy.
  • Deb Haaland, the nominee for Interior, will be at the helm of some of the most controversial parts of Biden’s energy and climate platform — including what remains a vague plan to thwart oil and gas permitting on federal lands.
1 hour ago - World

Biden seeks to reboot U.S. sanctions policy

Sanctions increased under Obama and dramatically under Trump. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

The Biden administration is rethinking the U.S. approach to sanctions after four years of Donald Trump imposing and escalating them.

The big picture: Sanctions are among the most powerful tools the U.S. has to influence its adversaries’ behavior without using force. But they frequently fail to bring down regimes or moderate their behavior, and they can increase the suffering of civilians and resentment of the U.S.

2 hours ago - World

Merkel's farewell spoiled by Poland crisis at EU summit

One last awkward EU "family photo." Photo: John Thys/AFP via Getty Images

Angela Merkel took up her vaunted mantle as Europe's crisis manager for what could be the last time tonight, as she urged the EU to find compromise in its showdown with Poland.

Why it matters: The European Commission has threatened to withhold over $40 billion in pandemic recovery funds after Poland's constitutional tribunal — stacked with loyalists from the ruling right-wing populist party — rejected the principle that EU law has primacy over national law.

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