Pope Urges World Leaders to Offer 'Concrete Hope' on Climate Crisis Ahead of Biden Visit

Pope Francis called on world leaders to "offer concrete hope to future generations" on climate change ahead of his meeting with President Joe Biden on Friday.

The pontiff delivered the message on BBC Radio 4's "Thought for the Day" on Friday and urged politicians who are set to gather in Glasgow for COP26 to pursue "radical solutions" to current crises.

Biden will meet with the pope in Rome ahead of a G20 summit in the city before traveling to the U.K. for the climate conference. The trip comes after congressional Democrats postponed a vote on the president's spending plans, which include climate change measures.

Speaking from the Vatican in Italian and with an English voiceover, Pope Francis 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 organize 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," he said.

The 84-year-old pontiff said that the crises require "vision, the ability to formulate plans and put them rapidly into action, to rethink the future of the world, our common home, and to reassess our common purpose."

"These crises present us with the need to take decisions, radical decisions that are not always easy. At the same time, moments of difficulty like these also present opportunities, opportunities that we must not waste," he said.

"We can confront these crises by retreating into isolationism, protectionism and exploitation," Pope Francis said. "Or we can see in them a real chance for change, a genuine moment of conversion, and not simply in a spiritual sense."

"This last approach alone can guide us towards a brighter horizon," he went on.

"Yet it can only be pursued through a renewed sense of shared responsibility for our world, and an effective solidarity based on justice, a sense of our common destiny and a recognition of the unity of our human family in God's plan for the world," the pope said.

Follow Newsweek's liveblog for all the latest news on President Biden's meeting with Pope Francis.

The pope also said: "The political decision makers who will meet at COP26 in Glasgow are urgently summoned to provide effective responses to the present ecological crisis and in this way to offer concrete hope to future generations."

"And it is worth repeating that each of us – whoever and wherever we may be – can play our own part in changing our collective response to the unprecedented threat of climate change and the degradation of our common home," Pope Francis concluded.

Biden and Pope Francis are expected to discuss climate change during their meeting, but the trip also comes as abortion rights in the U.S. are a renewed focus of debate. The president is facing pressure from abortion rights advocates and also from conservative Roman Catholics who disagree with his views on abortion.

Journalists in the Vatican press corps have also complained about the Vatican's last-minute decision to cancel live coverage of the pope greeting Biden. The White House Correspondents' Association expressed solidarity with the journalists.

Pope Francis Leads Mass at St. Peter's
Pope Francis leads a mass for the Synod of Bishops opening at St Peter’s Basilica on October 10, 2021, in Vatican City. The pope has called for "radical action" to tackle climate change. Vatican Pool/Getty Images