Warming world nearing 'point of no return', says Pope Francis ahead of COP28 climate change conference

Pope Francis has appealed to world leaders to address climate change before it's too late, warning the planet is nearing a "point of no return".

In a new document - Praise God - released ahead of the COP28 climate change conference next month, the pope highlighted the transition to renewable energy from fossil fuels was not progressing fast enough.

It combines science, diplomacy, and theology to advocate a change to clean energy.

The pontiff stressed on the "irreversible" damage under way to the planet and its people, adding that the world's poor and most vulnerable were paying the highest price.

"We are now unable to halt the enormous damage we have caused. We barely have time to prevent even more tragic damage," Pope Francis said.

The 86-year-old advocated for changes to the "irresponsible lifestyle connected with the Western model" which he claimed would have a long-term impact on the globe's condition.

The text is an update to his landmark 2015 papal letter "Praise Be" - written before the start of the Paris climate conference as a prod to world leaders to act - and focusses on caring for the natural environment, people and underlining the relationship between God, humans, and Earth.

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The pontiff felt the update was necessary because responses to the emergency had "not been adequate" citing a "collapsing" world reaching "breaking point".

In the 2015 Paris Agreement, leaders vowed to limit the rise of global temperatures to below 2C above pre-industrial times while pursuing means to limit the increase to 1.5C.

The pope lamented the target, claiming it would reach 3C soon, while citing numerous natural disasters and extreme weather globally.

"Even if we do not reach this point of no return, it is certain that the consequences would be disastrous and precipitous measures would have to be taken, at enormous cost and with grave and intolerable economic and social effects," he said.

And he cited data showing that increased emissions and the corresponding rise in global temperatures have accelerated since the Industrial Revolution, and particularly in the last 50 years.

A series of pronounced heatwaves, floods and storms have enveloped the globe over the past year with thousands of deaths worldwide.

And supercomputer climate models have warned extreme global warming will likely wipe all mammals - including humans - off the face of the Earth in 250 million years, as temperatures could spiral to 70C (158F) leaving the planet barren.