Pope Francis: Climate change has 'grave social consequences' if not addressed

Pope Francis gestures during his Wednesday general audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, on Sept. 9, 2015.Reuters

After releasing a powerful encyclical about the environment, Pope Francis has once again warned the public that climate change has serious "consequences," especially for the poor.

In an address during a meeting organised by the Foundation for Sustainable Development, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church reminded key personalities from the fields of science, religion, politics, and economics that finding solutions to global warming is a matter of social justice, since "peoples, communities, men and women, are at risk."

"We must not forget the grave social consequences of climate change. It is the poorest who suffer the worst consequences," Pope Francis said on Friday.

The Pope further pointed out that addressing global warming "is also a question of solidarity, which must never be separated from justice."

Last June, Pope Francis issued his second encyclical entitled "Laudato Si," meaning "Praise Be to You." In the document, the Pope lamented global consumerism, which he blamed for environmental degradation, and challenged nations to a unified action to address climate change.

In the same speech, the Pope pointed out how modern science and technology have given "unprecedented power" to humanity.

He said this power should be used to help the poorest of the poor and ensure that future generations will inherit a liveable planet.

"Will our generation be remembered for having generously shouldered its grave responsibilities? Amid the many contradictions of our time, we have good enough reason to nurture the hope of being able to do so. And we should let ourselves be guided by this hope," the Pope said.

He also urged all individuals to do their share in protecting the environment.

Pope Francis likewise encouraged experts and public figures around the world to use upcoming events on the environment and climate change as opportunities to really unite behind a common goal.

"I wish to propose that this dialogue become an authentic alliance leading to truly significant and effective global environmental agreements," he said.

The Pope is also expected to tackle the issue of global warming and climate change during his visit to the United States later this month.