Pope Francis said in his Earth Day message on Thursday that the planet was "at the brink" and humanity had to avoid "the path of self destruction."
"Now is the time to act. We are at the brink," Francis, who has backed the scientific consensus that global warming is partly man-made, said in the Earth Day message.
He cited the Covid-19 pandemic coupled with the effects of climate change and said nature could not continue to be disrespected, because it would "no longer forgive."
"When the destruction of nature is sparked, it is difficult to stop. But we are still in time and we will be more resilient if we work together instead of alone. You do not exit from the crisis the same, we will either exit better or worse. That is the challenge, and if we don’t exit better, we will take the path of self-destruction," Reuters cited him as saying.
He said now was the time for innovation and invention and urged political leaders to act with courage and justice.
In the message to the event hosted by Biden, at which the United States and other countries hiked their targets for slashing greenhouse gas emissions, Francis said people had "to care for nature so that it cares for us".