VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis has ordered the Vatican to install a solar plant that will provide electricity to the entire city state, as the pontiff does his bit to tackle climate change.

Pope Francis, a longtime advocate of environmental protection, issued an official letter published on Wednesday demanding the establishment of an “agrivoltaic” plant in Santa Maria di Galeria, an extraterritorial area of Vatican land north of Rome.

Agrivoltaic projects combine solar energy production and agriculture, with panels commonly installed above fields of crops or pasture land.

“We must make a transition towards a model of sustainable development that reduces greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere, to achieve the objective of climate neutrality,” the pope wrote in the letter, dated June 21. He said the plant would produce enough energy to power not only the Vatican Radio transmission centre already located on the site, but also ensure “the complete energy sustenance of the Vatican City State”. The letter did not specify when the plant would be installed or become operational.

Pope Francis said he intended “to contribute to the efforts by all states to offer, in accordance with their respective responsibilities and capabilities, an adequate response to the challenges posed to humanity and our common home by climate change”.

Published in Dawn, June 27th, 2024

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