The Pope and Bill Clinton haven’t called for ‘urgent depopulation’

28 September 2023
What was claimed

The Pope and Bill Clinton have called for “urgent depopulation” to save the planet.

Our verdict

The Pope and Bill Clinton discussed climate change at an event at the Clinton Global Initiative but did not mention depopulation.

An article being shared on Twitter (now known as X) and Instagram claims that former US president, Bill Clinton, and the Pope have called “for ‘Urgent Depopulation’ to Save the Planet”.

But they haven’t. Although Pope Francis spoke with Bill Clinton at an event in New York with his Clinton Global Initiative on 18 September, a full transcript of their conversation shows that neither mentioned depopulation.

Pope Francis spoke about climate change and humanitarian crises, saying: “Please on climate change, let us take action before it’s too late.”

The article in the People’s Voice, which had not responded to Full Fact’s request for comment at the time of writing, includes some genuine quotes from the conversation, but did not include any evidence the pair had advocated “urgent depopulation”.

We could find no evidence that either have advocated depopulation in other comments. Indeed, earlier this year, the Pope spoke at a conference organised by the Italian Forum of Family Associations to discuss combating the country’s decreasing birth rate. 

During a discussion with Italy’s Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, Pope Francis reportedly said: “We cannot passively accept that so many young people struggle to realise their family dream and are forced to lower the bar of desire, settling for mediocre substitutes: making money, aiming for a career, travelling, jealously guarding leisure time”.

Earlier this year, the People’s Voice website also falsely claimed that the Pope said disabled people should be “euthanized to ‘fight climate change’”.

Image courtesy of Ashwin Vaswani

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