ROME — Vatican Cardinal Michael Czerny condemned the “reckless” launch of new fossil fuel projects as Europe gears up for a massive fuel shortage this winter.

“The global situation is more desperate than it was seven years ago,” the Jesuit cardinal (pictured) said Tuesday. “Despite the Paris Agreement, the goal of a temperature increase of only 1.5°C is virtually unattainable; the planet is already 1.2°C warmer.”

“Yet many new fossil fuel projects are being recklessly launched, contradicting the International Energy Agency’s call,” Czerny lamented.

The prelate’s reprimand may strike many as callous and tone deaf as the northern hemisphere prepares for a brutal winter amidst threats of gas and oil shortages and rising heating prices, which will disproportionately harm the poor.

As The Times reported Wednesday, oil prices rose above $90 a barrel Tuesday as the head of the Saudi state oil company warned of a shortage of spare capacity in the market.

According to a letter published by the UK energy generation regulator Ofgem, England, Scotland, and Wales face a “significant risk” of natural gas shortages leading to a “gas supply emergency” this winter.

“Due to the war in Ukraine and gas shortages in Europe, there is a significant risk that gas shortages could occur during the winter 2022/23 in Great Britain,” the letter states.

The shortages may force gas-powered power plants to go offline in the UK this winter, the latest such warning of major shortages across Europe.

German Federal Economy Minister Robert Habeck told German media last Friday that there is a real possibility that Germany may run out of gas this winter.

Citing the looming energy crisis, Habeck appealed to Germans to reduce their consumption of natural gas ahead of winter.

Germany is facing an “extremely tense situation” ahead of the winter, Habeck said. “If we don’t save, if households don’t reduce consumption, we still risk not having enough gas in the winter.”

Meanwhile, as Italian Catholic parishes tighten their belts in the faces of skyrocketing fuel prices, the Vatican has come under fire for wasting thousands of dollars projecting ten minutes of video on the façade of Saint Peter’s Basilica.

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