Pope calls for concrete action on climate

Pope Benedict XVI has called on the UN Climate Change Conference to come up with concrete action to combat global warming.

On the eve of the conference in Copenhagen, the Pope appealed to all people of goodwill to “respect the laws that God has placed in nature.”

The integrity of creation “demands the adoption of sober and responsible lifestyles,” above all out of concern and respect “for the poor and for future generations,” he said.

Addressing thousands of pilgrims in St Peter’s Square yesterday. the Pope expressed hope that the conference’s deliberations “would help identify actions that are respectful of creation and that will promote a jointly responsible development, based on the dignity of the human person and directed to the common good.”

The UN conference runs from today to 17 December. It brings together more than 100 heads of state and other top-level representatives of most of the 192 member-states of the UN, including the Asian superpowers China and India.

The Holy See, which has official observer status at the UN and full diplomatic relations with 176 countries, is participating at the conference with a five-person delegation, including experts in the field.

The delegation is led by Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Holy See's permanent observer to the United Nations, in New York, who will address the conference.

Caritas Internationalis, the umbrella organization for more than 150 official Catholic charity and development organizations worldwide, is also participating in the climate summit as an NGO. It is bringing delegates, bishops among them, from 25 countries including Bangladesh, Cambodia, India and Indonesia. They will lobby governments to reach a “fair and effective binding agreement” on what needs to be done.

Together with Catholic International Cooperation for Development and Solidarity (CICDSE), Caritas is encouraging governments to seize a "once-in-a-generation chance to save the human family from a future of climate chaos."

Pope Benedict’s words added moral weight to appeals that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and scientists have made to the world’s political leaders, urging them to agree on the action needed to fight global warming.

A main goal of the UN conference is to agree on ways to keep the average rise in global temperatures to less than 2 degrees Celsius above their pre-industrial levels.

Some scientists warn that a temperature rise greater than this would likely have a devastating impact on the planet, especially on the world's poorer nations.

They are urging world governments to stick to the proposal of a 40 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2020 amid fears that the United States and China -- the world’s biggest polluters -- will broker for a reduction of only 20 percent.

Source: UCAN/VIS

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