UN chief welcomes pope's climate message

2015-06-18 22:05
Pope Francis at the Church of All Nations in  Jerusalem.(Jack Guez, Pool)

Pope Francis at the Church of All Nations in Jerusalem.(Jack Guez, Pool)

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New York - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday welcomed a warning by Pope Francis on climate change and called on governments to put "the global common good above national interests."

"Pope Francis and I agree that climate change is a moral issue that requires collective urgent actions," Ban told the press. "It is an issue of social justice, human rights and fundamental ethics."

Earlier in the day, Pope Francis urged the world to act quickly to prevent "extraordinary" climate change from destroying the planet. He said rich countries must bear responsibility for creating the problem, and finance a solution.

Ban echoed the pope, stating that "people everywhere share a responsibility to care for and protect our common home, our one and only planet Earth."

"We must do far more to help the poorest and most vulnerable members of society, who are suffering most from climate impacts yet had least to do with causing the problem," he said.

In a near 200-page document, the pope, leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics, blamed human greed and consumerism but also business and political figures for degrading the environment.

In the long-anticipated Encyclical, the pope said doomsday predictions can no longer be dismissed, and he argued that environmental damage is intimately linked to inequality.

"I urge all governments to place the global common good above national interests and to adopt an ambitious, universal climate agreement in Paris this year," Ban said.

Environmentalists hope the pope's message will increase pressure for binding restrictions on carbon emissions to be agreed at global talks in Paris at the end of this year.

"I thank, deeply, Pope Francis for taking such a strong stand on the need for urgent global action," Ban said.

Read more on:    un  |  ban ki-moon  |  pope francis  |  vatican city  |  climate change

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