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Pope on Environment: ‘Time to Find Global Solutions Is Running Out’

Pope on Environment: ‘Time to Find Global Solutions Is Running Out’

In a message to the UN Climate Change Conference winding down in Lima, Pope Francis said that “there is a clear, definitive and urgent ethical imperative to act” to combat climate change.

“The consequences of environmental change,” Francis said, “which are already being dramatically felt in many states, especially in the Pacific islands, remind us of the severity of neglect and inaction. The time to find global solutions is running out.”

Francis also said that the topic of the Lima conference “affects all humanity, especially the poor and future generations. Even more, it is a grave ethical and moral responsibility,” he said.

Last January, the Vatican confirmed that Pope Francis is writing an encyclical letter on ecology, expected for release sometime in early 2015.

In one of his earliest speeches, the Pope said he had chosen his name after St. Francis of Assisi who “teaches us profound respect for the whole of creation and the protection of our environment, which all too often, instead of using for the good, we exploit greedily, to one another’s detriment.”

In Thursday’s message, Francis said that a concerted effort was needed on behalf of the environment. “We can find adequate solutions only if we act together in concord,” he said.

“An effective fight against global warming will only be possible through a responsible, collective response,” Francis added, “which goes beyond particular interests and behaviors and comes about free from political and economic pressures.”

He also said that a collective response must be able to “overcome mistrust and promote a culture of solidarity, encounter and dialogue, capable of showing the responsibility to protect the planet and the human family.”

Pope Francis ended by expressing his hope that the Lima Conference will establish a constructive dialogue and “bear fruit in the service of the whole of humanity.”

Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome

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