(Reuters) – The Vatican and the United Nations teamed up to warn the world of the effects of climate change on Tuesday, coming down firmly against sceptics who deny human activities help change global weather patterns.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon discussed climate change with the pope before opening a one-day conference of scientists and religious leaders called “The Moral Dimensions of Climate Change and Sustainable Development”.
The pope, who is due to make a major address on sustainable development at the United Nations in September, has said he believes man is primarily responsible for climate change and is writing an encyclical on the environment.
Ban, opening the conference of some 60 scientists, religious leaders and diplomats hosted by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, urged industrialised countries to invest in clean energy and reduce their carbon footprints.
“Mitigating climate change and adapting to its effects are necessary to eradicate extreme poverty, reduce inequality and secure equitable, sustainable economic development,” he said.
The gathering’s joint declaration said “human-induced climate change is a scientific reality, and its decisive control is a moral imperative for all of humanity”.
Ban said he and the pope discussed Francis’ keenly awaited encyclical, which will be addressed to all of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholic and is expected to address the issue of man’s responsibility for climate change.
The pope has said he hopes the document will influence the U.N. conference on climate change in Paris this year.