Pope demands climate change action
By PRESS ASSOCIATION
PUBLISHED: 09:30 EST, 18 June 2015 | UPDATED: 09:30 EST, 18 June 2015
The pope has issued a stark warning over the urgent need to tackle "extraordinary climate change and an unprecedented destruction of ecosystems" in an eagerly-awaited message on the environment.
In the first papal encyclical Pope Francis has written, he said climate change was mostly down to human activity and policies were urgently needed to cut carbon emissions, such as by reducing fossil fuels and developing renewables.
People in wealthy countries need to change their unsustainable lifestyles, as exploitation of the planet has already exceeded acceptable limits and millions of tonnes of waste are being generated, making the Earth look more and more "like an immense pile of filth".
Pope Francis said his encyclical was 'addressed to everyone', not just the world's 1.2 billion Catholics
In a hard-hitting message on environmental degradation and poverty, the pontiff warned that "doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or disdain", and that resource shortages could lead to new wars.
Setting out the moral case for action on the environment, the pope said climate change represented "one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day", and warned its worst impact would be felt in poorer countries.
"We are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental," he warned.
The papal encyclical, a letter sent to 5,000 Catholic bishops worldwide, is published in five languages and the pontiff has said the document is "addressed to everyone", not just the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.
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