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Pope calls for end to global warming at United Nations Environment Programme forum

ENVIRONMENT
By Roselyne Obala | November 27th 2015
Pope Francis speaks when he met religious leaders at St Mary’s School Nairobi. [PHOTO: FIDELIS KABUNYI/Standard]

Pope Francis in a soft but firm message yesterday urged global leaders to seal a strong agreement at the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) climate summit in Paris, France next week to address "the grave environmental crisis facing our world".

The Pontiff said that transforming current development models was a "political and economic obligation", that required nations to consult.

The Pope delivered his speech at the UN Environment Programme headquarters in Nairobi, where he was accompanied by United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) Executive Director Achim Steiner, UN Office at Nairobi (UNON) Director General Sahle-Work Zewde, members of the diplomatic community and legislators. He reiterated the importance of minimising effects of global warming.

He in particular put more emphasis on the need to adopt low-carbon energy systems and end the "throw-away culture" that contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.

natural resources

He stressed that the environment and natural resources were gifts from God and there was an obligation to protect them for future generations.

"In a few days, an important meeting on climate change will be held in Paris. It would be sad, and I dare say even catastrophic, were particular interests to prevail over the common good," Pope Francis warned ahead of the climate Summit.

In a persuading but affirmative tone, the Pontiff added: " The meeting represents an important stage in the process of developing a new energy system. We are faced with a great political and economic obligation to rethink and correct the dysfunctions and distortions of the current model of development."

He urged global leaders to step up efforts to protect the environment "in a world that continues to exploit, rather than protect, our common home".

His speech comes weeks after a report released by the World Bank showed that the impact of global warming is borne unevenly, with the world's poor woefully unprepared to deal with climate shocks such as rising seas or severe droughts.

The Pope frequently highlights the damage that climate change is causing the world's poor.

Just this month, a World Bank report said that climate change could push more than 100 million people into extreme poverty by 2030 by disrupting agriculture and fuelling the spread of malaria and other diseases.

Pope Francis finally arrived at the United Nations global Environment headquarter in Gigiri to re-affirm his stand on the need to protect the environment and to raise alarm over the impact of exploitation of natural resource.

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