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The Pope: “creation is under threat”

Pope Benedict XVI spoke today on environmental issues, singling out the importance of a September U.N. summit in New York to work on negotiations for an international framework to tackle global warming, preparing for the U.N. Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen in December.

The Pope said that he wishes “to encourage all the participants in the United Nations summit to enter into their discussions constructively and with generous courage,” adding it was incredibly important that “the international community and individual governments send the right signals to their citizens and succeed in countering harmful ways of treating the environment!”

The pope was not flippant about the current state of global environment. Saying that “creation is under threat,” he pointed to recent examples of the large-scale fires in Athens, Greece and water shortages in many parts of the world.

Calling humanity the “guardians of his [the Creator’s] creation”, the Pope said that a transformation in the global economy to protect the environment and share resources among the poor.

“Together we can build an integral human development beneficial for all peoples, present and future, a development inspired by the values of charity in truth. For this to happen it is essential that the current model of global development be transformed through a greater, and shared, acceptance of responsibility for creation: this is demanded not only by environmental factors, but also by the scandal of hunger and human misery,” the Pope told around 3,000 people at his summer papal residence.

He also called on nations to take greater responsibility for the resources they consume: “the economic and social costs of using up shared resources must be recognized with transparency and borne by those who incur them, and not by other peoples or future generations.” He added that nations must “use resources in such a way that every individual and community can live with dignity.”

This is not the first time Pope Benedict XVI has been outspoken about the environment and climate change. In the past he has called the the fight against climate change a “moral obligation”. Often he has linked environmental degradation with materialism, saying that “in a world closed in on its materialism, it is easier for the human being to make himself the dictator of all other creatures and of nature”. Pope Benedict XVI, the 265th Pope, was elected in 2005; he has arguably been the most vocal Pope ever on environmental issues.

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