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DiCaprio to open UN climate summit

Actor Leonardo DiCaprio will give a speech to open the United Nations climate summit next week as part of his role as a new “messenger of peace” for the U.N.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced DiCaprio’s honor at a news conference Tuesday, saying he has a “long-standing commitment to environmental causes,” including through his foundation.

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DiCaprio launched his self-named foundation in 1998 to protect habitats for sharks, penguins and tigers, while working toward a “harmonious” relationship between humanity and its environment.

The U.N. messenger of peace program appoints celebrities to be the public faces of certain causes that the organization has prioritized. George Clooney, Edward Norton and Charlize Theron are other messengers of peace.

DiCaprio’s “global stardom is the perfect match for this global challenge,” Ban said.

The actor has been in the public eye lately for his public opposition to harvesting Canada’s oil sands and his endorsement of carbon taxes.

He said he was honored to be named a messenger of peace.

“I feel a moral obligation to speak out at this key moment in human history — it is a moment for action,” DiCaprio said in a statement. “How we respond to the climate crisis in the coming years will likely determine the fate of humanity and our planet.”