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Pope warns of ‘grave environmental crisis’ ahead of climate conference

Pope warns of ‘grave environmental crisis’ ahead of climate conference
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Pope FrancisPope FrancisChina dismisses pope's comments about 'persecuted' Uighurs Pope Francis supports NBA players' work to promote social justice Pope Francis in new book criticizes anti-lockdown protesters MORE is warning of the “grave environmental crisis” facing the Earth days before world leaders meet to discuss a climate change strategy. 

On the first day of his first trip to Africa as pope, Francis told a Kenyan audience on Wednesday that “we have a responsibility to pass on the beauty of nature in its integrity to future generations, and an obligation to exercise a just stewardship of the gifts we have received.”

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“In a world which continues to exploit rather than protect our common home, they must inspire the efforts of national leaders to promote responsible models of economic development,” he said. 

“The grave environmental crisis facing our world demands an ever greater sensitivity to the relationship between human beings and nature.”

Francis and the Vatican worked hard to promote action on climate change this year in the lead-up to next week’s United Nations climate conference. 

The pope released a landmark “encyclical” on environmental issues over the summer, blaming human activity for climate change. During a trip to the United States this fall, he pushed lawmakers in the U.S. and around the world to focus on combating global warming. 

“Our world demands of all government leaders a will which is effective, practical and constant, concrete steps and immediate measures for preserving and improving the natural environment and thus putting an end as quickly as possible to the phenomenon of social and economic exclusion, with its baneful consequences,” he told the U.N. during a September speech in New York. 

Francis’s Wednesday message comes days before the U.N. kicks off a climate conference in Paris on Monday. President Obama and 144 other world leaders will attend the event, which officials hope will yield an international pact on climate change. 

“In effect, there is a clear link between the protection of nature and the building of a just and equitable social order,” Francis said in Kenya.  

“There can be no renewal of our relationship with nature, without a renewal of humanity itself.”