Vatican official to U.N. council: No one is exempt from climate change

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March 8, 2015

Man hugs tree while celebrating World Environment Day at forest in Napal

A Nepalese man hugs a tree while celebrating World Environment Day at the forest of Gokarna, on the outskirts of Kathmandu, Nepal, in this 2014 photo. The greatest threats facing humanity are those “that arise from global inequality and the destruction of the environment,” said Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. (CNS photo/Narendra Shrestha, EPA)

GENEVA (CNS) — No one is exempt from either the impacts of climate change or the moral responsibility to act to address this global concern, a Vatican official told members of the U.N. Human Rights Council.

“Our concern for the common good of the planet, and for humanity, urges us to recognize our sense of interdependence with both nature and one another,” Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican’s permanent observer to U.N. agencies in Geneva, told the council March 6.

“While science continues to research the full implications of climate change, the virtue of prudence calls us to take the responsibility to act to reduce the potential damages, particularly for those individuals who live in poverty, for those who live in very vulnerable climate impact areas, and for future generations,” he said. He noted Pope Francis’ statement that “on climate change, there is a clear, definitive and ineluctable ethical imperative to act.”

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