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Pope welcomes discussion on environment, climate change April 27, 2007

Pope Benedict XVI urged respect for the environment, and noted that the primary victims of environmental degradation would be the world's poor, in a message to a Vatican conference on climate change.

The Pope's message was delivered to a meeting of 80 experts, drawn from 20 different countries, who were gathered for a 2-day discussion on global warming, sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. The Pope's message expressed the hope that the meeting could "promote lifestyles, models of production and consumption based on respect for creation and the real needs of sustainable progress."

In his opening statement at the conference, Cardinal Renato Martino, the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said that man should be steward of the environment, "not despotic and senseless" in treatment of the earth's resources. The cardinal observed that "looking after the environment is a universal duty." Cardinal Martino said that there are "clear imbalances" in the use of the world's resources, pointing to the high proportion of the world's energy usage by wealthy nations. He added that if energy consumption causes climate change-- a prospect that he appeared to accept as likely-- wealthy people will be better able to handle the results, while the poor will suffer. The cardinal called for major changes in the patterns of consumption to prevent further environmental damage

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