Roman Catholic leaders from around the world on Monday made a joint appeal to a forthcoming United Nations conference on climate change to produce a "fair, legally binding and truly transformational" agreement.
The Catholic cardinals, patriarchs and bishops from across the globe signed the appeal in the Vatican, saying climate change had to be linked "to social injustice and the social exclusion of the poorest and most vulnerable of our citizens".
Their 10-point document was based on Pope Francis's major encyclical last June, called "Laudato Si", which demanded urgent action to save the planet from environmental ruin.
"Whether believers or not, we are agreed today that the earth is essentially a shared inheritance, whose fruits are meant to benefit everyone," said the appeal to the conference, which meets in Paris from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.
"For believers, this becomes a question of fidelity to the Creator, since God created the world for everyone. Hence every ecological approach needs to incorporate a social perspective which takes into account the fundamental rights of the poor and the underprivileged," it said.
Disputes over financing for poor nations have hampered negotiations among almost 200 countries, which are racing against the clock to seal an accord on combating global warming at the Paris summit.
(Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Crispian Balmer)