Pope Benedict XVI called Sunday for delegates attending this week’s U.N. climate change conference in South Africa to craft a responsible and credible deal to cut greenhouse gases that takes into account the needs of the poor.
Some 25,000 government officials, lobbyists and scientists are expected to attend the two-week conference that opens Monday in Durban. The immediate focus is the pending expiration of the Kyoto Protocol, the 1997 agreement requiring 37 industrialized countries to slash carbon emissions to 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2012.
Western governments are expected to try to get China and other growing economies to accept legally binding curbs on greenhouse gases, as well. Poor countries want the signatories to accept further reductions in a second commitment period up to at least 2017.
Benedict, who has been dubbed the “green pope” for his environmental concerns, launched an appeal Sunday to government representatives attending the Durban conference to craft a responsible revised Kyoto deal. [more]