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Healthy environment is an international responsibility, archbishop tells UN

.- Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the apostolic nuncio leading the Holy See’s permanent observer mission to the United Nations, addressed the General Assembly on Wednesday and called for an international strategy to respond to climate change.

Archbishop Migliore said that response to climate change was a shared responsibility of every individual and nation.

The archbishop assured the UN of the Vatican’s commitment to the “Bali Roadmap” objectives set out at the recent Climate Change Conference in Bali, Indonesia. Because of the roadmap, the archbishop said that “we are better equipped to adopt strategies and policies which balance the needs of humanity with the urgency for a more responsible stewardship.”

The numerous public appeals of Pope Benedict XVI, he noted, have also helped renew respect for God’s creation and the duty to safeguard it. 

He said the Holy See has taken measures to offset the carbon emissions of Vatican City by erecting solar panels and sponsoring a reforestation project in Hungary.  The reforestation project, the archbishop said, will restore degraded land and provide environmental benefits and local jobs to Hungary.

Archbishop Migliore praised individuals and communities that have begun to change their lives to benefit the environment.  “While such lifestyle changes at times may seem irrelevant, every small initiative to reduce or offset one’s carbon footprint, be it the avoidance of the unnecessary use of transport or the daily effort to reduce energy consumption, contributes to mitigating environmental decay and concretely shows commitment to environmental care.”

“Clean technologies,” the archbishop said, would help industrializing countries avoid past mistakes.  He urged industrialized countries to share with developing nations the advanced “cleaner” technologies.  Further, he said, financial markets and consumers ought to be encouraged to patronize “green economics” and reject goods and services whose production causes environmental damage.

Responses to climate change, Migliore said, required individual, local, national, and international action and coordination.

The “Bali Roadmap,” the archbishop asserted, “presents a common vision, capable of overcoming self–interest through collective action. It demands a global alliance for the adoption of a coordinated international political strategy towards a healthy environment for all.”

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