Religious leaders are playing a central role in the potentially pivotal UN-organized global climate conference that gets underway today in Durban, South Africa. At stake is whether industrial nations will agree on how to curb emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants.
AFP makes note of Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s involvement in the movement to curb emissions of carbon dioxide:
One the great figures in the effort to end whites-only rule, the 80-year-old former archbishop thanked other countries that had backed the long campaign, especially those in Africa who had taken in refugees and the children of anti-apartheid fighters.
“Now we are facing another huge, huge enemy. And no one, no country can fight that enemy on his own… an enemy called global warming, climate change,” he said.
“We have only one home. This is the only home we have. And whether you are rich or poor, this is your only home… you are members of one family, the human race.”
He added: “You who are rich, you have to come to our side. And we will be waiting for you, on the other side.”
Pope Benedict XVI called upon delegates to the conference to reach an agreement on climate control that also met the needs of the world’s poor. The Associated Press reports:
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.
“I hope that all members of the international community agree on a responsible and credible response to this worrisome and complex phenomenon, taking into account the needs of the poorest and future generations,” he said during his traditional Sunday blessing from his studio overlooking St. Peter’s Square.
Benedict denounced the failure of world leaders to agree to a successor treaty to Kyoto during a 2009 U.N. climate summit in Copenhagen. He said then that world peace depends on safeguarding God’s creation.
The 12-day conference begins today.