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Pope implicitly criticises U.S. for leaving Paris climate accord

by Reuters
Monday, 16 October 2017 10:41 GMT

Pope Francis walks past a bed of daffodils as he arrives to lead his weekly general audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican March 30, 2016. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

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"We see consequences of climate change every day"

By Philip Pullella

ROME, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Pope Francis implicitly criticised the United States on Monday for pulling out of the Paris agreement on climate change, praising it as a means to control the devastating effects of global warming.

The United States is the only country out of 195 signatories to have withdrawn from the accord, which aims to cut emissions blamed for the rise in temperatures.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced the decision in June shortly after visiting the pope, a strong supporter of the deal. At the time a Vatican official said the move was a "slap in the face" for the pope and the Vatican.

"We see consequences of climate change every day," the pope said in an address to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) at its headquarters in Rome.

"Thanks to scientific knowledge, we know how we have to confront the problem and the international community has also worked out the legal methods, such as the Paris Accord, which sadly, some have abandoned," he said.

Under the deal, United States had committed to reducing its own emissions by 26 to 28 percent, compared with 2005 levels, by 2025. Many world leaders have criticised Trump for deciding to pull out.

In his Spanish-language address to the U.N. agency, Francis denounced "negligence toward the delicate equilibriums of the ecosystems, the presumption of manipulating and controlling the limited resources of the planet, and the greed for profit."

Agriculture ministers and diplomats from the Group of Seven (G7) world power nations attended the gathering, which marked FAO's World Food Day.

"We can't be satisfied by saying 'someone else will do it,'" the pope said.

Ending local conflicts and curbing the effects of climate change were two of the "prerequisites" for dealing with world food security, Francis also said.

"The yoke of poverty caused by the often tragic movement of migrants can be removed by prevention, consisting of development projects that create jobs and offer the capacity to respond to climactic and environmental changes," he said.

(Reporting By Philip Pullella; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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