Pope Francis's papal encyclical welcomed by UN

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UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner with Pope Francis. Photo: UNEP

The papal encyclical of Pope Francis, the leader of the Catholic Church, has been welcomed by the United Nations.

The letter, which highlights his objectives, says that climate change is one of the principal challenges facing humanity.

Since his election in March 2013, the Pope has been recognized by the international community as an advocate for environmental issues.

Stephanie Coutrix reports.

Pope Francis on Thursday called on the world's 1.2 billion Catholics to join the fight against climate change.

He said it is a moral issue requiring respectful dialogue with all parts of society.

The letter comes ahead of the next UN climate change conference in Paris, in December.

Governments will be discussing how to keep the average global temperature from rising beyond 2C degrees.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon welcomed the encyclical's message that there is "a very solid scientific consensus" showing significant warming of the climate system, mainly as a result of human activity.

Meanwhile, the head of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) applauded what he called "Pope Francis’ unambiguous call to action" in the face of global environmental degradation and climate change.

Achim Steiner said the encyclical resonates not only with Catholics, but with all of the Earth’s peoples.

He added that science and religion are aligned on this matter, and the time to act is now.

Stephanie Coutrix, United Nations.

Duration: 1’06″

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