Pope Francis meets United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon for informal talks on environmental issues…
Pope Francis has met with United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon for informal talks, just weeks before the Vatican is due to issue a statement on environmental issues that could have a profound impact on the worldwide debate on global warming.
The two leaders had a private talk for half an hour on the sidelines of a workshop on moral questions relating to climate change and sustainable development, Vatican officials said without divulging what had been discussed.
Addressing the seminar, Mr Ban said his talks with the pontiff had been “fruitful and wide-ranging”.
He said he was looking forward to the upcoming encyclical from the church, expected in June or July this year.
An encyclical is a statement of fundamental principles issued in the form of a letter from the Pope to bishops around the world.
“Science and religion are not at odds on climate change,” Mr Ban said.
“Indeed they are fully aligned.”
Campaigners on climate change believe that an expression of concern from the church about the impact of global warming and a signal of support for steps to reduce the fossil fuel consumption needs to be made.
They believe the church could have great influence on the global debate over the scale of global warming.
Pope Francis is due to address the UN Special Summit on Sustainable Development in September.
The international community will seek to agree a universal agreement on climate change at a summit in Paris in December.
“Paris is not the end point, but must be a turning point in finding a common way forward in meeting the climate challenge,” he said.
Climate change skeptics have warned the Pope that it would be folly for the Catholic Church to integrate the UN’s view of global warming into its official teaching, arguing that the views of people like Mr Ban are not grounded in reliable science.