Catholic leaders representing the church from around the world said the international community has an ethical and moral obligation to reach a climate deal that is socially just and takes into account the poor.
"We Cardinals, Patriarchs and Bishops have come together to express, on our own behalf and on behalf of the people for whom we care, the widely-held hope that a just and legally binding climate agreement will emerge," the appeal said.
The appeal comes ahead of the November 30 to December 11 UN climate talks in Paris aiming to reach a global pact that would commit countries to reduce greenhouse gases emissions and limit a world temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.
The call puts the 1.2 billion-member Catholic Church squarely within the debate on global warming, after Pope Francis earlier this year issued an encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si, warning of the consequences of environmental destruction and climate change.
In the unprecedented call Catholic Church leaders from Asia, Africa, Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and Oceania said the global agreement "should limit global temperature increases to avoid catastrophic climatic impacts, especially on the most vulnerable communities."
The 10-point policy proposal calls for "complete decarbonization" by 2050, prioritizing "people-driven solutions rather than profits" and for negotiators to take into consideration "particularly the ethical and moral dimensions" of climate change.
The latter point is a nod to not only the burden climate change will place on the poor and vulnerable, but recognizes the industrialized countries have more responsibility for climate change as well as the technology and ability to adapt.
"Those responsible for climate change have responsibilities to assist the most vulnerable in adapting and managing loss and damage and to share the necessary technology and knowhow," the appeal said.
One of the main divides in the upcoming talks is between developed and developing countries, which argue that advanced economies should provide financial and technological support to help developing countries adapt to climate change and implement greener technologies.
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cw/jil (AFP, AP,dpa, Reuters)