Ahead of this month’s G8 summit, the presidents of all the Catholic bishops conferences of the G8 nations urged summit leaders to deepen your commitments and actions to reduce global poverty and address global climate change.

The bishops wrote:Our religious and moral commitment to protect human life and promote human dignity moves us to be particularly concerned for the poorest and most vulnerable members of the human family, especially those in developing countries.

The bishops remind Summit leaders of Pope Benedict’s April address to the United Nations in which he called on all nations to work together in good faith to protect the environment, reduce global inequalities and promote solidarity with the weakest regions on the planet which are at risk of experiencing only the negative effects of globalization. The bishops support concrete efforts to increase development assistance, to promote just trade policies, and to address the impact of the world food crisis and HIV-AIDS and other deadly diseases.

The bishops note that the poor have contributed least to the factors that aggravate global climate change, but they will be disproportionately affected by its harmful effects, including potential conflicts, escalating energy costs, and health problems. They urged Summit leaders to recognize that the costs of initiatives to prevent and adapt to the harmful consequences of climate change should be borne more by richer persons and nations who have benefited most from the emissions that have fueled development and should not unduly burden the poor.

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