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Pope’s No. 2 offers new insights into climate encyclical

Pope Francis arrives for his weekly audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, May 20, 2015. (L'Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — A new development model is needed to combat global warming, one that marries economic growth to combat poverty with a sustainable use of resources, Pope Francis’ deputy said Wednesday.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican secretary of state, said both political and economic commitment will be required to ensure the Earth’s health for future generations.

Parolin’s remarks came in a message Wednesday to a conference of business and church leaders on how sustainable actions can drive the economic growth needed to lift people out of poverty. It’s a theme that Francis is expected to explore in his environment encyclical, which is due in the coming weeks.

“When the future of the planet is at stake, there are no political frontiers, barriers or walls behind which we can hide to protect ourselves from the effects of environmental and social degradation,” Parolin’s message said. “There is no room for the globalization of indifference, the economy of exclusion or the throwaway culture so often denounced by Pope Francis.”

Parolin’s intervention was a clear indication that Francis endorses economic development proposals which help the poor but use new, clean-energy, low carbon and efficient technologies.

The conference was organized by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, which aims to drive economic prosperity while addressing climate change. Former Mexican President Felipe Calderon, who chairs the commission, said global action to stop climate change had long been stymied by fears that economic growth and jobs would be sacrificed. The commission’s studies, he said, had found the opposite.

“We can foster economic growth and mitigate climate risk at the same time,” he said. “In fact, this is the only way to achieve long-term, sustained economic growth, and through it to alleviate poverty for the millions of souls that need, demand and deserve it.”

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