Pope calls on world leaders to 'be more courageous' on climate change

MANILA (AFP) - Pope Francis on Thursday called on world leaders to show more courage in negotiations to seal a global pact on climate change at a summit in Paris this year.

"Let's hope that governments will be more courageous in Paris than they were in Lima," the Pope told reporters on his plane en route to the Philippines from Sri Lanka.

The outspoken pontiff, nicknamed the "green pope" because of his commitment to environmental concerns, lamented how "man has gone too far" in abusing nature.

Climate negotiators adopted a format for national pledges to cut Earth-warming greenhouse gases after marathon sessions at a United Nations summit in Lima, Peru, in December last year.

The bitter Lima debates overran for 32 hours as rich and poor nations sparred over sharing out responsibility for cutting greenhouse gasses.

However the Lima agreement set the stage for what is hoped to be the world's most ambitious environmental deal at the next annual UN climate talks, in Paris at the end of the year.

Due to take effect in 2020, the pact would bind all the world's nations into a single arena for curbing the greenhouse gas emissions that are blamed for global warming.

It aims to limit global warming to no more than 2 deg Cover pre-industrial levels, averting what could be potentially catastrophic damage to Earth's climate system by the turn of the century.

The Pope said he planned to issue an encyclical, or letter to all bishops around the world, on the environment in June or July, in an effort to help the Paris talks succeed.

He said he had also held discussions on the issue with leaders of other faiths and religions, but he did not expect a joint statement with them ahead of the Paris summit.

While in the Philippines, the Pope will put the spotlight on the devastating effects of climate change with a visit to areas devastated by Super Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013.

More than 7,350 people were left dead or missing as Haiyan, carrying the strongest winds ever recorded on land and generating tsunami-like storm surges, laid to waste entire towns.

On Saturday, he is scheduled to deliver a mass to tens of thousands of people in Tacloban, one of the cities worst hit by Haiyan, and have a private lunch with 30 typhoon survivors.