The world is facing “a challenge of civilisation” in the global attempt to mitigate climate change, Pope Francis said in a Wednesday message to the UN climate summit in Madrid.

The Argentine pontiff, a vocal climate campaigner, said: “We are facing a ‘challenge of civilisation’ in favour of the common good and of a change of perspective.

“There remains a window of opportunity, but we must not allow it to close.

“We need to take advantage of this occasion through our responsible actions in the economic, technological, social and educational fields, knowing very well how our actions are interdependent.”

Hinting at the Fridays for Future movement, the pope noted how “Young people today show a heightened sensitivity to the complex problems that arise from this (climate) ’emergency’.

“We must not place the burden on the next generations to take on the problems caused by the previous ones.

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“Instead, we should give them the opportunity to remember our generation as the one that renewed and acted on – with honest, responsible and courageous awareness – the fundamental need to collaborate in order to preserve and cultivate our common home,” Francis concluded. (dpa/NAN)