Pope Benedict said world leaders should address global environmental issues "with generous courage", that Man is called to responsible governance of creation and the current model of global development needs transformation.
"The different phenomena of environmental degradation and natural catastrophes, which unfortunately occur all too often, remind us of the urgency of dutiful respect toward nature, recovering and valuing a correct relationship with the environment each day," he was quoted as saying by the Catholic News Agency.
He said creation was entrusted to man, "to interpret it and actively remodel it without considering himself the absolute patron of it. Man is called, above all, to exercise responsible governance of it, cultivating it and finding necessary resources for a dignified existence of all."
The pope addressed his remarks on Wednesday to representatives of governments and international agencies who will attend a high level United Nations summit on climate change in September, the Catholic News Service reported.
Recent forest fires near Athens and water shortages elsewhere were signs that "creation is under threat", and it was everyone's collective responsibility to protect it, Benedict was cited saying.
Government leaders have an obligation to work together for the "the safeguarding of resources and of the climate," in respect of the law and in solidarity with weaker nations.
Natural resources must be shared and the socio economic costs of consuming them "must be recognised with transparency and borne by those who incur them, and not by other peoples or future generations," the Catholic News Service report further added.
"It is essential that the current model of global development be transformed through a greater and shared acceptance of the responsibility for creation," made necessary not only because of environmental issues "but also by the scandal of hunger and human misery," he said.
Pope Benedict offered his support to the participants of the September 22 summit in New York, which has been called for by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in preparation for the wider meeting in Copenhagen in December, and encouraged them to "enter their discussions constructively and with generous courage."
Pope says global leaders must take care of environment, remember poor (Catholic News Service)
Human progress depends on care for the environment, Pope says (Catholic News Agency)
Full text of Pope Benedict XVI's address
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change