Big city leaders gather at Vatican to address climate change, human trafficking

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Dozens of mayors from some of the world’s largest cities gathered at the Vatican on Tuesday, urging their national leaders to take bold action to combat climate change.

Some of the 60 mayors invited to the two-day Vatican conference lined up to sign a final declaration stating that “human-induced climate change is a scientific reality and its effective control is a moral imperative for humanity.”

The assembled leaders sought to keep pressure on world leaders in advance of climate negotiations scheduled for this December in Paris, and as new data revealed the first half of 2015 to be the hottest six months on record.

Pope Francis told the gathering “You are the conscience of humanity,” saying that he had “a lot of hope” that negotiators in Paris would reach an agreement. Francis last month released an environmental encyclical that denounced what he deemed a fossil fuel-based economy degrading the Earth.

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