Who do you think will emerge as the greatest climate hero of 2010? Al Gore? Robert Kennedy? Van Jones?  Guess again... it's the Pope.

Though he has condemned those hippy nature-worshipping Avatar fans, Pope Benedict XVI has been quietly advocating for a healthier, greener lifestyle. Until now, his recommendations have been far from political but in a statement he made this week at an annual address to Vatican officials, the Pope is unleashing some shock and awe of the Catholic variety.

The Pope admonished world leaders for their failure to reach an agreement in Copenhagen. He also stated that the "self-centered and materialistic" motives which caused the economic meltdown could result in an environmental meltdown:

Was it not easy to see the great harm which an economic system lacking any reference to the truth about man had done not only to the dignity and freedom of individuals and peoples, but to nature itself, by polluting soil, water and air?
With the climate denial machine continuing in full swing and a climate advocacy movement left in tatters in the wake of Copenhagen, the Pope has brought a ray of light to what looks like a dark and gloomy climate battle ahead. When you shepherd a flock of close to a quarter of the world's population, your pronouncements will be heard far and wide, echoing from the halls of St. Petersburg to Capitol Hill.

One hopes Pope Benedict does in fact have God's ear. He expressed optimism that an effective agreement could be reached "in the course of this year." And to that I say, "Hallelujah!"

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