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FILE PHOTO - Pope Francis leads his Wednesday general audience in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican June 21, 2017. REUTERS/Tony Gentile

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VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis and Orthodox Christian leader Patriarch Bartholomew called on Friday for a collective response from world leaders to climate change, saying the planet was deteriorating and vulnerable people were the first to be affected.

The appeal comes three months after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from a global agreement, struck in Paris, to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

"We urgently appeal to those in positions of social and economic, as well as political and cultural, responsibility to hear the cry of the earth and to attend to the needs of the marginalized," Francis and Bartholomew said in a joint statement.

"Above all", the leaders of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics and up to 300 million Orthodox Christians asked for a response "to the plea of millions and support (for) the consensus of the world for the healing of our wounded creation."

The joint message was not addressed to any specific world leaders. Many were dismayed when the U.S. backed out of the Paris accord, a decision a senior Vatican official later called "a disaster".

(Reporting by Isla Binnie; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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