By David Willey
BBC News, Rome
The Pope said that to cultivate peace, one must protect creation
The Pope has criticised the failure by world leaders to agree to a new climate change treaty in Copenhagen last month.
He told nearly 100 ambassadors accredited to the Vatican that world leaders had a continuing responsibility towards preserving God's creation.
He criticised the "economic and political resistance" to fighting environmental degradation and creating a new climate treaty at Copenhagen.
Benedict XVI was speaking in his annual talk to the Vatican diplomatic corps.
December's summit in Denmark failed to create a successor to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.
The Pope said the issue was particularly critical for island nations, and also for the African continent where the battle for resources and increasing desertification has led to armed conflicts.
'Attack on creation'
"To cultivate peace, one must protect creation," he insisted.
He also called upon armed groups of whatever kind to choose the path of peace.
"Terrorism endangers countless innocent lives and generates widespread anxiety," said the 82-year-old Pope.
The German pontiff also said that laws which ignore the difference between the sexes - such as the legalisation of same-sex marriages - were an attack on creation.
Countries which have recently passed such legislation include predominantly Catholic states such as Portugal, which the Pope plans to visit later in the year, and Argentina.