Saint-Denis (France) (AFP) - Hundreds of people from around the world gathered in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, on Saturday to give a "climate justice" petition signed by over a million to the UN climate chief ahead of the COP21 conference.
The so-called climate pilgrims included Catholics, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus and Protestants -- representing the world's major religions and their call for action to save the Earth from the devastating effects of climate change.
The petition signed by 1,780,528 citizens worldwide was given to Christiana Figueres, in charge of climate issues at the United Nations, along with Nicolas Hulot, French President Francois Hollande's special envoy for the planet.
"In their name, we call for a drastic reduction of carbon emissions and for the rich countries to help the poorer ones facing climatic changes," said Brazilian cardinal Claudio Hummes.
"The time has come. Let us pray and act for climate justice," he said to huge applause from the crowd.
An emotional Figueres thanked the climate pilgrims, saying that "despite differences, we can all unite as human beings to respond together to this challenge", which world leaders will address at the COP21 conference that opens Monday near Paris.
The goal is to limit average global warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), perhaps less, over pre-Industrial Revolution levels by curbing fossil fuel emissions blamed for climate change.