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Pope goes green with electric car


Pope Benedict XVI is presented with an electric car in Castel Gandolfo, in the outskirts of Rome, Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012. The 85-year-old pontiff was presented with his first electric car on Wednesday, a customized white Renault Kangoo for jaunts around the gardens of the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo. Benedict has been dubbed the “green pope” for his environmental concerns, which have been a hallmark of his papacy. Earlier this year, Italian automaker NWG donated one to the pope, but for the Vatican press office to use. Renault also has given a blue version of the white Kangoo to the Vatican gendarmes. (AP Photo/L’Osservatore Romano) Pope Benedict XVI is presented with an electric car in Castel Gandolfo, in the outskirts of Rome, Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012. The 85-year-old pontiff was presented with his first electric car on Wednesday, a customized white Renault Kangoo for jaunts around the gardens of the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo. Benedict has been dubbed the “green pope” for his environmental concerns, which have been a hallmark of his papacy. Earlier this year, Italian automaker NWG donated one to the pope, but for the Vatican press office to use. Renault also has given a blue version of the white Kangoo to the Vatican gendarmes. (AP Photo/L’Osservatore Romano)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI is now a bit greener.

The 85-year-old pontiff was presented with his first electric car Wednesday, a customized white Renault Kangoo for jaunts around the gardens of the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo.

Benedict has been dubbed the ‘‘green pope’’ for his environmental concerns, which have been a hallmark of his papacy. He has written of the need to protect God’s creation in his encyclicals, and raised the issue on his foreign trips and in his annual peace messages.

Under his watch, the Vatican has installed photovoltaic cells on its main auditorium and joined a reforestation project to offset its carbon dioxide emissions.

But now the pope has his own ozone-preserving electric car, which he used on Wednesday to travel from the helipad at Castel Gandolfo through the gardens back to his palazzo. He was returning to his retreat in the Alban Hills south of Rome after presiding over his weekly general audience in the Vatican.

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