[ACNS] As representatives from almost 200 countries conclude their final round of negotiations in Bonn, Germany, this week, ahead of December’s UN-led international conference on climate change in Paris; a number of leading Anglicans and Episcopalians have put their name to a statement calling for an ambitious climate agreement.
Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, Primate of Southern Africa; Presiding Bishop Francisco De Assis Da Silva from the Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil (Anglican Church in Brazil); the Rt Revd Juan David Alvarado Melgar and the Most Revd Armando Guerra Soria, Bishops of El Salvador and Guatemala in the Iglesia Anglicana de la Region Central de America (Anglican Church in the Central America region); the Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam and the Rt Revd Graham Usher, Bishops of Salisbury and Dudley in the Church of England; and Dr Agnes Abuom, from the Anglican Church of Kenya and moderator of the central committee of the World Council of Churches, are amongst a number of Anglicans and 154 religious leaders who signed the statement that was handed to negotiators this week.
In addition to calling for an ambitious climate agreement, the statement urges all governments to commit to emission cuts and climate risk reduction. They also pledge important contributions from their own faith communities, including divestment from fossil energy.
The statement was handed to the UN’s executive director of the Framework Convention on Climate Change, Christiana Figueres, on behalf of the faith leaders by Cornelia Füllkrug-Weitzel, director of Bread for the World, Germany, and Karin Kortmann, vice president of the Catholic Lay Council of Germany.
“Guided by our religious beliefs, we as faith leaders have come together to call for an ambitious Paris outcome,” Ms Kortmann said. “In the past month the UN family has decided to take responsibility for both, environment and humankind by approving the Agenda 2030.
“In Paris the heads of states and governments have the chance to give evidence, how serious they are. The survival of millions of human beings depends on them.”
And Ms Füllkrug-Weitzel said: “We urge governments to commit to building climate resilience, phasing out fossil energies and reaching zero emissions by mid-century. We call for a robust mechanism to review and ratchet up ambitions, transparency and accountability rules applicable to all, and the provision of finance and support to poor and vulnerable countries.”
This faith leaders’ statement builds on a growing number of calls from faith groups made throughout the past year, including the Pope’s encyclical Laudato Si’, the declaration of the New York Interfaith Summit, the Lambeth Declaration, and the Islamic declaration on climate change.
“Such calls mark the engagement of different faith groups working together towards the same goals,” the ACT Alliance, which organised the statement, said. “The message from faith groups is now unequivocal.”
- Click here to read the full statement and list of signatories on the ACT Alliance website.