[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] More Church leaders have added their voice to the chorus of welcome for last weekend’s announcement that both China and the US – the two largest emitters of greenhouse gasses – have ratified the Paris Agreement on climate change. Amongst them, the chair of the Anglican Consultative Council, Archbishop Paul Kwong of Hong Kong, who said that he was “very happy” to welcome the ratification.
“Anglican theologies in Asia-Pacific have great ecological and environmental awareness, with values that also have a deep history in many Chinese societies and cultural traditions,” he said. “These contextual affinities offer many opportunities for dialogue and meaningful partnership and I expect our region to give real leadership and encouragement to the wider Communion on these questions.”
In Zimbabwe, Dr Chad Gandiya, the Bishop of Harare, said: “We rejoice over the ratification of the Paris Agreement by China and the USA. We look forward to the speedy and faithful implementation of the agreement.”
In the Diocese of Polynesia, Fijian Bishop Api Qiliho of Vanua Levu and Taveuni said that Anglicans around the world “need to thank God” for Presidents Barack Obama and Xi Jinping for ratifying the agreement.
And in an allusion to disagreements about the interpretation of the Genesis account of creation, he said: “I truly believe that God is not going to ask us how He created the earth, but He will surely ask us what we did with what He created.”
The Paris Agreement commits countries to a long-term goal of keeping the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels; with an aim to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees to “significantly reduce risks and the impacts of climate change”. It won’t come into effect until at least 55 countries accounting in total for at least 55 per cent of the total global greenhouse gas emissions have ratified it.
Currently, some 26 of the 180 signatories to the Paris Agreement have ratified it, accounting for some 39.06 per cent of the total global greenhouse gas emissions.