As negotiators in Bonn continue to grapple with the draft text for December’s climate talks, faith leaders are, today, offering governments a timely reminder of just what is expected of them by their citizens.
In a statement handed over to UN climate chief Christiana Figueres, 154 leaders representing people of faith from across the globe called for an ambitious and transformative climate deal to be signed in Paris.
Karin Kortmann, Vice President of the Central Committee of German Catholics said:
Guided by our religious beliefs, we as faith leaders have come together to call for an ambitious Paris outcome. 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.
Following in the footsteps of the Pope’s Encyclical and the Islamic Climate Change Declaration, today’s statement brings together leaders from across religions to “express deep concern for the consequences of climate change on the earth and its people.”
Climate change is already making storms stronger, droughts longer, and heatwaves hotter. Changing weather patterns often inflict the worst damage on the poor and disadvantaged, many of whom cannot afford to bounce back.
By standing in solidarity with the world’s poorest and supporting the overwhelming scientific consensus, the faith leaders are further strengthening the case that climate action is both morally and economically right.
Adding further weight to the global for a world free from fossil fuels, their message is clear: to ensure a strong Paris agreement, governments must agree to phase out fossil fuels and phase in 100 per cent renewables by 2050; they must commit to ramping up climate ambition over time; and they must provide adequate support for those most threatened by climate change.
Cornelia Füllkrug-Weitzel, Director of Bread for the World, Germany 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.
The statement also called on people of faith to play their part in the fight against climate change and to join the growing ranks of religious groups already taking steps to drive more ambitious action.