WCC says rich countries must face reality on climate change
"Listen to the scientists and the cry of the Earth and address the reality of climate change with the extreme urgency that it demands" - that is is the WCC's call to delegates at the second meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (MOP 2) and to the concurrent, 12th, session of the Conference of the Parties to the Climate Change Convention (COP 12).
Both meetings are taking place in Nairobi from 6 to 17 November 2006; as at all the prior COP conferences, the WCC is present with an international ecumenical team of representatives of faith communities and ecumenical relief and development agencies.
The WCC statement presented today to the High-Level Ministerial Segment of the conference emphasizes that "the rich industrialized nations use far more than their fair share of the atmospheric global commons" and must therefore not only fully compensate other nations "for the costs of adaptation to climate change", but also drastically reduce their own emissions "to ensure that the legitimate development needs of the world's poor can be met".
The statement focuses in particular on Africa and the Pacific. "In the Pacific," it reports, "churches and communitiesÖ have taken initiatives to address the issue of climate change in their own ways and within their own means". In Africa, the WCC together with partner ecumenical relief and development agencies "is working on a variety of community-based projects that address impacts of climate change, particularly water-related problems". It notes, furthermore, that "Faith-based organizations in Africa and the Pacific are mindful of the link between climate change and disasters in these regions".
The WCC statement is being delivered by Dr Jesse Mugambi of the University of Nairobi. It explains that Kenyans "depend on the of Mount Kenya and Mount Kilimanjaro as critical sources of water for growing our food and quenching our thirst," and testifies that "The snow and glaciers that covered the mountain for generations have almost disappeared. The rains are becoming much less predictable. Drought and severe storms alternate, making agriculture less sustainable."
"Equitable development for all is possible while maintaining the ecological integrity of the biosphere. Faith communities are addressing climate change because it is a spiritual and ethical issue of justice, equity, solidarity, sufficiency and sustainability. The situation is critical. We must all act now," the statement concludes.