Climate change demands 'drastically ambitious deal' say churches

By agency reporter
December 15, 2009

Half way through the UN climate summit in Copenhagen and after a week in which no breakthrough was achieved, church leaders have asked negotiators to be more ambitious.

The General Secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), the Rev Dr Samuel Kobia, called on climate negotiators "to work for a legally binding, ambitious and fair deal".

"It is clear", Kobia said, "that the level of ambition must be drastically increased."

He expressed hope that as the climate summit enters its second and last week, "substantive progress" would be achieved in regard to targets for the reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, measures to face the consequences of climate change and financial mechanisms to fund all of the above.

Kobia was speaking on behalf of church leaders from a broad international network of faith-based stakeholders following the Copenhagen negotiations at an informal dinner attended by parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change on 13 December.

The faith-based network under the umbrella of the WCC and related organisations has brought some 350 delegates to the UN climate summit in Copenhagen. They advocate for "reaching the target of maximum 2 degrees temperature rise [above contemporary averages], or preferably 1.5 degrees as proposed by many parties", Kobia said.

For this to happen, CO2 "emissions cuts of 25 to 40 per cent by 2020 in relation to the 1990 levels must be ensured and it is in the interest of all parties that this is accomplished without loopholes which may erode the effects of any agreement", he added.

Given the "difference in capacity and historic responsibility related to climate change", said Kobia, developing countries need "substantial financial and technological support to be able to maintain their possibility for economic development".

Climate change negotiations are "about equity, justice and the equal right to development". So any agreement "must be based on these principles, as any alternative will only emphasise the existing divides between rich and poor in the world", Kobia concluded.

Full text of the keynote address by Samuel Kobia at a dinner with climate change negotiators and church leaders:

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