Faith groups strengthen call for climate justice

By agency reporter
November 5, 2016

“This is the time to step forward and act as trustees to Mother Earth. Together, by supporting each other’s progress we can go further and faster”, reads the 'COP22 Interfaith Statement', a document prepared by faith communities involved in advocacy work on climate change at the 22nd Conference of Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC).

The climate conference, to be held in Marrakesh, Morocco, from 7-18 November, takes place in an historic moment in which the Paris Agreement enters into force. The agreement is an unprecedented global consensus that has produced a universal framework to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and to build greater resilience to climate impacts. Faith communities continue to work hard to make the Paris Agreement a reality in many parts of the world.

“We must deliberately turn away from investing in fossil fuels and we stand together, to call for a collective shift by sovereign wealth funds and public sector pension funds from fossil fuels towards climate solutions”, reads the text.

Among other issues, faith groups at COP22 will be actively advocating for:

  • States rapidly increasing pledges to reduce emissions, in line with the goal limiting global temperature rise to below 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels;
  • A collective shift by sovereign wealth funds and public sector pension funds away from fossil fuels into renewables and other climate solutions;
  • An increase in global financial flows to end energy poverty with renewable energy and to provide for greater human and ecological adaptation, particularly to compensate for loss and damage, technology transfer and capacity building;
  • Stricter controls on the dispute mechanisms within trade agreements that utilise extrajudicial tribunals to challenge government policies.

A special social media action, through a Twitter thunderclap, or a social media message said at the same time, is taking place on 4 November, celebrating the Paris Agreement coming into force and also inviting people to sign the Interfaith statement.

Many people are already changing their priorities and their lifestyles to protect the globe, said World Council of Churches General Secretary, the Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit. “So many are with us, physically or symbolically, on a pilgrimage of climate justice and peace”, he said. “We believe that we have the potential to do what is just for the poor, those who contribute the least to emissions yet suffer the most. We believe that we have been given by God, the Creator, this responsibility – but also the capacity to change.”

*Read the COP22 Interfaith Report here

* The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, by the end of 2012 the WCC had 345 member churches representing more than 500 million Christians from Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other traditions in over 110 countries. The WCC works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church.

* World Council of Churches http://www.oikoumene.org/en

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