FAITH communities have delivered a statement to COP28, expressing their alarm over the accelerating climate emergency, and calling for the phasing out of fossil fuels. 

The statement was delivered by the Rev Tamsyn Kereopa of the Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia on behalf of faith communities who gathered during the opening of COP28 for an interfaith dialogue in the spirit of talanoa – a holistic, life-affirming dialogue practice from the Pacific.

“The world’s faith communities are alarmed over the accelerating climate emergency that poses an existential threat to life”, reads the statement. “In our diversity of traditions, we share a common calling to heed the cries of the vulnerable, coming generations, and Mother Earth.”

The statement notes that human economic activity is behind the climate crisis. “Humanity holds the future in her hands”, it reads. “May we act accordingly, in line with science, responsibly, and with urgency.”

Fossil fuels must be phased out now. “A just transition must be pursued such that no community and no worker is left behind”, the statement reads. “There is absolutely no room for new extraction of fossil fuels.”

The faith-based groups urge nations to rise above business and national interests, differences, and conflicts, and commit to a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty.

“While we welcome the decision at COP28 to operationalise the Loss and Damage Fund, we are disappointed by the pledges which are a pittance”, says the statement. “We underline that rich and industrialised nations have a moral responsibility to pay for mitigation and adaptation.”

The drastic mitigation of emissions cannot be put on hold, the statement urges, and the experiences of Indigenous people and women must be taken into account. “We cannot and must not sell away our children’s future for financial gain and in the name of development. There is no time to lose: it is our moral obligation to act now and with greater aspiration to protect the gift of life on Earth.”

The Interfaith Talanoa Dialogue Call to COP28 was handed to the COP28 presidency, specifically through Ahmed Al Ghardaqa, Lead of the COP28 Interfaith Initiative, who received it on behalf of the presidency team.

* Read the full Talanoa statement here.

* Source: World Council of Churches