Climate, Faith and Hope: Faith traditions come together for a common future

logo1 The specific contributions that faith traditions bring to the international climate debate was highlighted at the recent Interfaith Summit on Climate Change in New York, held in conjunction with the UN Climate Summit convened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Thirty religious leaders from diverse religious traditions participated in the summit and signed a statement expressing a shared concern for the consequences of climate change on the earth and its people, recognising that ‘Climate change is indeed a threat to life, a precious gift we have received and that we need to care for.’

The statement acknowledged the overwhelming scientific evidence that climate change is human-induced and that, without global and inclusive action towards mitigation and unless fully addressing its fundamental causes, its impacts will continue to grow in intensity and frequency.

Drawing upon the knowledge and experience of members of their global networks, signatories noted the manifestations of climate change and its impacts everywhere. “From our brothers and sisters around the world, we hear about its effects on people and nature. We recognize that these effects disproportionally affect the lives, livelihoods and rights of poorer, marginalized and therefore most vulnerable populations, including indigenous peoples. When those who have done the least to cause climate change are the ones hardest hit, it becomes an issue of injustice. Equitable solutions are urgently needed.”

The statement went on to say that “The climate crisis is about the survival of humanity on planet earth, and action must reflect these facts with urgency” and further noted that ‘the threats of climate change cannot be curbed effectively by a single State alone but only by the enhanced co-operation of the community of States, based on principles of mutual trust, fairness and equity, precaution, intergenerational justice and common but differentiated responsibilities and capabilities. We urge the rich to support the poor and the vulnerable significantly and everywhere, especially in Least Developed Countries, Small Island States and Sub-Saharan Africa. Significant support would include generous financial resources, capacity building, technology transfer and other forms of co-operation.’

Political leaders were urged to commit to limit global warming and to immediately take steps to achieve the complete phase-out of fossil fuels by mid-century.

All States were urged to work constructively towards a far-reaching global climate agreement in Paris in 2015 which must limit global temperature rise, distribute the burden of moving to a sustainable energy future in an equitable way and be legally binding to guarantee that effective national climate policies to curb emissions are well funded and fully implemented.

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