Archbishop of Canterbury join faith leaders in call for urgent action to tackle climate change

Faith leaders in Britain have pledged to fast and pray for the success of key international negotiations over climate change in a new declaration warning of the “huge challenge” facing the world over global warming.

Faith leaders in Britain have pledged to fast and pray for the success of key international negotiations over climate change in a new declaration warning of the “huge challenge” facing the world over global warming.

 

Representatives of the major faiths including the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said climate change has already hit the poorest of the world hardest and urgent action is needed now to protect future generations.

 

In the newly-launched Lambeth Declaration, signatories call on faith communities to recognise the pressing need to make the transition to a low carbon economy.

The call comes ahead of the international climate change talks in Paris this December where negotiators from more than 190 nations will gather to discuss a new global agreement on climate change, aimed at limiting greenhouse gas emissions from 2020 when current commitments run out.

 

The Declaration, signed by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and other faith leaders in the UK, warns that world leaders must agree to reduce emissions to avoid average temperatures rising beyond 2⁰C, widely considered to be the threshold above which it is considered that the impacts of climate change will be most severe. The original Declaration was hosted by former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and signed by faith leaders in 2009 ahead of the Climate Summit in Copenhagen.

The declaration will be launched tomorrow (Wednesday June 17) by the Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, the Church of England’s lead bishop on the environment, at ecumenical services in Westminster, London, to mark the national lobby of Parliament over the Paris talks.

 

Bishop Nicholas said:

 

“The impact of climate change is something about which all people of faith are concerned. We need to work together in order to find our responses to some of the most significant moral issues facing the world. Along with many Christians, I am glad to be part of Wednesday’s Climate Change Lobby at Westminster. We want to encourage our politicians to keep Britain committed to taking a global lead on climate change.

 

“The lobby will take place on the eve of the papal encyclical, to which we are all looking forward.”

 

Signatories include representatives from the Muslim, Sikh and Jewish communities as well as the Catholic Church in England and Wales, Methodist Conference and other denominations and faiths, with more leaders continuing to sign the Declaration.

 

Hundreds more people are expected to sign up to the declaration as it travels rounds the country during a summer of pilgrimages.

 

Notes to editors:

Text of Lambeth Declaration:

 

Lambeth Declaration 2015 on Climate Change

 

As leaders of the faith communities we recognise the urgent need for action on climate change.

 

From the perspective of our different faiths we see the earth as a beautiful gift. We are all called to care for the earth and have a responsibility to live creatively and sustainably in a world of finite resources.

 

Climate change is already disproportionately affecting the poorest in the world. The demands of justice as well as of creation require the nations of the world urgently to limit the global rise in average temperatures to a maximum of 2oC, as agreed by the United Nations in Cancun. We have a responsibility to act now, for ourselves, our neighbours and for future generations.

 

The scale of change needed to make the transition to a low carbon economy is considerable and the task urgent. We need to apply the best of our intellectual, economic and political resources. Spirituality is a powerful agent of change. Faith has a crucial role to play in resourcing both individual and collective change.

 

We call on our faith communities to:

 

  • Recognise the urgency of the tasks involved in making the transition to a low carbon economy.

  • Develop the spiritual and theological resources that will strengthen us individually and together in our care of the earth, each other and future generations.

  • Encourage and pray for those engaged in the intellectual, economic, political and spiritual effort needed to address this crisis.

  • Work with our communities and partners in the UK and internationally to mitigate the effects of climate change on the poorest and most vulnerable communities in the world;

  • Build on the examples of local and international action to live and to work together sustainably,

  • Redouble our efforts to reduce emissions that result from our own institutional and individual activities.

 

As representatives of the vast numbers of people of faith across the globe we urge our Government to use their influence to achieve a legally-binding commitment at the international Climate Change talks in Paris, and with the continuing programme beyond.  Through our various traditions we bring our prayers for the success of the negotiations.

We call with humility, with a determination enlivened by our faith and with awareness of the need for courage, justice and hope.  We are faced with a huge challenge. But we are hopeful that the necessary changes can be made – for the sake of all who share this world today – and those who will share it tomorrow.

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