Interfaith Liaison Committee to the UNFCCC: In a message to the High-Level Ministerial Segment of the 26th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP26), The Interfaith Liasion Committee to the UNFCCC urged a response to the climate emergency that balances science and spirituality.
Mr. President, the Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We are in a climate emergency. Fixated on profit, our extractive and ultimately unsustainable systems of production and consumption have led us today to this climate emergency. Despite numerous reports and increasingly urgent warnings, and notwithstanding so many statements and solemn commitments, GHG emissions continue to outstrip reductions, and humanity is on a trajectory that will significantly exceed the safe limit of 1.5Åã C global warming, with potentially catastrophic consequences for humanity and all life on earth.
Humanity has been gifted with the ability to think and the freedom to choose. We must respond with the knowledge of science and the wisdom of spirituality: to know more and to care more.
We see today that climate change is an ethical and spiritual matter. Any successful path to curb emissions must include an existential dimension. The ethical and cosmological narratives to act are keys to a more sustainable future. Questions about justice and how to understand our dependence on healthy ecosystems are not so often recognized. The climate crisis is ultimately linked to a crisis of values, ethics and spirituality.
As people of faith we have the vocation to care for our home, Mother Earth. When we care for our home, we care for the most vulnerable which includes the poor people of the world, the future generations and the ecosystems without voices of their own. In every faith there is a clear moral obligation to cooperate in the healing of people and the planet.
We want to contribute with a framework of deeply rooted hope. A hope that is based on science, the courage to act, and a defiant attitude founded on love.
Love calls us to deep solidarity with sisters and brothers in poorer parts of the world, recognizing that we are all interconnected in this world. It calls wealthier populations and countries that are responsible for the bulk of emissions to take the lead in reducing their own emissions and in financing emission reductions in poorer nations. It calls industrialised countries to support vulnerable ones, financing adaptation and also putting into action a mechanism to tackle loss and damage. This must be with additional funds.
Love calls us to seek climate justice and restoration. Climate justice means that those who have benefitted from GHG emissions must take responsibility to contribute to those most affected by natural disasters caused by climate change. It calls us to respect the rights of Indigenous Peoples, to protect them and their ancestral domains from predatory economic interests, and to learn from their ancient wisdom. Indigenous spirituality could restore our understanding of interdependence between land, ocean, and life, between generations before us and the ones to come.
Love calls us to transformation of relationships, systems, and lifestyles. This transition away from a fossil fuel-based economy to a life-affirming economy must be just, securing livelihoods and wellbeing for all and not just some.
We ask our leaders to not only keep the promise of the Paris Agreement alive, but also to keep the hope of a flourishing future for humanity alive. We want to see COP 26:
● Result in Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in line with science and limiting temperature rise to 1.5°.
● Deliver climate finance at scale and meet the USD 100 billion finance target.
● Provide new, additional and necessary finance to help poorer and more vulnerable countries to address loss and damage.
● Monitor and ensure that the Gender Action Plan is implemented nationally and in international cooperation.
● Uphold human rights principles in the NDCs and other climate actions.
● Protect indigenous peoples’ rights when taking action on climate change and take notice of Indigenous wisdom and worldviews.
● Incorporate an intergenerational perspective in decisions to limit GHG emissions and ensure the representation of young people in climate discussions.
● Promote a just transition to a zero carbon economy that ensures that no one is left behind.