Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The world’s faith communities are deeply concerned over the ecological crisis we live in today. We face an existential threat to our only home. We might come from different traditions but we all share a common calling to heed the cries of the socio-economically marginalised and the Earth herself.
With greenhouse gas emissions rebounding to 2019 levels, the realisation of the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels to avert the most calamitous consequences of climate change is at risk. Updated commitments as part of the Glasgow Climate Pact are still likely to produce a 2.4-2.6°C temperature rise by the end of the century, with the harshest impacts unjustly borne by people living in poverty, women, Indigenous Peoples, youth and children.
There is an urgent need for a swift and system-wide transformation of our societies and economies to achieve the necessary reduction in emissions and build a liveable future for future generations.
Changing our food systems, through community-rooted and Indigenous farming and land regeneration techniques for instance, have the potential to deliver rapid and sustained emission cuts.
Our financial systems can and must be redirected away from relentless profit-seeking and the financing of fossil fuel and extractive activities, often at the expense of Indigenous Peoples’ lands, livelihoods and rights, towards resourcing a just transition and supporting those most affected by climate change whilst contributing least to it.
As people of faith, we believe that only by working together as a global community – held together by values of compassion and justice as well as a profound understanding of who are neighbours are – will humanity find a way out of the accelerating climate crisis that is already causing tremendous suffering.
From our faith traditions, we bring narratives that demand us all, decision makers, faith and civil society actors alike, to act with justice.
Justice for the poor of today who bear the brunt of the effects of climate change.
Justice for women whose burden of care work has further intensified.
Justice for generations to come whose futures are threatened.
Justice for Indigenous Peoples whose ancient ways of living are being undermined.
COP 27 is a critical occasion for governments to together re-envision, develop, commit to and implement a roadmap towards a fossil fuel-free, post-growth, equitable and sustainable tomorrow.
We, faith communities from many traditions, call COP 27 to:
- Deliver more ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions, especially by countries with both the greatest historical responsibilities for climate change and the largest financial and technological capacities, to mitigate climate change and keep the 1.5°C goal alive;
- Meet the target of providing USD 100 billion a year to poor and climate-vulnerable countries for climate adaptation and ensure that climate funding and resources reach women and girls at the local levels;
- Establish a mechanism to address loss and damage, including non-economic losses and damages, and guarantee a process for countries and communities in the frontline of climate impacts to secure additional, adequate, and accessible financing;
- Halt the expansion of fossil fuels now and manage a global just transition away from coal, oil and gas as called for in the proposal for a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty;
- Include young people in all decisions that affect their future by demonstrating a commitment to the principle of “nothing for us without us”;
- Take into account Indigenous knowledge and practices for climate mitigation and adaptation in the transition to a more sustainable world;
- Protect environmental human rights defenders; and
- Recognise ecocide as a crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC)
Image Credit: World Council of Churches/ Valter Hugo Muniz