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Christian leaders sign Multi-Faith Declaration on Climate Change

by Donna Birrell

More than 50 religious leaders from across the UK have signed a declaration urging governments to take transformational climate action at the COP26 summit in November.

The Glasgow Multi-Faith Declaration was signed by the Right Reverend Graham Usher, the Church of England’s lead Bishop for the Environment and Lord Wallace, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, alongside leaders of every major Christian denomination and representatives from Baha'i, Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, and Sikh communities. 

The Declaration, which is being made during Climate Fringe Week, stresses that urgent action is needed to avert the loss, damage, and forced migration threatened by climate change.

The religious leaders are asking for a transition to a just and green economy and for governments to commit to science-based targets aligned with a zero-emissions future.

The Declaration follows on from the 2015 interfaith Lambeth Declaration and the Scottish Religious Leaders’ Forum Statement of Commitment of 2020.

The declaration states: “We remind governments of their commitments made in Paris in 2015 to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, and of Article 17 of the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights to protect the environment, the biosphere and biodiversity. 

“We call upon them to take the urgent action needed to avert the loss, damage, and forced migration threatened by climate change.

 “Across our doctrinal and political differences, we know that we must change our ways to ensure a quality of life which all can share, and we need to provide hope for people of all ages, everywhere, including future generations.  

“To offer hope in the world we need to have confidence that those in power understand the vital role they have to play at the Glasgow COP26.”

Bishop Graham said: “As a world community we need to come together and keep the rise in global temperature to 1.5 degrees. 

“Glasgow is a ‘Kairos’ moment for the future of this planet. That’s why the voices of faith communities are so important. 

“We are drawing on the wells of wisdom within our traditions to encourage the leaders of the world to take the bold, prophetic, steps we all need to take.”

Lord Jim Wallace of Tankerness, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, said:

“Our faith communities are united in caring for human life and the natural world. We share a belief in a hopeful future, as well as an obligation to be responsible in caring for our common home, the Earth. 
“We recognise the opportunities that COP26 brings in addressing the urgent need for action in limiting the effects of climate change and the critical importance of decisions made in this conference to take forward the agreement made in Paris in 2015.

“Our collective energy and prayers will be with those working for a successful outcome.”

The Declaration comes just 40 days before the beginning of COP26 when leaders are set to agree emission-reducing plans to avert a rise in global temperatures of more than 1.5 degrees.  

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