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Justin Welby urges faith leaders to ‘lead by example’ at climate summit

by Heather Preston

The Archbishop of Canterbury has called on global faith leaders to ensure more is done to fight the effects of climate change.

Addressing members of the Global Leaders Faith Summit in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, the Most Rev Justin Welby spoke of the challenges millions of Christians are facing around the world because of the climate crisis:

“From different corners of the world, the stories are - quite literally - flooding in of the consequences of the abuse of our planet – consequences that are being borne by our brothers and sisters who have done the least to cause the problem.

“Christians believe that God has called us to care for the climate and for our neighbour, to seek the welfare of the poor and bring about justice. A crisis borne of injustice, which causes such suffering to those who already live in poverty and insecurity, and which threatens God’s own Earth, is one that demands our attention and our action.”

The Archbishop urged faith leaders to live up to this spiritual call to protect the planet.

His audience included the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, and a representative from the Vatican.

“Faith leaders represent the majority of people across the world, from both developed and developing countries. We can demonstrate to world leaders that people of faith want to see, and are willing to support, change. We can lead by example, and let world leaders know they have a mandate for bold, ambitious decision making at COP28,” he added.

The Church of England has committed to be carbon neutral by 2030; completely de-investing in fossil fuels. In 2022 the Church held a landmark conference of Bishops from 165 countries to develop climate policy.

Welby's video message comes ahead of COP 28, set to take place in Dubai at the end of the month.

Last week, Pope Francis announced his plans to attend the summit, two months after the papal published his Apostolic Exhortation 'Laudate Deum' on the climate crisis.

It will be the first time a pontiff will be at the U.N. environmental meeting since they began in 1995.


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