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Advocates urge transition to low-carbon economy, clean energy

Advocates urge transition to low-carbon economy, clean energy

Rev. Mary Fontaine at the COP22 Ecumenical worship service. ©Ryan Rodrick Beiler/LWF

09 November 2016

Delegations from the ACT Alliance, Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and World Council of Churches (WCC) at the United Nations climate conference in Marrakech, Morocco, 7-18 November, are jointly demanding a more rapid transition to a low-carbon economy based on clean energy in order to stem rising global temperatures.

The faith-based organizations are represented at the 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 22) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Morocco as part of their continuing advocacy and action on climate change.

On the opening day of the conference, the ACT Alliance expressed hope that the 2016 meeting should be an “action COP” in which “the targets set out in the Paris agreement must now be fleshed out to ensure that the headlines are followed by ambitious rules.”

“Governments have shown their commitment to tackling climate change and the agreements made at the Paris summit can now be fulfilled. However, an agreement with only headlines will not make any difference, therefore the agenda at COP 22 is very important to ensure that now the implementation must begin”, said Dinesh Vyas, leader of the ACT Alliance climate change working group.

The LWF, which in 2015 made a policy decision to not invest in fossil fuels, is represented at the UN climate conferences by its all-youth delegation, with members from the African region participating in Marrakech. At the climate negotiations, LWF is advocating for intergenerational justice and solidarity with those who are most vulnerable to the impact of extreme weather events.

LWF general secretary Rev. Dr Martin Junge said: “In the joint Catholic-Lutheran commemoration of the Reformation, we stated that our joint service in this world must extend to God’s creation, which suffers exploitation and the specific effects of insatiable greed. We must work toward a change in hearts and minds that leads to responsible care for God’s creation.”

In recent years, ecumenical groups have been deeply involved in advocacy and action on climate change and have taken part in every conference of parties. The WCC and related groups have taken strong moral positions on the fossil fuel industry that generates emissions that cause climate change. Putting their money where their mouth is, they have divested from fossil fuels, withdrawing a pool of significant investments from the industry.

People of faith should come together and work together on climate justice, and it is needed now more than ever, stated WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit. “I have met climate refugees during my recent visit to New Zealand and Australia - we are not talking about tomorrow, this is the current situation, and it’s time to take action now. Climate change and its adverse effects on the whole creation, especially on vulnerable, poor and indigenous communities is an urgent concern for all people of faith around the world. In the current increased risk of social and political tensions, fear, conflict and displacement in a climate-constrained world, our task is to bring justice and peace for the social and ecological wellbeing and sustainable development for all”, said Tveit.

In the run-up to Marrakech, the three general secretaries signed the COP22 Interfaith Climate Statement alongside 220 other faith leaders. The COP22 president, Morocco’s foreign minister Salaheddine Mezouar has been invited to receive the statement at a side event organized by ACT, LWF and WCC on 10 November.

COP22 Interfaith climate statement

Photos from faith-based events at COP22

WCC work on care for creation and climate change

LWF at COP22

ACT Now for climate

This is a joint press release of the ACT Alliance, Lutheran World Federation and World Council of Churches.

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