Environmental Justice for All
A Statement from the WCC to the High-Level Ministerial Segment of the UN Climate
Conference in Nairobi, COP12/MOP2, 17 November, 2006, delivered by Dr Jesse
Mugambi, University of Nairobi and member of the WCC Working Group on Climate
Mr President and fellow participants in this UN Climate Conference,
We believe that caring for life on Earth is a spiritual commitment. People and
other species have the right to life unthreatened by human greed and destructiveness.
The World Council of Churches is present at this 12th Conference of the Parties
as we have been at every other COP. Our ecumenical team includes representatives
of Christian faith communities around the world and ecumenical relief and
Science and the experiences of our members around the world confirm the reality
of human-induced climate change. Pollution, particularly from the energyintensive
wealthy industrialized countries, is warming the atmosphere. A warmer
atmosphere is leading to major climate changes. The poor and vulnerable communities
in the world and future generations will suffer the most. Though we
have concerns about all regions, we focus in this statement particularly on Africa
and the Pacific.
Kenya is my home. The impacts of climate change are radically altering this land
in which we are meeting. As you know, Mt Kenya means "mountain of whiteness".
The snow and glaciers that covered the mountain for generations have
almost disappeared. We depend on the snow and glaciers of Mt Kenya and Mt
Kilimanjaro as critical sources of water for growing our food and quenching our
thirst. The rains are becoming much less predictable. Drought and severe storms
alternate, making agriculture less sustainable.
Faith-based organizations in Kenya are responding. We have formed a partnership
through the All Africa Conference of Churches and Caritas and have sponsored
a number of public awareness and advocacy events here in Nairobi during
COP12. In conjunction with some of our partner ecumenical relief and develop-
ment agencies in developed countries, we are working on a variety of community-
based projects that address impacts of climate change, particularly water-related
In the Pacific, churches and communities cannot wait any longer for the world
to agree on the effects of climate change and its consequences on isolated communities
and hence have taken initiatives to address the issue of climate change
in their own ways and within their own means. We commend them and note with
appreciation those nations that have contributed human and financial resources
to address adaptation and resilience measures. The position of Australia only adds
insult to injury for the Pacific as it continues to refuse to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.
Pacific churches are thankful for the ecumenical solidarity of churches in Australia
to look at ways of addressing the issue in the Pacific region.
Faith-based organizations in Africa and the Pacific are mindful of the link between
climate change and disasters in these regions. We call for more resources to be
directed at the linkages between climate change impacts and disaster preparedness.
Emergency relief, rehabilitation and development
We are grateful for the increasing response of ecumenical agencies working on
disaster relief and development and encourage them to intensify their focus on
climate change as a significant cause of disasters.
As the World Council of Churches, we issue a life-affirming call to delegates at
Listen to the scientists and the cry of the Earth and address the reality of climate
change with the extreme urgency that it demands:
1. Governments of the rich industrialized nations must keep the promise that
they made in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The world
is rapidly approaching the point of "dangerous anthropogenic interference
with the climate system". The rich nations bear the primary responsibility for
causing climate change and must adopt strategies to drastically reduce their
2. The Kyoto Protocol must be fully implemented by all those who ratified it
and industrialized nations that did not ratify it must meet targets at least as
strict as those included in the Protocol. The emissions of some industrialized
countries have risen rather than fallen since the 1990 baseline year. This means
even greater reductions are required than the Kyoto Protocol targets and reinforces
the urgency that actual reductions start now. We dare not wait.
3. The rich industrialized nations use far more than their fair share of the atmospheric
global commons. They must pay that ecological debt to other peoples
by fully compensating them for the costs of adaptation to climate change.
4. Drastic emission reductions by the rich are required to ensure that the legitimate
development needs of the world's poor can be met.
5. All countries must agree to and participate in a climate policy framework for
post-2012 that ensures equitable development for all while maintaining greenhouse
gas concentrations within limits that keep a warming of the global mean
temperature to less than 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels.
The World Council of Churches believes that the whole Earth community deserves
to benefit from the bounties of creation. Equitable development for all is possible
while maintaining the ecological integrity of the biosphere. Faith communities
are addressing climate change because it is a spiritual and ethical issue of justice,
equity, solidarity, sufficiency and sustainability. The situation is critical. We
must all act now. We pray that you will demonstrate leadership in responding to
the cry of the Earth.