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Statement to COP16 / UN Climate Conference Cancun

Statement from the World Council of Churches to the High-Level Ministerial Segment of the 16th Session of the Conference of the Parties - COP16 to the UNFCCC 6th Session of the Meeting of the Parties - CMP6 to the Kyoto Protocol Cancun - Mexico Friday, 10 December 2010

10 December 2010

“No more delays: life on earth is in peril”

Statement from the World Council of Churches
To the High-Level Ministerial Segment of the
16th Session of the Conference of the Parties – COP16 to the UNFCCC
6th Session of the Meeting of the Parties – CMP6 to the Kyoto Protocol

Cancun, Mexico

Friday, 10 December 2010

Madam President,
Distinguished Participants,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.
Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy

Proverbs 31:8‑9

Fifteen years have passed since we attended the First Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC which met in Berlin in 1995.

Once again we are meeting, completing the first decade of the Third Millennium, in which we had put all our hopes and efforts to solve the severe and urgent problems that are challenging us as inhabitants of the blue planet, our common home.

Time has run past. The problems and their challenges are still here. Scientific knowledge, supported by statistics and climatic models, as well as plain observations made by peasant, farmers, Indigenous peoples and coastal inhabitants has confirmed that the climate is changing because of human activities and that such change will prove disastrous for life in this planet, while we are still unable to take the unavoidable steps to detain the already tangible and oncoming appalling events.

The urgent challenge is now to continue our work, you as leaders and policy makers, we as members of the civil society, as people of faith, to overcome the grave menace of climate change, taking into account firstly the care and protection of the earth as well as of the poorest and more vulnerable communities and countries.

Since the initiation of the process in the early nineties the WCC has been present in all COPs. Together with other faith based organizations, churches and religious communities, we have realized that climate change is also fundamentally a matter of spirituality and ethics. Faith traditions with their core spiritual values for earth community can play a key role in overcoming the dominant economic model where overconsumption and greed prevail.

In the WCC statement presented at the COP 13 in Bali we recalled that a change of paradigm is needed. This one must include a change in the present climate legal framework, reaffirming the Kyoto Protocol commitments and expanding them to respond to the new situation we face beyond 2010.

As faith based communities we reiterate our determination to support you in our common efforts to offer security, prosperity and dignity to the life of men, women and children around the world, caring also for all the wonders of God’s good Creation, sustaining the treasure of life. A life which needs to be lived with dignity, justice, equity and peace, where the rights of peoples to safe drinking water, sanitation, clean air and a climate apt to support life may become a reality.

Humankind is at present dancing on the edge of the abyss. We cannot afford another failure from the governments as in Copenhagen. Time is now to put aside self-interest, lack of leadership, postponements and immobility. Time is now for climate justice. Time is now for courageous, equitable and binding agreements.

Do it and you will be remembered, not only by today’s world, but also by our children and our children's children as the decision makers that responsibly addressed one of the major challenges humanity faced and avoided a major tragedy for the earth and humanity within it.