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Faith-based organizations encourage COP22 to move from hope to action

Faith-based organizations encourage COP22 to move from hope to action

Rev. Henrik Grape, coordinator of the WCC Working Group on Climate Change. ©Ivars Kupcis/WCC

18 November 2016

Translate the hope provided by the Paris Agreement into real action to direct the world toward a more just and sustainable future, urged the World Council of Churches (WCC) on 17 November at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP22) in Marrakech, Morocco.

At the closing plenary on Thursday afternoon, Rev. Henrik Grape, coordinator of the WCC Working Group on Climate Change, spoke on behalf of faith-based non-governmental organizations. He said that two signs of hope from 2015 -  the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement - are pivotal international instruments that have the potential to direct the world toward a more just and sustainable future.

“It is absolutely critical for COP 22 to translate the hope generated in Paris last year into higher ambitions and concrete actions”, said Grape, adding that rich, industrialized countries are historically the primary emitters and beneficiaries of greenhouse gas emissions – and there is a moral obligation for these countries to act and act now.

“As a fellowship of people of faith, we carry a hope that impels us to speak and act. The impoverished, the future generations and creation herself must be at the center of any climate policy and agreement”, said Grape. “This hope drives us to participate in a pilgrimage of justice and peace on the earth and with the earth – a gift and a home for all of us, and whose bounty ought to be shared and enjoyed in equitable and sustainable ways.”

Grape called on COP22 parties to show that the Paris Agreement is for real and to ramp up the ambitions to keep the global average temperature increase under 1.5 degrees Celsius. He also called for a rapid transition to a low-carbon economy through ending fossil fuel subsidies and boosting investments in renewable energies.

The WCC also called for ensuring that the various mechanisms under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, such as adaptation, loss and damage, capacity-building and finance, are developed to contribute to a just and resilient society for all. Securing a scaled-up, transparent and sustained support to poor and vulnerable nations from wealthy and developed nations is crucial as well, said Grape.

COP22, also called “COP of Action”, in conjunction with the first meeting of the Parties to the Agreement (CMA1) and twelfth Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to Kyoto Protocol (CMP12), is taking place in Marrakech, Morocco from 7-18 November. Delegations from the ACT Alliance, Lutheran World Federation and WCC are jointly demanding a more rapid transition to a low-carbon economy based on clean energy in order to stem rising global temperatures.

WCC work on care for creation and climate change