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Statement to COP15 / UN Climate Conference Copenhagen

Statement from the World Council of Churches (WCC) to the High-Level Ministerial Segment of the 15th Session of the Conference of the Parties - COP15 - to the UNFCCC and the 5th Session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol - CMP5 Delivered on behalf of the World Council of Churches and its Ecumenical Partners

18 December 2009

Statement from the World Council of Churches (WCC)
to the High-Level Ministerial Segment of the
15th Session of the Conference of the Parties - COP15 to the UNFCCC
5th Session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol - CMP5

Copenhagen, Denmark

Friday, 18 December 2009

Mister President,

Distinguished Delegates to this United Nations Climate Conference,

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Since long ago, we, as members of the world civil society promised to take the lead in establishing just, participatory and sustainable societies. The present day reality shows that our sincere efforts have not been enough to bring in the age of social justice and peace. On the contrary, our most vulnerable communities are at stake, as well as the rest of the world, threatened by the impact of the already evident effects of climate change.

As we declared during COP13-CMP3 in Bali, Indonesia, in 2007, a change of paradigm is imperative. We must do it here and now. We must transform ourselves: transform our communities, transform our societies, transform the world, and in this meeting transform our politics, as a basis for our worldwide actions to save our planet from the catastrophic and suicidal consequences of climate change.

As people of faith we beg and urge you to journey together on the basis of unilateral ambitious, convincing and trust building moves in order to speed up the global process toward a visible and verifiable improvement of life on earth in every continent, in every country, in every place.

In view of the need of trust-building steps we ask you to admit to be aware that all countries at some moments fail in mutual understanding, sensitivity and love. We ask you to confess that as a negotiation tactic every country tends to persist in denying its own faults while pointing a splinter in its neighbours' eyes, using all means and possible occasions to claim its own moral superiority. We ask you to transform international politics by overcoming these weaknesses, for the future of humankind and the earth as we know it.

We recognize that the threats of climate change are ever-growing. Yet we do not pay adequate attention to the warning bells the scientific community has raised. We need to ACT now. The Copenhagen global agreement is and should be a call to immediate action. Moreover, we firmly believe the Copenhagen agreement is and should be a sign of hope for the future; a sign of hope for humanity, and for the continuation of life on planet earth, our common home.

We said it is a sign of hope for the future. But the future has already reached us: the future is here, the future is now. The end of the 1st Commitment Period under the Kyoto Protocol in 2012 will mark the 40th anniversary of the Stockholm Conference! By 2012 humanity will have spent four decades trying to arrive to a consensus on how and when to correct our misuse of the earth’s natural non-renewable resources. The time is now to take decisions that will guarantee that in 2012 we have implemented an adequate answer to the worries that were raised in 1972!

It will be a subject of justice and wisdom towards our planet and the entire good creation of God, to see the same promptness from the global community in responding to the climate change crisis, as the way in which it dealt with the financial and economic crisis. It is like people say: never waste a good crisis.

The “Countdown to Copenhagen” has finally come to its end. Distinguished Delegates, the world, the people that gave you the power to find a solution to this intricate and multifaceted problem, expect the result of your arduous negotiations along these last years. The result we expect must be imbedded in justice, equity, solidarity, ethics and love: love for you yourselves, for your families, for your neighbour, for your offspring and for our life-sustaining planet.

We have a hope and the sign of hope we foresee is a Copenhagen global agreement we are expecting to receive from you today. Do not deceive us. It will be a sign of hope for the future, and it will bring peace on earth to people of good will, today and for the years to come. We are all members of one family living together, breathing together, and dreaming together.

Dreaming a better world for all is possible.

Do not be afraid! Act now!

Thank you very much.