Photo: Peter Williams/WCC

Photo: Peter Williams/WCC

The Executive Committee of the World Council of Churches (WCC) released a statement in the lead-up to the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris expressing hope that the event will achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C.

The text affirms the longstanding ecumenical commitment to promote effective intergovernmental, social and individual action to address climate change, a key challenge for human stewardship of God’s precious and unique creation.

Among other expressions of this commitment is the position adopted on Climate Justice by the WCC 10th Assembly, in Busan, Republic of Korea, on 8 November 2013 and the recent “Statement of Faith and Spiritual Leaders” issued in advance of COP21.

The WCC Executive Committee, meeting in Geneva, Switzerland from 13 to 18 November 2015, affirms that “the Conference is the right moment to translate human and ecological stewardship into concrete climate action, to show inter-generational responsibility, to initiate unprecedented individual, economic and structural transformation, and to pursue climate justice.”

The action continues, “To all those engaged in the struggle for climate justice, and all those exerting their efforts to protect the beauty, diversity and sustainability of the natural environment of this earth, the executive committee expresses its solidarity and support.”

The WCC has been involved in the UNFCCC process since 1991. It is the only faith based-organization that has had a permanent presence in the UNFCCC process.

The Executive Committee’s public declaration in regard to COP21 is a significant part of the Council’s climate justice advocacy strategy that aims to underline the significance of climate talks for human rights throughout the world.

It reiterates the 10th Assembly’s call to churches and ecumenical organizations to insist that their respective governments look beyond national interests and “urge them to safeguard and promote the basic human rights of those whose existence is threatened by the effects of climate change”.

The WCC Executive Committee also released a statement on the terror attack in Paris, condemning terrorist atrocities justified in the name of God and expressing “support and solidarity of others, of their families and of their neighbours – whoever or wherever they may be”.

WCC Executive Committee statement on COP21

The WCC 10th Assembly Minute on Climate Justice

“Religious leaders call for a zero carbon, climate resilient, equitable future agreement” (WCC news release of 20 October 2015)

Statement from religious leaders for the upcoming COP21

WCC Executive Committee statement on terrorist attacks in Paris

WCC Pilgrimage blog posts related to COP21 and climate change

“Climate, Faith and Hope: Faith traditions together for a common future” (statement of the Interfaith Summit on Climate Change, New York, September 2014)