HAH Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. Photo: Albin Hillert/WCC

HAH Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. Photo: Albin Hillert/WCC

“We wonder when the leaders of our world will realize how late we have left our response to the climate crisis”, wrote His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in a letter to the participants of the United Nations climate conference underway in Katowice, Poland.

“A few years ago, we wrote of reaching a point of no return. This was neither euphemism nor exaggeration. Scientists have long warned that we have reached several tipping points; governments seem reluctant to respond, preferring to delay”, wrote the head of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.

The Katowice Climate Change Conference, 2-15 December, is the 24th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 24) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

In the letter, His All-Holiness stressed that, as a religious leader, he also professes that God's grace offers forgiveness and opportunities for reconciliation but alerted that the Scripture also underlines that the time will come when we are obliged to face the consequences of our actions.

“In order to restore the planet, we need a spirituality that brings humility and respect with regard to our attitudes and actions, our life choices and lifestyles”, he wrote.

The message concludes with a strong call for action: “The truth is that we can no longer afford to wait, indecision and inaction are not options. Faith makes it clear that we have a choice. The time to choose is now”, reads the letter.

Read the full message of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to COP24

WCC president at COP24: “God wants us to be stewards for the whole ecological weave, for our shared home, for the oikoumene” - WCC news release 10 December 2018

"Faith groups at COP24 advocate for just transitions" - WCC news release 5 December 2018

"COP24: Global church bodies urge transformative action to protect the most vulnerable" - WCC/ACT Alliance/LWF joint news release 30 November 2018

Learn more about the WCC work on Care for Creation and Climate Justice