Rev. Grape reads the statement of the faith communities to the high level segment of COP24. Photo: UNFCCC

Rev. Grape reads the statement of the faith communities to the high level segment of COP24. Photo: UNFCCC

“At COP24, there is a great responsibility for all politicians to get the necessary agreements to save the planet. This is a political and moral task that goes far beyond any national border”, said Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), in a tweet posted on 14 December, the eve of the closure of the United Nations climate conference underway in Katowice, Poland.

“We know what is needed to do, and how to do it. Now is the time to do it. Now”, added Tveit.

On 13 December, Rev. Henrik Grape, coordinator of the WCC’s Working Group on Climate Change, was the reader of a statement of the faith communities to the high level segment of the of 24thConference of the Parties (COP24) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

“Humanity stands today in front of the largest global challenge we ever seen, and a huge transition must be made if we want to overcome it. We come together from different faith communities at COP24 to underline that climate change cannot be met if it does not involve justice”, he said.

According to the faith communities’ message, the urgency of the situation gives humanity only a decade to turn the emissions down to keep the temperature rise under 1.5 but that requires a huge and fast transition that must be guided but is a principle of justice and human rights.

“Many of our members, constituencies, partners and communities are at the forefront of destructive climate change impacts: they are losing their livelihoods, homes, lands, identities, cultures and lives. Our faiths demand that we act for the protection of the vulnerable and as caretakers of Mother Earth”, reads the statement.

The document also urges “radical mitigation and adaptation measures, technological innovations, profound lifestyle changes, supportive and well-coordinated national and global policies and institutional arrangements, as well as deep-seated transformations in the way we invest, produce, and consume”.

In Katowice, the WCC Working Group on Climate Change worked together with ecumenical and interfaith partners to stress the moral and ethical dimension of climate change.

“Together with many other faith-based organization we submitted an Interfaith submission to the UNFCCC process in the so-called Talanoa Dialogue, which was well received by UNFCCC secretariat”, added Grape.

Read the full statement of the faith communities to COP24

COP24: “Time for reflection and deliberation is long gone”, says Ecumenical Patriarch - WCC news release 11 December 2018

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