2 September 2022, Karlsruhe, Germany: A young woman holding up a sign that says "no faith in fossil fuels"

2 September 2022, Karlsruhe, Germany: Activists demand attention to the climate crisis during a protest at the World Council of Churches' 11th Assembly in Karlsruhe, Germany. The Assembly's theme is "Christ's Love Moves the World to Reconciliation and Unity." 


Six organizations with more than 600 million members in more than 190 countries have written an open letter to the G7 leaders stating their disappointment and calling for further action. In addition to their large membership, Green Anglicans, GreenFaith, Islamic Relief Worldwide, Laudato Si’ Movement, Soka Gakkai International, and the World Council of Churches support an extensive range of humanitarian and educational programs globally.

“We are grateful that you are doing more to address climate change,” their letter stated. “Yet, as many of the world’s wealthiest countries, your governments are still supporting new fossil fuel projects, domestically and internationally.” The organizations then called on G7 leaders to end approvals for new coal, oil and gas projects and fossil fuel subsidies, to contribute to the Loss and Damage Fund established at COP28 and to fund a just energy transition for impacted workers and communities. The religious leaders expressed grave disappointment that in a public communique, G7 leaders described public investment in fossil fuels as “appropriate,” called for an expansion of the gas sector, and blocked an effort to commit to a domestic coal phaseout date of 2030.

The theme of peace figured prominently in the organization’s decision to issue their open letter. “Peace is an essential dimension of our faith,” said Rev. Dr. Kenneth Mtata, director for Public Witness and Diakonia at the World Council of Churches. “Christ’s love calls us to deep solidarity and a quest for justice for those who have contributed to this emergency the least. Fossil fuels contribute today by far most to climate change and the fossil fuel economy must stop now, for the sake of the most vulnerable and coming generations.” 

At COP27, governments approved the creation of a Loss and Damage Fund to provide resources for climate-vulnerable nations. The religious organizations renewed calls which each of them had made for the rapid infusion of funds into this vehicle, and expressed disappointment that the G7 leaders had failed to do so. “It is a moral and ethical imperative for nations to commit to a Fossil Fuel Treaty,” said Shahin Ashraf, head of Global Advocacy, Islamic Relief Worldwide. “It will give a legal imperative to efforts to end exploration and investment and to phase out the use of coal, oil and gas. Only by these means will there be any chance of the world being able to manage adaptation to climate breakdown and addressing loss and damage.”

The religious leaders noted that climate-induced droughts, floods, and extreme weather events damage crops, reduce water availability, and limit access to natural resources. This leads to communal conflict over resources, such as land, water, and food. These changes also place women and girls at increased risk of sexual violence and exploitation. “Most people displaced by climate change are women, who are particularly vulnerable as refugees,” said the Rev. Fletcher Harper, GreenFaith’s executive director. “Our religions teach us that society should honor women, not create the conditions for their violation.”


Read the press release on "Religions Respond to Hiroshima G7:Peace with the Planet Requires a Fossil Fuel Treaty"