Photo: Albin Hillert/WCC

Photo: Albin Hillert/WCC

Citing the latest studies from the United Nations, the World Council of Churches (WCC) has sounded the alarm about immediate measures needed to prevent or mitigate the worst damage from climate change.

In a statement from its executive committee, in session 2-8 November in Uppsala, Sweden, the WCC urges the UN at its upcoming climate conference, COP 24 in Katowice, Poland, 2-15 December 2018, to ramp up pledges from participating nations, in order to be able still to meet the agreed-upon goal of no more than 1.5°C increase in global temperatures.

“There is no more time to waste in short-term self-interestedness,” the statement says. “Urgent adaptation and mitigation measures, transformation of economic systems, deep behavioural change, and supportive national and global policies and institutional arrangements are needed now to avoid potentially catastrophic consequences of climate change.”

As the statement notes, “The challenge is one of scale and speed. Current government commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions as part of the Paris Agreement are vastly insufficient to limit warming to the more ambitious target of 1.5°C” and  “none of the major industrialized nations are meeting their pledged emission reduction targets”

Such changes toward a fully sustainable global economy need to prioritize the poor, the global fellowship of churches asserts. “Amidst all these shifts, our Christian faith calls us to ensure that ‘the least among us’ are not made to pay the price for a global ecological problem to which they contributed the least.”

The statement also positions the needed changes in technologies, economies, lifestyles, and spiritualities within the larger framework of the biblical message.

“Today the world stands in front of a great transition,” it states.  “If we are to build a future of wellbeing for coming generations, the profound understanding of being one humanity on one Earth created by a loving and faithful God so that ‘they may have life, and have it abundantly.’ (John 10:10), must be internalised at all levels of society, from individuals to the global community. The biblical teaching, ‘the earth is the Lord's and all that is in it’ (Psalm 24:1), must be reaffirmed in this time of climate change.”

Read the full statement on climate-justice imperatives

WCC work on care for creation and climate justice