Among the members of the executive committee of the World Council of Churches (WCC) meeting in Bossey, Switzerland on 7-12 November 2022, there are those whose communities and nations are already facing catastrophic impacts of climate change but whose urgent appeals other members of the international community have failed to heed. WCC representatives are joining ecumenical, interfaith and civil society partners at the 27th Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 27) in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, in urgent advocacy for change, for metanoia.

We join together in prayer, both for the present and future victims of this human-made catastrophe, and for our sisters and brothers at COP 27 who continue to witness for collective international solidarity and urgent action to confront this common existential threat and for climate justice.

We recall and affirm the WCC 11th Assembly’s statement on ”The Living Planet: Seeking a Just and Sustainable Global Community[1], and the appeals it expresses to governments and to member churches and ecumenical partners. We share the sense of urgency in the UN Secretary-General’s own impassioned words: “We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator. Our planet is fast approaching tipping points that will make climate chaos irreversible.”

COP 27 is a critical occasion for governments to together re-envision, develop, commit to and implement a roadmap towards a fossil fuel-free, post-growth, equitable and sustainable tomorrow, and to tackle the greatest existential challenge to life on the planet.

In support of the efforts being undertaken at COP 27, the WCC executive committee therefore calls on governments to deliver:

  • More ambitious commitments and effective action - especially by countries with both the greatest historical responsibilities for climate change and the largest financial and technological capacities - to rapidly reverse the rate of greenhouse gas emissions;
  • Sufficient, timely and additional climate finance for vulnerable and developing countries to enable them to mitigate and adapt to climate change, especially in the agricultural sector;
  • A ’loss and damage’ financing facility to compensate communities and countries on the frontline of climate impacts and to support their efforts in building resilience; and
  • International cooperation to halt the expansion of fossil fuels now and manage a just transition away from coal, oil and gas.

We reiterate the call from the 11th Assembly for all member churches and ecumenical partners around the world “to give the climate emergency the priority attention that a crisis of such unprecedented and all-encompassing dimensions deserves, both in word and deed”, and to “take all such actions as we are able in our own contexts to help drive a just transition to a sustainable future.”

Teach me your way O Lord, that I may walk in your truth.” (Psalm 86:11)