World Council of Churches
13-18 November 2015
Doc. No. 33
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the water. (Psalm 24)
The Executive Committee of the World Council of Churches (WCC) met in Bogis-Bossey, Switzerland, on 13-18 November 2015, in the lead-up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21) in Paris on 30 November-11 December 2015. After more than 20 years of UN negotiations, this major conference has to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C.
The Executive Committee affirms the longstanding ecumenical commitment to promoting effective intergovernmental, social and individual action to address climate change, as a key challenge for human stewardship of God’s precious and unique creation. Among other expressions of this commitment, we recall the position on Climate Justice adopted by the WCC 10th Assembly, in Busan, Republic of Korea, on 8 November 2013. The Assembly acknowledged that climate change is one of today’s most challenging global threats affecting especially the most vulnerable people, but that it has lost priority in public and political agendas and that climate change negotiations at the international level have not realized the stated goals.
The Executive Committee also affirms the recent ‘Statement of Faith and Spiritual Leaders’ issued for the purpose of the forthcoming Climate Change Conference in Paris, particularly the key demand for a fair, ambitious and legally binding global deal applicable to all countries in order to definitively phase out greenhouse gas emissions and phase in 100% renewable energy by the middle of the century, to limit global warming to below 2°C.
Along with the signatories to the ‘Statement of Faith and Spiritual Leaders’, the Executive Committee affirms that the Paris Climate Change Conference is the right moment to translate human and ecological stewardship into concrete climate action, to show inter-generational responsibility, to initiate unprecedented individual, economic and structural transformation, and to pursue climate justice.
In the context of the forthcoming Paris conference, we reiterate the 10th Assembly’s call to churches and ecumenical organizations to insist that their respective governments look beyond national interests in order to be responsible towards God’s creation and our common home, and urge them to safeguard and promote the basic human rights of those whose existence is threatened by the effects of climate change. The Executive Committee calls on all WCC member churches, and all people of good will, urgently to demand that governments grasp this opportunity for global action on this millennial challenge.
To all those engaged in the struggle for climate justice, and all those exerting their efforts to protect the beauty, diversity and sustainability of the natural environment of this earth, the Executive Committee expresses its solidarity and support. We pray that they may be strengthened and encouraged in this righteous and essential work for the integrity of God’s creation.