Statement from the World Council of Churches

To the High-Level Ministerial Segment of the

18th Session of the Conference of the Parties – COP18 to the UNFCCC

8th Session of the Meeting of the Parties – CMP8 to the Kyoto Protocol

Doha – Qatar

Friday, 7 December 2012

Mr President, His Excellency Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah

Distinguished Participants,

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

“By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

Genesis 3:19

As in previous statements, we reiterate that a change in paradigm appears as mandatory in the prevailing economic strategy of promoting endless growth and a seemingly insatiable level of consumption among the high-consuming sectors of our societies. Such economic and consumption patterns are leading to the depletion of critical natural resources and to extremely dangerous implications with climate change and development. We are living on a finite world with finite resources and within given planetary boundaries making obviously that infinite growth in consumption of energy and resources is impossible in a finite system.

As people of faith concerned for our sisters and brothers, we come to Doha extremely worried about food security as the severe shortages in crops face us with the prospect of horrific humanitarian crises that should be avoided. The present situation at world food markets, exemplified by sharp increases in wheat, soybean and corn prices compels leaders to act urgently to be sure that these outstanding high prices do not drive into an appalling scenario, harming tens of millions.

The above described situation that release in many variables as how we produce trade and consume food as well as millions of human beings to be fed every year, is worsened by the fact that only a handful of nations are large producers of staple food commodities. This year we realized how a disastrous drought in the USA, the worst in half a century, as well as in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan, sent grain prices skyrocketing. With the menace of human-induced 2 climate change incrementing extreme weather events, increasing water scarcity and negatively impacting agro-meteorological conditions in the tropics and subtropics, the world is at high risk of see this state of affairs to devastate societies.

Time has arrived to promote more sustainable and climate resilient food production to urgently make more food available to sustain the human family especially in the most vulnerable societies, ill prepared to deal with food scarcity. Moreover, diversion of food stock for non-food purposes and financial speculation are unethical and immoral.

Our stance is not to formulate policies, a task of the Parties, but to demand urgent and achievable policies bringing to the Parties our concern about essential values and principles as well as the distress and voice of the actors that are not normally heard.

We need to call your attention that the Framework Convention focalized in ethical principles as The Principle of Intergenerational Equity that declares "the Parties should protect the climate system for the benefit of present and future generations of humankind." Let be remembered by our children and our children's children as the decision makers that responsibly addressed climate change, one of the major challenges humanity have ever faced, and avoided a major calamity for the Earth and humanity. Let be reminded, that our generation is probably the very last generation having it in our hands to still limit global warming to less than 2ºC while future generations won’t have this freedom of choice but will have to adapt to climate patterns we have left to them.

Parties’ negotiators have not yet translated declarations on tackling climate change to a fair, ambitious and legally binding regime to all parties. From our perspective it is most crucial to achieve that outcome by 2015 at the latest. As pre-requisites, we consider (i) the ratification of the 2nd Commitment Period of the Kyoto Protocol by as many Parties as possible in Doha, (ii) complementary mitigation pledges of the non-signees of the 2nd CP under the Convention, (iii) the successful closure of the LCA track including the carry-over of important negotiation issues like adaptation, climate finance and loss and damage to the new ADP negotiation mandate, (iv) continuation and scaling up of climate finance for developing countries, and (v) the agreement on an ambitious negotiation mandate with roadmap, milestones and a chairmanship being empowered to give the guidance needed. We pray that you will demonstrate leadership in responding to the cry of the Earth.

The World Council of Churches believes that the whole Earth community deserves to benefit from the bounties of creation. Faith communities are addressing climate change because it is a spiritual and ethical issue of justice, equity, solidarity, sufficiency and sustainability.

Climate change is happening! It is imperative to act now without more delays in view of the serious and potentially irreversible impacts of climate change.