FaithInvest and its partners have welcomed the urgent call for action to save the planet from 'an unprecedented ecological crisis' issued today by Pope Francis and 40 religious leaders regarding climate change.
Urging 'the international community to raise their ambition' ahead of the United Nations' climate conference, COP26, next month, the faith leaders – representing Christian denominations, both Sunni and Shi’a Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism, Zoroastrianism and Jainism – met today at the Vatican to issue their appeal to world leaders.
Included in that appeal were:
Calls for the world to achieve net-zero carbon emissions as soon as possible and limit the global average temperature rise to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels;
An appeal to wealthier nations to take the lead on climate action, both in local action and in helping vulnerable countries to adapt to and address climate change;
Insistence that governments be more proactive in their thinking and open to international cooperation to facilitate a transition to clean energy, sustainable land use practices and environmentally friendly food systems;
Calls for banks and investors to 'adopt responsible financing'.
In addition, the faith leaders committed themselves to increased action, promising to do more in terms of educating and influencing members of their traditions, as well as actively participating in the public debate on environmental issues. They said they would also support action to green their community assets, such as properties and investments – and to 'align our financial investments with environmentally and socially responsible standards'.
On these latter points FaithInvest is especially heartened as these are very much the aims of the newly launched Faith Plans for People and Planet initiative. Organised in conjunction with the WWF's Beliefs and Values Programme, it is already the largest and most ambitious environmental initiative ever launched by the world's faiths.
'The Faith Plans programme is the manifestation of the Pope's words in action,' said FaithInvest CEO Martin Palmer. 'This is the real, concrete action that is being called for – faiths signing up to develop Faith Plans are committing to use their buildings, land, investments, purchasing power and influence to drive real change to combat the greatest challenge this planet has ever faced.
'Given the size of their assets and influence, faiths alone, through their actions, could make the crucial difference to the world's efforts to halt irreversible climate change and reverse environmental destruction.'
Already scores of faiths have signed up to develop plans but we know that hundreds, if not thousands, are likely to join the Movement in coming months, thanks to our partners which are working with their own networks to encourage their members to develop Faith Plans.
Full details of the individual Plans will be announced at the Stockholm+50 meeting next year. The plans will then be implemented over the following seven to 10 years, depending on the faiths' individual timescales.
You can find both the address by Pope Francis to the faith leaders and the Joint Appeal by the faith leaders here