As the world looks to COP26 – the United Nations' climate change conference scheduled to take place later this year – faith leaders in the event's host city of Glasgow have stepped forward to declare their support for urgent action in the face of climate change.
More than four dozen faith leaders and representatives from Scotland and across the United Kingdom have signed their names to a declaration that states, in part: 'We share a belief in a hopeful future, as well as an obligation to be responsible in caring for our common home, the Earth.'
The declaration was issued earlier this month, reinforcing commitments made in the 2015 Lambeth Declaration. The faith leaders say it is necessary to reinforce their previous statements because of 'the gravity of our situation, the impact of climate change around the world and the inequality of its effects.'
As part of the declaration, faith leaders are urging the world's governments to remember and hold to the commitments they made as part of the 2015 Paris Agreement. A key element of that treaty was setting a goal to limit global warming to 1.5ºC – a challenge that takes on greater urgency seemingly by the day, as the effects of climate change become impossible to ignore.
To that end, the faith leaders have expressed concern that 'the burden of [climate change-induced] loss and damage falls most heavily on people living in poverty, especially women and children.'
'We look to governments to work together and with others to create a positive vision for 2050,' the declaration states. 'Addressing climate change is not just an opportunity to stop burning fossil fuels, but also: to achieve cleaner air and water; to reduce food wastage; to ensure a just and equitable sharing of the earth’s resources; and to protect the habitats we share with all other life on whose health we also depend.'
COP26 takes place in Glasgow on 1-12 November 2021. To read the faith leaders' declaration in full, visit the Religions for Peace website.