Anglicans and other Christian leaders demand action on climate change

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Then UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses the opening of the high-level ministerial meeting of the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris. Photo: Eskinder Debebe/UN Photo

Five Anglican archbishops have joined other Christian leaders in calling for governments to implement the promises they made at the Paris Climate Change talks.

Political leaders from 197 nations will gather in Bonn, Germany, next month for the next phase of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23). In an open letter, Christian leaders are urging them to “keep the promises they made in the Paris Agreement, to restore the natural balance.”

The letter was signed by five archbishops: Thabo Makgoba of Southern Africa, Winston Halapua of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Albert Chama of Central Africa, Philip Freier of Australia, and Francisco De Assis Da Silva of Brazil. The letter was also signed by two bishops, Jwan Zhumbes of Bukuru in Nigeria, and Robert Innes from the Church of England’s Diocese in Europe.

The letter was coordinated by Renew Our World, a Christian partnership bringing together several faith-based groups.

Renew Our World says that next month’s COP23 meeting is “the crucial next step for our world is to take urgent action on climate solutions, before it’s too late.” It added: “We already won the commitment of almost every country in the landmark 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. But now it is time to hold our governments accountable to those commitments, and make sure we turn the Paris Agreement into reality. We must make sure our leaders keep their promises.

“This year is critically important, especially since President Trump indicated he wants to withdraw the US from the agreement. Now is the crucial time for our world to band together, focus, and rise to meet our commitments to protect people and planet.”

The letter has also been signed by more than 580 other Christian leaders, including Bishop Efraim Tendero of the World Evangelical Alliance, human rights activist Denis Mukwege, Pete Greig of the 24-7 prayer movement, U.S. singer Nichole Nordeman, and Laura Vargas from the Inter-religious Council of Peru.

It says: “as Christians across the globe we are calling for action on climate change. The changing climate is causing great damage to people and planet right now, and we are particularly concerned about hunger and poverty hitting the most vulnerable communities, who did least to cause it.”

The letter calls on world leaders to set targets for the worldwide reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, invest in 100% clean energy, support sustainable, low emission agriculture, and publish national country plans in 2020 showing how each nation will move to zero emissions.

“This is our generation’s challenge, a significant part of how we love our neighbours,” the letter says. “We’re committing to respond as Christians by living more sustainably, praying, and raising our voices; we’re asking every member of the church – the world’s largest network – to join in, alongside many others, and every national leader to lead the way.”

The open letter is available to sign as an online petition through renewourworld.net.

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