Australian religious leaders join global call for ambitious climate action

Interfaith Climate Change Statement presentation. Photo credit: Paul Hunt: WCC

Interfaith Climate Change Statement presentation. Photo credit: Paul Hunt: WCC

The world’s religious leaders have united to call on governments to take urgent action on climate change. At a colourful multifaith ceremony, Ambassador Mogens Lykketoft, President of the UN General Assembly took delivery of the Interfaith Climate Change Statement to World Leaders signed by 270 high-level religious leaders, 4970 individuals and 176 religious groups from around the world.

Australian signatories – including the presidents of the Australian Hindu and Imams councils, the Federation of Australian Buddhist Councils and the National Council of Churches in Australia – joined Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo – Chancellor of the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences of the Holy See, the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Pakistani grand imam Maulana Khabir Azad, Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit – General Secretary of the World Council of Churches and more than 250 of their international counterparts to sign the Interfaith Climate Change Statement.

The interfaith statement says governments must urgently ratify the landmark Paris Climate Change Agreement and reduce emissions to stop global temperature rise. It urges the swift phase-out of fossil fuel subsidies and the acceleration of renewable energy investment to limit global temperature rise to no more than 1.5C above industrial levels.

“This and other religious initiatives demonstrate that climate change is now firmly accepted as a moral issue”, Mr. Lykketoft said. “The Statement shows how religions can be a catalyst for common action. You are telling your followers that you recognize the seriousness of climate change, its impacts on the vitality of the planet and the wellbeing of humanity. You are demanding action to be taken now. “

“Most of the action will have to come from individuals. The faith community is part of the broader Civil Society movement and plays an absolutely critical role in reaching out to followers to change their behavior and demand smart policies. An initiative like this makes me confident that we can and will succeed.“

Catholic Earthcare Australia’s Philippa Rowland represented Australia at the handing over ceremony. “It’s deeply encouraging to see all faiths calling for urgent action on climate change, given clear signs from the science and the environment itself,” Mrs Rowland said.

“The current global coral bleaching event affecting the Great Barrier Reef is just one example of Australia’s vulnerability to global warming and the impacts are far worse for our Pacific neighbours.”

Tomas Insua, Founding Co-ordinator of the 300 member Global Catholic Climate Movement reported that a group travelling to the North Pole with a copy of the Pope´s Encyclical ´Laudato Si´ was being delayed by ice cracks, showing the severely threatened status of the Arctic Ice. “We are very concerned at the huge gap between nice words and actual actions from governments,” he noted. “This is a spiritual crisis. We call for climate justice towards all humanity and all species.”

A full list of the signatories to the Interfaith Climate Change Statement to World Leaders here:


Source :
Catholic Earthcare