Pope Francis and 40 religious leaders call for urgent action to fight climate change: “Future generations will never forgive us”

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In an unprecedented response to the “grave threat” to all people around the world from climate change, Pope Francis and some 40 religious leaders representing the world’s major religions have joined a call for urgent action . Signed today, October 4, at the Vatican and addressed to all governments participating in the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, from October 31 to November 12, the call calls for decisive international political action to fight climate change and “to safeguard, restore and heal our wounded humanity and the home entrusted to our stewardship.”

The Glasgow summit aims to accelerate progress towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

“Future generations will never forgive us if we miss the opportunity to protect our common home. We inherited a garden, we must not leave a desert to our children.

Religious leaders make up about 84 percent of the world’s population who identify with one faith and come from major Christian denominations, the two main branches of Islam (Sunni and Shia), Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism and Jainism. Christians present at the signing at the Vatican included Pope Francis; Bartholomew I, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople; Metropolitan Hilarion of the Russian Orthodox Church, representing Patriarch Kirill; and Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury, representing the Anglican Communion. Among the Muslim representatives were the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmad Muhammad Al-Tayyeb (Egypt) and Ayatollah Seyed Mostafa Mohaghegh Damad of the Academy of Sciences of Tehran (Iran), while the global Jewish community was represented by Rabbi Noam Marans of the International Jewish Committee for Interfaith Consultations.

Six years ago, before the UN-sponsored climate change conference in Paris in 2015, Pope Francis released the encyclical “Laudato Si ‘“; this document is widely recognized as having made a significant contribution to getting many governments to support the Paris Climate Agreement, in which 195 countries pledged to keep the global temperature rise below two degrees Celsius.

Today’s call is the result of a series of virtual monthly dialogues between religious leaders and scientists throughout 2021 that were initiated and organized by the British and Italian Embassies to the Holy See in collaboration with the Holy See. These dialogues culminated with an event this morning in the Vatican Hall of Blessings in which each of the religious leaders signed the appeal. After the signing, Pope Francis handed over the appeal to the President-Delegate of COP26, Alok Sharma, of the United Kingdom, who is hosting the United Nations conference in partnership with Italy, and to Luigi Di Maio, the Minister Italian for Foreign Affairs.

In brief remarks, Pope Francis thanked the other religious leaders for their presence, which, he said, “clearly shows our desire for an in-depth dialogue among ourselves and with scientific experts”. Although the Pope was scheduled to speak for 10 minutes, he limited his speech to two minutes and invited attendees to read his full speech in the written text provided to attendees.

“The COP26 in Glasgow represents an urgent convocation to provide effective responses to the unprecedented ecological crisis and the crisis of values ​​that we are currently experiencing, and thus offer concrete hope to future generations,” wrote Pope Francis. “We want to accompany it with our commitment and our spiritual closeness.

America has learned from Vatican sources that ahead of his visit to COP26, Pope Francis will receive US President Joseph R. Biden Jr. in a private audience on October 29.

Today’s gathering, “which brings together many cultures and spiritualities in a spirit of brotherhood, can only strengthen our awareness that we are members of the same human family. Each of us has our own religious beliefs and spiritual traditions, but no cultural, political or social border or barrier prevents us from staying together, ”he wrote. “To enlighten and guide this openness, let’s commit ourselves to a future shaped by interdependence and co-responsibility.

In their appeal, religious leaders underscored the urgent need for urgent action during this decade, especially by countries that are primarily responsible for the carbon emissions that cause climate change and the disasters it produces. They called on the world to limit the increase in global average temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels for the immediate future and to achieve net carbon emissions as soon as possible (and no later than 2050) .

They also called on the richer countries and those with the greatest responsibility to step up climate action at home by reducing carbon emissions and financially helping vulnerable countries adapt and tackle climate change. The call also called for a transition to clean energy and sustainable land use practices and responsible development finance by financial institutions, banks and investors.

“Our beliefs and spiritualities teach the duty to care for the human family and the environment in which it lives,” the document said. “We are deeply interdependent with each other and with the natural world. We are not unlimited masters of our planet and its resources.

“Future generations will never forgive us if we miss the opportunity to protect our common home. We inherited a garden, we must not leave a desert to our children.

More than 100 heads of state are expected at COP26. Pope Francis is expected to attend the opening session of the COP26 conference in Glasgow on November 1, and he may also meet Queen Elizabeth II on that visit, although the Vatican has yet to confirm this. America has learned from Vatican sources that ahead of his visit to COP26, Pope Francis will receive US President Joseph R. Biden Jr. in a private audience at the Vatican Apostolic Palace on October 29. President Biden will be in Italy to attend the G20 summit of heads of state in Rome on October 30 and 31.


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