Faith leaders along with Pope Francis on Monday requested political action for climate change ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) scheduled for November 1-13 in Glasgow, Scotland.
The Pope and the faith leaders also presented a joint declaration to Alok Sharma, the president-designate of the COP26 summit, and to Luigi di Maio, Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs.
In his address to the participants at a meeting, Pope Francis expressed gratitude for their presence, which shows a “desire for a deepened dialogue among ourselves and with scientific experts” and proposed three concepts to guide their reflection: Openness to interdependence and sharing, the dynamism of love, and the call to respect.
“COP26 represents an urgent summons to provide effective responses to the unprecedented ecological crisis and the crisis of values that we are presently experiencing, and in this way to offer concrete hope to future generations,” said the Pope.
He said “care for our common home is also a call to respect: respect for creation, respect for our neighbour, respect for ourselves and for the creator”.
Responding to the ‘religious’ call, Sharma said in a tweet: “An honour to receive, together with @luigidimaio, the #Faith4COP26 Appeal from His Holiness Pope Francis. This is a critical message to the world and world leaders ahead of #COP26 #G20.”
The latest report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a United Nations organisation, is a stark warning from scientists around the world that human activity is damaging the planet at an alarming rate.
The report warns that climate change is already affecting every region across the globe and that without urgent action to limit warming, heatwaves, heavy precipitation, droughts, and loss of Arctic Sea ice, snow cover and permafrost, will all increase while carbon sinks will become less effective at slowing the growth of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
The report highlights that cutting global emissions, starting immediately, to net zero by mid-century would give a good chance of limiting global warming to 1.5C in the long-term and help to avoid the worst effects of climate change.
As extreme events are felt across the globe, from wildfires in North America to floods in China, across Europe, India and parts of Africa, and heatwaves in Siberia, COP President Sharma has been negotiating with governments and businesses to increase global climate ambition and take immediate action to help halve global emissions in the next decade and reach net zero emissions by mid-century in order to keep the 1.5C goal set out in the Paris Agreement within reach.
The UK is already showing leadership with clear plans to reduce its emissions by 68 per cent by 2030 and 78 per cent by 2035, leading to net zero by 2050.
Today, more than 70 per cent of the world’s economy is now covered by a net zero target — up from 30 per cent when the UK took over as incoming COP Presidency.
Some progress has been made since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015. More than 85 new or updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to 2030, representing over 110 parties, have been submitted to set out how countries will cut their emissions and address the climate crisis.