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Church leaders call for more than pledges, ahead of Paris climate summit

30 October 2015

by Joe Ware in Bonn


Handed over: the religious and spiritual leaders' statement is delivered to Christiana Figueres, at the conference in Bonn, last week

Handed over: the religious and spiritual leaders' statement is delivered to Christiana Figueres, at the conference in Bonn, last week

THE Prince of Wales and leaders of the Roman Catholic Church from five continents have called for action to limit climate change in the run-up to the UN climate summit in Paris in December, as preparatory talks in Bonn, Germany, come to a close.

The last round of negotiations before nations meet in Paris ended with agreement on a draft document that will form the basis of talks at the summit, known as COP21 (the 21st Conference of the Parties).

More than 150 countries, including China and the United States, have submitted their national pledges, outlining how they will limit greenhouse-gas emissions. Despite the progress made, however, these pledges alone will not be enough to prevent dangerous climate change of 2°C above pre-industrial levels (currently at 0.85°C).

Vulnerable countries and civil society are calling for the inclusion of a five-year review system to “ratchet” up action. Christian Aid’s senior climate adviser, Mohamed Adow, said: “Without a ratchet mechanism, the Paris agreement will be like building a beautiful car with no engine. Avoiding dangerous climate change is our destination, and the ratchet mechanism is what will get us there.”

Another key issue to be resolved in Paris will be the financial support promised by rich countries to poor countries, to allow them to develop in a low-carbon way.

Yesterday, the executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Christiana Figueres, was scheduled to come to London to discuss the impact that the Paris deal will have on the investment and fossil-fuel sectors.

At the event, a video message from Prince Charles was to be played, where he challenged investors to consider divesting from fossil-fuel assets, and to invest in sectors that supported the low-carbon economy.

Elsewhere, RC cardinals and bishops from around the world laid out a ten-point proposal calling on nations to strike a deal in Paris that set a mid-century date for the decarbonisation of the global economy.

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