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Faith leaders deliver ultimatum to global leaders as climate pledges fall short

17 November 2022

Albin Hillert

Iga Adorenke Motunrayo of Corporate Accountability International (centre) with marchers on Thursday calling for a reparations fund at the COP27 venue, after representatives from a variety of civil-society constituencies presented a People’s Declaration on Climate Justice to delegates

Iga Adorenke Motunrayo of Corporate Accountability International (centre) with marchers on Thursday calling for a reparations fund at the COP27 venue,...

FAITH leaders have come together at the COP27 climate talks in Egypt to call on countries to make drastic improvements to the draft of the final “decision text”, which sums up what has been agreed at the summit.

More than 60 faith leaders are in attendance in Sharm El-Sheikh, representing millions of believers. On Thursday they expressed their concerned at the slow progress on agreeing key issues, and the omission of many elements that are being called for by vulnerable communities. In a letter addressed to the national leaders and their climate negotiators, they say: “As faith leaders we raise our collective voices and call on world leaders and their representatives at COP27 to make the bold decisions necessary and ensure that there are clear and concrete outcomes from this COP.

“While negotiations stall, people are dying, and livelihoods are being lost as a result of the impact of climate change. The COP27 negotiations are slow and lacking in ambition. Time is running out, and it is unacceptable if world leaders do not take clear and decisive action within the few remaining days of COP 27.”

Among the signatories are the Primate of the Anglican Province of Alexandria and Bishop of Egypt, the Most Revd Samy Fawzi Shehata; the secretary-general of the World Methodist Council, the Rt Revd Ivan Abrahams; and Archbishop Thomas Schirrmacher of the World Evangelical Alliance.

They particularly highlight the absence of any new pledge to cut emissions, as well as the shortage of financial support to vulnerable countries to help them adapt to the impacts of climate change. They also call for the creation of a special loss-and-damage fund to compensate people who are dealing with impacts of climate change that cannot be reversed.

“Global South leaders are raising the alarm, particularly small island states that are losing their territories, biodiversity, culture, and identity,” the letter says.

Some of the signatories come from some of the most climate-vulnerable parts of the world. They include the Revd Dennis Nthenge, of the Green Anglicans Movement in Kenya; the Revd Christine Benoit, from the Anglican diocese of the Seychelles; and Angelus Michael from the National Council of Churches in India.

They write: “The developing countries negotiating are united in their desire to deliver a loss-and-damage fund at this COP. The richer countries who have already had the privilege to develop need to show solidarity and political leadership.”

Pressure is building on the United States, which is believed to be one of the chief blocks to the creation of a loss-and-damage fund.

Joe Ware is a senior climate journalist at Christian Aid.

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