Christian leaders have petitioned officials worldwide to take action to address the climate crisis. In an unprecedented move, heads of several Christian denominations released a joint statement to encourage climate action ahead of key environmental conferences. The heads of the Roman Catholic Church, Anglican Communion, and Eastern Orthodox Church issued a joint statement last week, calling on global leaders to address two key issues: social inequality and climate change.
The statement, seemingly directed toward the upcoming COP26 U.N. climate summit, sums up the current climate crisis. The statement urges leaders to take action to avoid a much worse scenario in the future.
“Today, we are paying the price,” the statement said. “All of us—whoever and wherever we are—can play a part in changing our collective response to the unprecedented threat of climate change and environmental degradation…. Our children’s future and the future of our common home depend on it.”
The statement points out that those most affected by the climate crisis are the poor, saying, “the people bearing the most catastrophic consequences of these abuses are the poorest on the planet and have been the least responsible for causing them.” In contrast, the people most responsible for environmental damage are the wealthy.
In November, Pope Francis will attend the COP26 U.N. Summit in Scotland. He has appealed to Christians to pray for world leaders to make courageous choices at the meeting. Church support could play a key role in climate negotiations. There are also plans to host major world religious leaders and scientists at the Vatican to forge a “common stand” on climate issues.
Still, the community has its skeletons in the closet. Archbishop Justin Welby of the Anglican Commission, a co-signer of the statement, has been criticized for his contribution to carbon emissions. Welby, a former oil executive, hasn’t divested his Church of England from fossil fuel companies. He claims the church may hold more sway in changing the industry as an investor.
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