Pope, world religious leaders launch pre-COP26 appeal on climate change


  • Call calls for net zero carbon emissions as soon as possible
  • The increase in global temperature is expected to be limited to 1.5 degrees C.
  • Pope expected to attend start of Glasgow meeting
  • COP26 must respond to an “unprecedented ecological crisis”

VATICAN CITY, October 4 (Reuters) – Pope Francis and other religious leaders on Monday launched a joint appeal for next month’s United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) to come up with concrete solutions to save the planet of an “unprecedented ecological crisis”.

The Faith and Science: Towards COP26 meeting brought together Christian leaders, including the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew, as well as representatives of Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism and Jainism.

“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 to offer concrete hope to future generations”, declared the Pope.

“We want to accompany it with our commitment and our spiritual closeness”, he declared in a speech which he gave to the participants instead of reading it, in order to give more time to the other leaders to s’ Express.

The joint appeal by religious leaders, who called climate change a “serious threat”, was handed to Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio and Britain’s Alok Sharma, president of COP26 in Glasgow.

“The climate crisis is great and is our fault,” Sharma told them.

Welby, spiritual leader of the world’s Anglicans, called for a “global financial architecture that repents of past sins,” including changes in tax rules to promote green business.


“For the past 100 years, we have declared war on creation… Our war on climate affects the poorest of us,” Welby said.

The call urges all governments to adopt plans to help limit the rise in average global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and achieve net carbon emissions as soon as possible.

The richest countries must take the initiative to reduce their own emissions and finance the emission reductions of the poorest countries, he said.

“We implore the international community, gathered at COP26, to take swift, responsible and shared action to safeguard, restore and heal our wounded humanity and the home entrusted to our stewardship,” said the summary of the appeal, which said been read at the start of the meeting.

Several leaders stressed that no nation can go it alone.

“If a nation sinks, we all sink,” said Rajwant Singh, a Sikh leader from the United States, who sang a poem for the participants.

In his written speech, Francis said that cultural and religious differences should be seen as a strength, not a weakness, in defending the environment.

“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 said.

Vatican Foreign Minister Archbishop Paul Gallagher told Reuters on Sunday that he hoped Monday’s meeting could “raise ambitions” on what can be achieved in Glasgow. Read more

The bishops of Scotland said in July that the Pope would attend the opening of COP26, health permitting. A decision is expected in the coming days. Read more

Francis, 84, strongly supports the goals of the 2015 UN Paris Agreement to reduce global warming. He told young people this weekend that theirs was “maybe the last generation” to save the planet.

US President Joe Biden returned the United States to the Paris Accords after his predecessor Donald Trump withdrew it. Biden and the Pope are expected to meet at the Vatican in late October.

Reporting by Philip Pullella Editing by Gareth Jones

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