WelCom News
A newspaper for the Wellington and Palmerston North Catholic Dioceses

Religious leaders call for Commonwealth climate action

WelCom May 2018:

The Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD) is the Catholic aid agency for England and Wales. Ahead of last month’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London, a forum for leaders of 53 countries to work together to address common problems, CAFOD drafted a letter for Commonwealth faith leaders to sign calling for urgent action on climate change.

More than 170 faith leaders from across the Commonwealth responded and issued a call to governments to turn ‘words into action’ on climate change at the summit in London, 16-20 April. The signatories – including archbishops, church moderators and rabbis – called for the CHOGM politicians to pursue ‘every effort’ to keep global temperature rises below the Paris Agreement target of 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The letter, published in the Daily Telegraph in London and shared with High Commissioners of Commonwealth countries based in London, states that ‘Not even the remotest corner of the Commonwealth remains unaffected’ by the changing climate, with the greatest impact felt by the poorest people in the group of nations.

Signatories from the Oceania region included Cardinal John Ribat, Cardinal Archbishop of Port Moresby, Cardinal John Dew; Bishop Patrick Dunn of Auckland; Director Caritas Aotearoa Director Julianne Hickey; and others from New Zealand.

Faith communities were at the heart of the global push to sign the UN Paris Agreement in 2015. The outcomes of the Commonwealth meeting will be taken forward by the Canadian presidency of the G7.

The faith leaders’ statement is the latest in a series of calls by religious figures for action on climate change at international summits. Several heads of government cited Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si’, as a catalyst for the success of the UN climate talks that resulted in the Paris Agreement in 2015.

The letter is on the web at: cafod.org.uk/News/Campaigning-news/Turn-climate-words-into-action