Anglicans urged to pray, work for renewed climate commitment

By ENS staff
Posted Nov 18, 2011

[Episcopal News Service] Members of the worldwide Anglican Communion are being challenged to pray for the success of pending 17th Conference of Parties negotiations on climate change and to sign the “We have faith: Act now for climate justice” petition calling for a renewed commitment to tackling climate change.

The 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the 7th Session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the parties to the Kyoto Protocol, will be held Nov. 28 – Dec. 9 in Durban, South Africa

“Despite 17 years of negotiations to cut warming emissions, current global pledges to cut emissions leave Earth on track for between 2.5 and 4 degrees of warming, widely agreed to be catastrophic,” the Rev. Canon Rachel Mash, environmental coordinator of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa and member of the Anglican Communion Environmental Network, said in an Anglican Communion News Service release.

“There is little sign that the world’s nations are truly serious about making the emissions cuts that are so urgently needed. Short-term economic growth is threatening the prospects for global long-term human development,” she said.

When the Conference of Parties gathers in Durban, a primary focus will be securing a global climate agreement as the Kyoto Protocol’s first commitment period (2008 – 2012) comes to an end, according to the ACNS release.

It is also likely that there will be a focus on finalizing at least some of the Cancun Agreements reached at COP16 in 2010, such as cooperation on clean technology, as well as forest protection, adaptation to climate impacts, and finance, in particular the promised transfer of funds from rich countries to poor in order to help them protect forests, adapt to climate impacts, and “green” their economies.

“It is fitting that this gathering takes place on African soil,” said Mash, “because although Africans are responsible for a tiny proportion of global emissions (with the noted exception of South Africa), Southern Africa is warming at about twice the global average rate.”

African nations will be among the most affected, she added, and will be threatened by unprecedented droughts, floods, extreme weather, diminishing food security, poverty, forced migration and increased conflict.

Faith leaders will gather at a rally in Durban, South Africa, on Nov. 27 to pray for the success of the climate change negotiations. Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu will hand over the “We have faith: Act now for climate justice” petition to the leader of the COP 17 gathering.