UK bishops join leaders of other major faiths to demand climate action at COP26 in Glasgow

Posted Sep 21, 2021

[Church of England] The new declaration from representatives of religious communities across the United Kingdom calls for people to be “advocates for justice” ahead of the Glasgow summit.

Graham Usher, bishop of Norwich, and lead bishop on the Environment for the Church of England, signed the letter alongside leaders of every major Christian denomination and representatives from Baha’i, Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh communities.

The declaration states: “We remind governments of their commitments made in Paris in 2015 to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, and of Article 17 of the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights to protect the environment, the biosphere and biodiversity.

“We call upon them to take the urgent action needed to avert the loss, damage, and forced migration threatened by climate change.”

Adding: “Across our doctrinal and political differences, we know that we must change our ways to ensure a quality of life which all can share, and we need to provide hope for people of all ages, everywhere, including future generations.

“To offer hope in the world we need to have confidence that those in power understand the vital role they have to play at the Glasgow COP26.”

The new multi-faith declaration builds on the 2015 Lambeth Declaration and this month’s statement signed by the archbishop of Canterbury, the Pope, and the Ecumenical Patriarch.

The three Christian leaders warned of the urgency of environmental sustainability, its impact on poverty, and the importance of global cooperation ahead of COP26.

Usher said: “As a world community we need to come together and keep the rise in global temperature to 1.5 degrees.

“Glasgow is a ‘Kairos’ moment for the future of this planet. That’s why the voices of faith communities are so important.

“We are drawing on the wells of wisdom within our traditions to encourage the leaders of the world to take the bold, prophetic, steps we all need to take.”

The Glasgow Declaration pledges a response to the challenge set by the climate emergency through being “advocates for justice by calling on governments, businesses and others who exercise power and influence to put into effect the Paris agreement; to make the transition to a just and green economy a priority; and to commit to science-based targets that are aligned with a healthy, resilient, zero-emissions future.”

It comes just 40 days before the beginning of COP26 when leaders are set to agree emission-reducing plans to avert a rise in global temperatures of more than 1.5 degrees.

The publication of the declaration coincides with the end of both the Scottish Government Climate Week and Stop Climate Chaos Fringe Week, as well as the beginning of the Climate Coalition’s Great Big Green Week