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Faith and Science: Towards COP26

On Monday, the Feast of St Francis, 40 faith leaders gathered at a meeting hosted by the Pope who took Francis as his name. Their meeting was titled, “Faith and Science: Towards COP26” in preparation for the U.N. Climate Change conference which opens October 31 in Glasgow, Scotland, and which Pope Francis is also planning to attend.

The leaders included the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, the Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew, and leaders from Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, and Jainism.

This focus on climate action connects with 84% of the world’s population – the estimated proportion of people who identify with a faith – The Global Religious Center, Pew Research Centre (2012). The agreed appeal:

· Calls for the world to achieve net-zero carbon emissions as soon as possible, to limit the global average temperature rise to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels;

· Presses wealthier nations and those with the greatest responsibility to take the lead, stepping up their climate action at home and financially supporting vulnerable countries to adapt to and address climate change.

· Urges governments to raise their ambition and their international cooperation to transition to clean energy and to sustainable land use practices, environmentally friendly food systems and responsible financing.

· Commits the faith leaders themselves to greater climate action. Notably, doing more to educate and influence members of their traditions and actively participating in the public debate on environmental issues. The faith leaders will also support action to green their community assets, such as properties and investments.

With the window narrowing to restore the planet, the faith leaders and scientists implored the international community to take speedy action, saying: ‘Future generations will never forgive us if we miss the opportunity to protect our common home. We have inherited a garden: we must not leave a desert to our children.’

The Appeal follows months of dialogue, in which the faith leaders and scientists built a dialogue in a spirit of humility, responsibility and mutual respect to agree a common moral duty to tackle climate change.

Press Release of the Holy See

Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ and other resources.
Laudato Si’ Action Platform – to begin November 14 – a yearlong Laudato Si’ celebration toward carbon neutrality and fossil fuel divestment.

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