Small steps not enough at COP26
The Uniting Church in Australia joins with the World Council of Churches and other climate advocates in expressing disappointment with the lack of ambition and inadequate outcomes at the COP26 meeting held over the last two weeks in Glasgow.
UCA President Rev Sharon Hollis said while the global talks made some progress, both calling for rapid reductions in emissions and urging countries to “phase down” fossil fuels, a far greater global commitment was needed to prevent the most disastrous impacts of climate change.
“We are at a crucial moment in time. The decisions we make now are critical to the future life of the planet, and we cannot abandon those who are most vulnerable,” said Rev Hollis.
Assembly Associate General Secretary Rob Floyd said the pressure was now on for Australia to up its commitment to reducing emissions by 2030, with the agreement requesting nations to bring back stronger targets in 12 months.
“Now is the time for Australia to play it’s part – we reiterate our call for the Australian Government to come up with a more ambitious plan to reduce our emissions and transition our economy away from fossil fuels towards renewable energies.”
In a statement, the World Council of Churches Executive Committee appealed for a 'fundamental conversion towards just and sustainable future' expressing its dismay at the lack of progress at the COP26 meeting.
“In Glasgow our political leaders have once again procrastinated on taking the actions that the climate emergency demands, and diminished the window of opportunity for taking that action,” the statement reads.
“We human beings are an integral part of God’s good creation, and are dependent on the divinely created web of life for our well-being. As God’s image-bearers we also carry the responsibility to care for God’s creation.”
It followed a final appeal at the COP26 from leaders of different faiths delivered to a High-Level Ministerial Segment of the meeting.
Read by Rev James Bhagwan, General Secretary of the Pacific Conference of Churches, the statement described climate change as an ethical and spiritual matter.
“As people of faith we have the vocation to care for our home, Mother Earth,” the message reads. “When we care for our home, we care for the most vulnerable which includes the poor people of the world, the future generations and the ecosystems without voices of their own.”
“This transition away from a fossil fuel-based economy to a life-affirming economy must be just, securing livelihoods and wellbeing for all and not just some.”