Pope, faith leaders appeal for climate action ahead of COP26

COP26 must respond to "unprecedented ecological crisis".

Pope Francis and dozens of religious leaders issued a joint appeal on Monday calling on the international community to set more ambitious targets and step up climate action ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) to be held in Glasgow from 31 October to 12 November.

The meeting, titled 'Faith and Science: Towards COP26' was held at the Vatican and saw the participation of faith leaders representing the world’s major religions who signed a joint appeal.

“We have inherited a garden; we must not leave a desert to our children,” read the appeal which was presented by Pope Francis to COP26 president-designate, Alok Sharma, and Italy's foreign minister Luigi Di Maio.

In addition to Francis, the meeting included the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, as well as representatives of Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism and Jainism.

"COP26 in Glasgow represents an urgent call to provide effective responses to the unprecedented ecological crisis and the crisis of values that we are currently experiencing - said Pope Francis - "and in this way to offer concrete hope to future generations."

The appeal includes calls for urgent net-zero carbon emissions, to limit the global average temperature rise to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.

It also puts pressure on wealthier nations and those with the most responsibility to provide leadership, step up climate action and provide financial support to poorer countries to help them address climate change.

The appeal urges governments to raise their targets and cooperate internationally to move to clean energy and to sustainable land use practices, environmentally friendly food systems and responsible financing.

In addition the faith leaders have committed to playing their part by participating actively in the public debate on environmental issues, raising awareness among their religious communities, and supporting action to "green their community assets."

Today's appeal comes after a week of climate talks in Milan which saw Greta Thunberg address Youth4Climate, and Italian premier Mario Draghi speak at the Pre-COP meeting. Photo Vatican News.

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