Five archbishops have written an open letter to global leaders ahead of the UN Climate Change conference (COP23), which is being held in Bonn, Germany, in November.
The letter calls for stronger action on climate change, which the archbishops say is “hitting the most vulnerable communities” the hardest. They said, “We urge each nation’s leaders to keep the promises they made in the Paris Agreement, to restore the natural balance.”
Most Revd Winston Halapua, archbishop of the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, was the first archbishop to raise the issue of climate change in 2010. He co-signed the letter, with Archbishop Philip Freier from Australia, who is the lead archbishop on the environment for the Oceania region; Archbishop Albert Chama of Central Africa, who leads on food security; Archbishop Thabo Magkoba from Southern Africa, who is the global lead on the environment; and Archbishop Francisco Silva from Brazil, who leads on the environment for Latin America.
They ask the leaders to set targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, invest in 100% clean energy, support sustainable agriculture, and move to zero emissions.
“We’re committing to respond as Christians by living more sustainably, praying, and raising our voices; we’re asking every member of the church – the world’s largest network – to join in, alongside many others, and every national leader to lead the way.”
The archbishops were writing as part of an international campaign, Renew Our World, which has been mobilising Christians around the world to join together in prayer and action, ahead of the UN conference, to beat climate change.
Rev Andy Bowerman, Co-Executive Director of the Anglican Alliance, has been working with the Renew Our World campaign. He said:
“It is wonderful that these senior Christians leaders across the world are joining the Renew our World campaign, urging political authorities to agree ambitious targets and outline substantial plans for how they will cut their emissions and carbon use. Every day we see the effects climate change is having on the poorest people in the world, dragging many back into the clutches of poverty through floods, droughts, and bad harvests. Our prayer, along with the prayers of many others, is that the COP23 meetings will keep the leaders of the world to the promises they have previously made.”
The open letter is available to read online in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.