Pope, senior Christians urge world leaders to act on climate change

VATICAN CITY – The three major Christian leaders of the world have launched an unprecedented joint appeal to members of their churches to “hear the cry of the earth” and support action to stem the effects of climate change.

In “A Common Message for the Protection of Creation,” Pope Francis, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew called on Christians to pray for world leaders at the United Nations Conference on climate change (COP26) in Glasgow in November are making courageous choices.

“We call on everyone, whatever their belief or worldview, to strive to listen to the cry of the Earth and the poor, examine their behavior and commit to making meaningful sacrifices for the sake of it. good of the Earth that God has given us, ”the message reads.

Francis is the head of the 1.3 billion-member Roman Catholic Church, Bartholomew is the spiritual leader of the approximately 220 million Orthodox Christians around the world, and Welby is the senior bishop of the Anglican World Communion, which numbers approximately 85 million members.

“This is the first time that the three of us have felt compelled to jointly address the urgency of environmental sustainability, its impact on persistent poverty and the importance of global cooperation,” they wrote.

“We say: choose people-centered profits; make short-term sacrifices to safeguard all of our futures; become leaders in the transition to just and sustainable economies.

All three have been very active in environmental affairs and agree that climate change and global warming are at least partially caused by human activities such as the use of fossil fuels.

“We are facing harsh justice: loss of biodiversity, environmental degradation and climate change are the inevitable consequences of our actions, because we have greedily consumed more of the Earth’s resources than the planet can support. “, indicates the message.

He said recent extreme weather events, natural disasters, floods, fires, droughts and sea level rise have shown that “climate change is not just a future challenge, but an issue. immediate and urgent survival “.

Europe experienced its hottest summer on record this year, but nowhere near the previous two highest temperatures from June to August, European Union scientists said on Tuesday, and environmental groups called for the postponement of the COP26 conference.

Typically, delegates from more than 190 countries attend the annual talks, but with many countries struggling with Covid-19 and poorer countries struggling to access vaccines, this should be delayed, the Climate said. Action Network (CAN).

The bishops of Scotland have said that Pope Francis, who underwent bowel surgery in July, will attend the Glasgow conference, health permitting.

A spokeswoman for Welby said he would attend. Bartholomew’s office did not immediately respond to an email regarding his plans.

On October 4, the Vatican will host a large gathering of religious leaders and scientists from around the world to adopt a common position to raise the stakes ahead of the Glasgow conference.

Entitled “Faith and Science: Towards COP26”, is organized by Great Britain and Italy. It will bring together some forty leaders of the main world religions and 10 scientists.

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