Pope Francis and other religious leaders to present joint appeal to COP26 climate summit | Earth beat
Vatican City – Pope Francis, along with other religious and scientific leaders, will present a joint statement to the president of the COP26 climate summit in the Vatican on Monday, promising to encourage the faithful to care for creation and, in turn, urging governments to do their part to curb climate change.
“We were very happy to be able to work with our colleagues from the Italian Embassy and the Holy See to bring together a large group of religious leaders ahead of the COP and reflect on the role of religious leaders in messaging our political leaders. on the importance of this meeting, “Christopher Trott, recently appointed UK Ambassador to the Holy See, told Vatican reporters on October 1.
The UK and Italy will chair the COP26 climate negotiations and the World Leaders’ Summit in Glasgow, Scotland, November 1-12. The event is intended to build on the 2015 Paris Agreement and other United Nations environmental declarations to reduce carbon emissions and promote a global climate change framework.
Nearly 40 religious leaders, representing a wide range of religious organizations, from Jews to Christians to Buddhists, gathered to discuss climate change and its consequences over the past six months.
François will personally deliver the appeal in the Vatican to Alok Sharma, President of COP26, and Luigi di Maio, Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The joint appeal is expected to urge political leaders to pledge to achieve zero net carbon emissions and limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Religious leaders will also pledge to promote climate awareness not only among decision-makers in their countries, but also among devotees in their communities, providing a powerful stage for environmental discussions at COP26.
“It is important for all of us to recognize that a spiritual leader speaks in a certain way on behalf of his religious congregations,” Trott told a small group of Vatican reporters.
While acknowledging the divisions that exist within religious groups, the ambassador said that “this kind of message from a group of very, very respected people is going to have an impact” on the discussions at COP26 and beyond.
Since François released his “green encyclical” Laudato Si ‘ in 2015, he became a leading figure in the promotion of environmental protection and the fight against climate change. Francis recently sent a message encouraging youth activism gathered in Milan, Italy for the Youth4Action meeting to discuss new ideas for sustainability and the environment.
The Vatican also launched a Global Pact for Education in 2019 which aims to promote environmental education and awareness in Catholic and non-Catholic schools and universities.
Francis showed his willingness to cooperate with other religious leaders to defend the environment when he launched a joint appeal to the UN on September 10, co-signed by Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
Cooperation between the different religious leaders was a key objective in the preparation of the joint appeal which will be presented on October 4.
“I was very struck in the discussions by the commonalities between these different religious leaders, in their approach and the way they view our responsibility for the planet,” said Trott.
“Whether or not this is a creation story, as you will find in the Abrahamic religions, there is an absolute feeling that we do not own this planet. this planet, and we are required to pass this planet on to future generations in a state of well-being, ”he added.
The influence of religious leaders on their faith communities has increasingly attracted the attention of secular governments. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Francis used his moral chair to promote immunization among the 1.2 billion Catholics around the world, and political actors are hoping the same influence can again be harnessed to raise environmental awareness. .
“Our hope is that at the COP in Glasgow, the appeal going out on [Oct. 4] will be kept in mind by world leaders as they sit down and negotiate the outcome of the deal, ”Trott said.
Francis is expected to attend the COP26 summit, where he will likely deliver a speech, although the Vatican has yet to confirm the papal trip. While the Vatican has already sent representatives to UN climate conferences, it would be the first time that a pope has personally attended such a gathering.