World faith leaders urge governments to ratify Paris Climate Change Agreement

The president of the Uniting Church in Australia, Stuart McMillan, has united with world religious leaders to call on governments to take urgent action on climate change.

Twenty senior Australian religious leaders have joined the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Pakistani grand imam Maulana Khabir Azad and more than 250 of their international counterparts to sign the Interfaith Climate Change Statement.

Other Australian signatories include the presidents of the Australian Hindu and Imams councils, the Federation of Australian Buddhist Councils and the National Council of Churches in Australia.

The interfaith statement says governments must urgently ratify the landmark Paris Climate Change Agreement and reduce emissions to stop global temperature rise. It urges the swift phase-out of fossil fuel subsidies and the acceleration of renewable energy investment to limit global temperature rise to no more than 1.5C above industrial levels.

The statement was handed to the UN General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft in New York on 19 April, as government representatives, including Australia’s Environment Minister Greg Hunt, prepare to officially sign up to the Paris Climate Agreement.

Faith groups across the religious spectrum believe caring for Earth is a shared moral responsibility.

They say carbon dioxide emissions have to drop to net zero between 2045 and 2050 in order to limit warming and more money must be spent on adapting to climate change as well as covering the loss and damage it’s causing.

Catholic Earth Care Australia’s Philippa Rowland represented Australia at the handing over ceremony.

“It’s deeply encouraging to see all faiths calling for urgent action on climate change, given clear signs from the science and the environment itself,” she said.

“The current global coral bleaching event affecting the Great Barrier Reef is just one example of Australia’s vulnerability to global warming and the impacts are far worse for our Pacific neighbours.”

A list of the leaders who have signed up to the Interfaith Climate Change Statement here: http://www.interfaithstatement2016.org/signatories

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