French churches appeal for decisive action in Paris

LWF delegates and other advocates at the COP 20 climate change conference in Lima, Peru, in 2014. Photo: LWF/Sean Hawkey
LWF delegates and other advocates at the COP 20 climate change conference in Lima, Peru, in 2014. Photo: LWF/Sean Hawkey

(LWI) - Alarmed by the impact of climate change on the environment and the most vulnerable people, French churches are urging decisive action from political and economic leaders who will gather in Paris this November.

In a statement issued on 29 September, the Council of Christian Churches of France (CÉCEF) stated the urgency to work towards limiting global warming “so that the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters and future generations do not suffer more.”

France will host the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, 30 November to 11 December. The meeting aims to achieve a new agreement on climate change, obliging all nations to keep global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius.

“We are aware of the grave threats facing the world due to climate change caused by the misuse by human beings of the resources with which they have been provided,” the council said in the statement jointly signed by CÉCEF Co-Presidents Rev. François Clavairoly, Metropolitan Emmanuel and Archbishop Georges Pontier.

The ecumenical council represents churches from the Anglican, Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant traditions in France. The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) member churches are affiliated through the Protestant Federation of France.

“We feel compelled to tackle the causes of such destruction. We see the immeasurable suffering it causes. We are particularly concerned for the weakest and poorest among us,” the church leaders said.

Religious leaders in the country hosting the climate change conference have been advocating for meaningful action at the meeting. In July, the head of the United Protestant Church of France (EPUDF) Rev. Laurent Schlumberger joined faith leaders seeking the French government’s commitment in preparing a safe future for coming generations. They presented French President Francois Hollande with a statement on the spiritual and moral challenges of climate change.

LWF’s global advocacy for climate justice includes active engagement in the #FastForTheClimate initiative which it co-started in 2013 with other faith-based and civil society organizations. The campaign incorporates an invitation to observe fasting on the first day of each month until the COP 21 conference, at which the LWF will be represented.

The LWF has begun preparing for the Paris conference in collaboration with other ecumenical and interfaith actors. Its delegation drawn from all the seven LWF regions includes persons from climate-change affected countries such as Guyana, India, Russia and Senegal.

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