Religious leaders issue climate appeal ahead of COP26 talks

Religious leaders issue climate appeal ahead of COP26 talks

Almost 40 religious leaders, including Pope Francis, have called on the international community to do more to fight climate change, in an appeal signed on Monday ahead of this year’s COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.

The statement, issued at a meeting of religious leaders in the Vatican City, was delivered to Alok Sharma, the British minister responsible for COP26, and Italian Foreign Minister Luigi di Maio.

The COP26 is urgently called upon “to provide effective responses to the unprecedented ecological crisis and the crisis of values that we are presently experiencing, and in this way to offer concrete hope to future generations,” Francis said.

Signatories include Egyptian grand imam Ahmed al-Tayyeb, one of the most important figures in Sunni Islam, and the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I.

“We need a framework of hope and courage,” the appeal says.

“Now is the time for urgent, radical and responsible action. Transforming the present situation requires the international community to act with greater ambition and fairness, in all aspects of its policies and strategies,” it continues, noting: “Climate change is a grave threat.”

It is important to achieve net zero carbon emissions as soon as possible and limit the global rise in temperatures to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels, the appeal adds, calling on wealthier countries to take a lead.

Francis has said he plans to attend the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, taking place in late October and November, if his health allows.