We did it! More than 140,000 people came together in 55 cities and towns across Australia. People of faith were visible and strong.
People of faith responding to climate talks in Paris
See the film clip and some of the photos here.
Faith traditions and the global picture
There have been clear calls for action on global warming from leaders of a number of faith traditions, with Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’: on care for our common home, probably most well-publicised. There has also been:
- A Rabbinic Letter on the Climate Crisis
- Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change
- Declaration of Global Buddhist Climate Change Collective
- US Evangelical Call to Action on Creation Care
- There’s also a Declaration from Parliament of World Religions, which people of faith are invited to sign: http://www.parliamentofreligions.org/parliament/salt-lake-2015/declarations
These were released with a view to influencing the negotiations in Paris. In general these have called for a binding treaty which will keep warming to under 1.5° C, and provide meaningful assistance for developing countries.
The negotiations are much better advanced than they were this far out from the Copenhagen talks, but observers estimate that current pledges will still lead to at least 3° C. Elements crucial to an improved agreement would be requiring countries to increase climate ambition every five years, starting before 2020, and setting a long term goal to completely phase out fossil fuels and switch to 100 per cent renewables over the coming decades.
Big polluters weaken policy at every turn
Governments may be at the negotiating table but there is a growing awareness that it has been corporate influence which has undermined climate policy progress behind the scenes. What is really needed is organised people to challenge the power of organised money. Corporate Accountability International is calling for an end to fossil fuel corporate sponsorship and inappropriate lobbying at the climate talks. Please support the petition: Kick Big Polluters out of climate policy.
Special concerns of people of faith
People of faith have a distinct role in calling for action to assist our brothers and sisters in the developing world, suffering the brunt of climate impacts. Climate Finance above all remains a sticking point: developing nations want more clarity on the $100 billion promised annually by developed countries for adaptation and mitigation, and on boosting it after 2020.
Loss and Damage is a relatively new concept in the negotiations. It refers to the cost of climate-related disasters over and above the adaptation and mitigation costs which Climate Finance is meant to cover. Developed countries object to including Loss and Damage in the Paris Agreement largely because they don’t want to pay for it. So a Carbon Levy has been proposed, that is, a levy on the extraction of fossil fuels, direct from the entities who caused the problem, which may help to overcome developed country concerns.
The Carbon Levy Project has released a new report Making a Killing: Who pays the real cost of big oil, coal and gas? It shows how Big Oil, Coal and Gas continue to make outrageous profits, while they outsource the true cost of their product upon the poor who are paying with their lives.
Of course, another special role for us as people of faith is to pray, in our own traditions, for a positive outcome in Paris. Please keep this in mind each time you make time for prayer. We have not been able to dig ourselves out of this hole ourselves. We certainly need divine help!