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Faith and science reps gather in Vatican for COP26 appeal

VATICAN-RELIGION-POPE-ENVIRONMENT-CLIMATE

HANDOUT / VATICAN MEDIA / AFP

I.Media for Aleteia - published on 10/05/21

No cultural, political or social borders or barriers prevent us from standing together, urges Pope.

About 30 religious leaders and 10 scientists gathered at the Vatican for the signing of an unprecedented document calling for respect of the environment. The October 4 meeting gathered leaders of Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and others to call on the world to limit the increase in global temperature to 1.5 degrees.

It was at the initiative of the Embassies of Great Britain and Italy to the Holy See that the event “Faith and Science: Towards COP26” was held.

Less than a month before the COP26, which will be held from October 31 to November 12 in Glasgow (Scotland), religious leaders and scientists from all over the world have signed a declaration written “thanks to a dialogue between faith and science,” explained Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican’s press office.

The signed document contains four appeals.

The first calls on the world to achieve net zero carbon emissions as soon as possible, in order to limit the increase in global average temperature to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.

The second urges richer nations and those with the greatest responsibility to take the lead, stepping up climate action at home and financially helping vulnerable countries adapt to and respond to climate change.

Thirdly, the signatories urge governments to step up their ambition and international cooperation in order to make a transition to clean energies and to sustainable land use practices, environmentally friendly food systems and funding.

Finally, they ask religious leaders themselves to do more for the climate. In particular by doing more to educate and influence members of their traditions and by actively participating in the public debate on environmental issues.

See a summary of the document here.

A document submitted to the president of COP26

With the music of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons playing, the religious leaders signed the appeal.

In a speech that the Pope chose not to read – he explained to his hosts that they could take the time to read it afterwards – the Pontiff recalled that the “urgently needed change of direction” must also be nourished by the faith and spirituality of each.

“Each of us has his or her religious beliefs and spiritual traditions, but no cultural, political or social borders or barriers prevent us from standing together,” he said.

Grand Imam al Tayyeb called on all young Muslims and all people of faith to fight against actions that harm the environment.

Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew confided his desire for a dialogue between the secular and the sacred on the question of the preservation of the environment.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, called for a restructuring of the financial industry, with a radical change in taxation and trade rules to promote the emergence of a green economy.

The document signed by the religious leaders was personally delivered to the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Luigi di Maio, and to the Briton Alok Sharma, president of the COP26 in Glasgow.

The event comes six years after the publication of the encyclical Laudato si’, and one year to the day after the encyclical Fratelli tutti.

A trip has not yet been confirmed by the Vatican press office, but the Pope is expected to visit Glasgow at the start of COP26.

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