"We need to act now. We do not have the luxury of time on our side.”
Catholic leaders from G20 countries are urging their governments to cease using fossil fuels. Seventy-eight prelates from world’s largest economies released a statement ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26). The missive made it clear that the issue is time sensitive and in need of immediate action.
The full statement, provided by CIDSE, demanded that fossil fuels be consigned to history. The bishops noted that the effects of climate change often affect those in the most “poor and climate vulnerable communities.” This suffering they called an “injustice,” and one for which they would not remain silent.
The bishops wrote:
“The science is clear. The world needs to keep fossil fuels in the ground if we are to limit global warming to a below 1.5 degrees temperature rise by the end of 2030.”
The letter emphasized the “moral duty” that G20 countries have to take action, as the nations with the most advanced economies. The bishops called it a “historic responsibility” for G20 nations to “act quickly to protect current and future generations and our common home.”
The G20 is a intergovernmental forum comprising 19 countries and the European Union. While this is just a small portion of world nations, they are in a unique position to enact lasting change. According to the Tablet, G20 member states account for more than 80% of world GDP, 75% of global trade and 60% of the population of the planet.
The prelates issued a list of suggested actions that could help get the ball rolling. These included:
- Stopping any new developments of coal, oil and gas within our own countries.
- Immediately ending all funding of fossil fuels – including coal, oil and gas – abroad.
- Massively scaling up investments in clean and safe forms of energy such as wind and solar power, that prioritize energy access for the poorest communities.
- Making good on promises to provide climate finance to support communities already affected by the impacts of climate change.
The signatories hope these suggestions will be a part of the conversation at the Climate Change Conference (COP26), scheduled to run from November 1-12, 2021. They concluded the letter by reiterating the need for a swift organization of a response effort. They wrote:
“We need to act now. We do not have the luxury of time on our side.”