A Climate Change Call to Action from the Global Council
of the United Religions Initiative
February 10, 2010
The Global Council of the United Religions Initiative (URI) concurs with some 500 leaders of major faith communities of the world who, when gathered at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Melbourne, Australia, in December 2009, issued a statement that “recognized that climate change is the single most important issue presently confronting us and all on Earth.”
They resolved that: “As people of faith, we believe we have a responsibility to the source of life and to future generations to care for this planet—our home. We therefore call on the governments of the world. . . to take urgent and meaningful action to stem climate change.”
The Global Council invites URI’s 440 member cooperation circles (CCs), which comprise the global URI network, to join with us in calling for a “moral climate change” by endorsing this statement. It was issued by its signatories at the Parliament and conveyed to the global political leadership gathered that same month in Copenhagen to negotiate an agreement to reduce the causes of climate change. The statement provides the following justification for this call to action:
- The climate and the environmental crisis in general are of far greater consequence than the financial crisis and must be dealt with [with] even greater determination than we have seen with the financial crisis. We call on all nations of the world, but particularly the wealthy states, to recognize humanity’s dependency on the natural environment and therefore on the health and well-being of the planet. We therefore call for a radical and meaningful agreement that places the well-being of people and planet before profit.
- We believe a dramatic reduction of carbon emissions is possible using the natural energy of the planet, which comes from renewable resources such as the sun, wind, waves, and biogas. We therefore call for a commitment to an immediate turning from reliance on fossil fuel energy and a planned and phased decline in its use in order to bring CO2 emissions down to 350 ppm.
- We believe there is a moral imperative for wealthy countries to reduce carbon emissions and share resources and skills with developing countries to adapt to climate change and build their economies sustainably.
- Climate justice is an issue of peace or conflict. Either we follow the moral principles, upheld by all faith communities, of justice and equity and share the resources of the world with justice, or we continue to follow selfish acquisition, resulting in ever more conflict and environmental destruction.
The Global Council invites CCs worldwide to call upon their governments to negotiate and ratify a strong global treaty on climate change.
 “Message from members of the religions of the world gathered at the Parliament of the World’s Religions,” issued by Bishop Geoff Davies on behalf of all who endorsed it at the Parliament of the World’s Religions, meeting in Melbourne, December 3–9, 2009.