[PRESS RELEASE] ACT now to avoid climate catastrophe for future generations, faith groups urge

21st November 2018

ACT Alliance, The Lutheran World Federation (LWF), World Council of Churches (WCC) and Bread for the World are appealing to world leaders to take swift and coordinated action to limit global warming to 1.5°C degrees as a humanitarian and ethical obligation.

“As faith-based organizations we are very concerned that marginalized, vulnerable, and poor people are affected by climate change impacts that are increasingly exposing them to emergencies and humanitarian crises,” the four organizations warn in their publication, “Limiting Global Warming.” Released today, the publication comes less than two weeks before the United Nations climate talks (COP24) to be hosted in Katowice, Poland.

Reiterating their sustained advocacy on climate change at the annual United Nations conference and other fora, the four organizations insist that sound financial, technological, and political solutions are possible.

“If we fail to address climate change and to increase efforts to protect the affected communities now, we will bear the incalculable risks to future generations,” they state in the preface.

They also argue that increased efforts towards protecting the poorest and most vulnerable to climate change will be a significant step towards ensuring that future generations are protected.

“ACT Alliance members around the world are responding to severe humanitarian catastrophes that are increasingly related to climate change. Committing to ambitious climate action today is not only a commitment to fulfilling our prophetic and moral responsibility as communities of faith, it is also a commitment to a more resilient and sustainable future for all,” said ACT Alliance’s General Secretary Rudelmar Bueno de Faria.

The publication was written by a team of climate experts and development practitioners from Africa, Europe and Oceania, who studied scientific literature and grassroots reports.

The publication acknowledges the findings of the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which confirms the convictions of partners and members of groups in the Global South who note that even a small rise in temperature will profoundly affect lives and livelihoods.

Despite the Paris Agreement’s goal to keep global warming at 1.5°C, the authors note that the world is “off-track” to meet this target. They further note that overshooting the goal would “severely jeopardize” the achievements of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The publication identifies Small Island Developing States, Least Developing States, South Asia, Southern Africa, the Horn of Africa, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, Central America and Northeast Brazil as climate change “hot spots”.

If global temperatures rise above 1.5°C, agriculture, water health, coastal communities and cities, marine and tropical marine and (coral) ecosystems are most at risk. There would be heatwaves, erratic rainfall, storms, floods, droughts and rising sea levels.

“This is not the future we want,” the authors write, urging countries to “fulfil their responsibilities and ratchet up their Nationally Determined Contributions now.”

“Limiting Global Warming” recommends: deep and fast reductions in CO2 emissions; multilateral cooperation; shifting investments to “green” or sustainable ones; addressing equity justice and climate justice to overcome the root causes of vulnerability; sustainable consumption; low population growth; and low energy and food demands.

For media inquiries, please contact Joanna Patouris: Joanna.patouris@actalliance.org Climate Change Communications Coordinator, ACT Alliance