Faith Leaders Try to Shake Down Wealthy Nations over Climate Change

Ben Margot/AP

ROME — A group of faith leaders have sought to guilt rich nations into redistributing their wealth under the guise of climate change reparations.

This weekend, more than 40 bishops, priests, ministers, and pastors called for “urgent and ambitious action to deliver justice for the most vulnerable people and communities” as the COP26 negotiations reach a “critical moment.”

The focus of the document of the “global faith community” is not so much adaptation to the gradual effects of global warming or even actions geared toward slowing the rise of atmospheric temperatures but rather a commitment to funnel moneys to developing nations in the “Global South.”

“The current text not only fails to deliver a separate mechanism to deliver action on Loss and Damage, it also does not provide any realistic path to new finance,” the faith leaders insist, while repeating the curiously contentless mantra that time is “running out.”

“The texts on finance fail to provide confidence that the overdue pledge of $100 billion a year in support for poorer countries will be delivered,” the document declares. “The commitment on adaptation, as part of that finance pledge, falls significantly short.”

“The current text does not address the fact that most public finance comes in loans, which are adding to the burden of debt for climate-vulnerable countries, nor the challenges on access,” the signers state, evidently without providing any corroborating data for their claims.

In the final section of the document titled “The action we now need,” the leaders call on all parties to mobilize “a separate and additional funding stream” to finance mitigation and adaptation, making Loss and Damage (L&D) “a permanent COP agenda item” and “ensuring appropriate capacity and finance to support the full operationalization of the Santiago Network by COP27.”

The signers also demand that richer governments deliver “the $100 billion promised for 2020 and every year up to 2025.”

“This must be a 50/50 split between mitigation and adaptation, must be in the form of grants and not loans, and address access issues so the finance reaches those who need it most,” they specify.

“World leaders must now step up and deliver a clear, actionable text that strengthens previous agreements and puts those living on the frontline of the climate crisis at its heart,” the text declares.

Among the signers are the Acting General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, the General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation, the Secretary General of the World Evangelical Alliance, the Head of Global Advocacy of Islamic Relief Worldwide, the General Secretary of All Africa Council of Churches, the Acting General Secretary of Friends World Committee for Consultation, the Secretary-general of the Interreligious Climate and Ecology Network, the Anglican Communion’s Representative to the U.N., the National Indigenous Anglican Archbishop of Canada, the General Secretary of the Pacific Conference of Churches, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa, and many others.


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