Sep 7, 2021 - World

Christian leaders appeal for action on climate change

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Pope Francis and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Portal Welby seated in the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, Italy, in September 2016.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew (from left), Pope Francis and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Portal Welby are seated in the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, Italy, in September 2016. Photo: Vatican Pool/Getty Images

The pope, ecumenical patriarch and archbishop of Canterbury appealed to world leaders to address the "current climate crisis" to preserve the planet for future generations in an unprecedented joint statement on Tuesday.

Why it matters: The call to action comes ahead of the United Nations climate talks scheduled for November in Glasgow, Scotland. Pope Francis is expected to attend the talks, according to John Kerry, the U.S. special presidential envoy for climate change.

What they're saying: The statement, signed by Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Portal Welby, urges delegates of the conference, known as COP26, "to listen to the cry of the earth and of people who are poor."

  • "We realised that, in facing this worldwide calamity, no one is safe until everyone is safe, that our actions really do affect one another, and that what we do today affects what happens tomorrow," the Christan leaders said.
  • "These are not new lessons, but we have had to face them anew. May we not waste this moment. We must decide what kind of world we want to leave to future generations."
  • “The extreme weather and natural disasters of recent months reveal afresh to us with great force and at great human cost that climate change is not only a future challenge, but an immediate and urgent matter of survival."
  • "As world leaders prepare to meet in November at Glasgow to deliberate on the future of our planet, we pray for them and consider what the choices we must all make."

The big picture: The Glasgow climate talks — the first since the U.S. rejoined the Paris Agreement — will involve leaders from nearly 200 countries seeking to limit climate change and its effects, like rising sea levels and extreme weather.

  • The talks are seen as crucial for ensuring that the temperature targets set in the Paris Climate Agreement still have a chance of being met, but their success faces major roadblocks, Axios' Andrew Freedman reports.
  • A UN-sponsored review of climate science published last month found that climate change is occurring faster than expected and that the planet will cross a crucial temperature threshold as early as 2030.

Go deeper: UN report: Effects of climate change even more severe than we thought

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