'No more time to waste' on climate change, says church body


The World Council of Churches (WCC) is urging countries to take urgent action to prevent devastating climate change ahead of a major summit in Poland next month. 

The WCC said immediate measures and 'deep behavioural change' were needed to mitigate the worst damage from climate change. 

It wants world leaders meeting for the COP 24 climate conference in Katowice from 2 to 15 December to escalate their pledges towards ensuring that the rise in global temperatures does not exceed 1.5C. 

In a statement issued following its meeting this week in Uppsala, Sweden, the WCC said current government commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions were 'vastly insufficient' to meet the goal of a 1.5C increase. 

'There is no more time to waste in short-term self-interestedness,' the statement said.

'Urgent adaptation and mitigation measures, transformation of economic systems, deep behavioural change, and supportive national and global policies and institutional arrangements are needed now to avoid potentially catastrophic consequences of climate change.'

The WCC also urged leaders to work towards a sustainable global economy that cares for the poorest in line with biblical principles and ensure that they are not worst affected by climate change. 

'Amidst all these shifts, our Christian faith calls us to ensure that "the least among us" are not made to pay the price for a global ecological problem to which they contributed the least,' it said. 

'Today the world stands in front of a great transition.  If we are to build a future of wellbeing for coming generations, the profound understanding of being one humanity on one Earth created by a loving and faithful God so that 'they may have life, and have it abundantly.' (John 10:10), must be internalised at all levels of society, from individuals to the global community.

'The biblical teaching, 'the earth is the Lord's and all that is in it' (Psalm 24:1), must be reaffirmed in this time of climate change.'