French President Urged to Take Climate Action by Interfaith Group

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The 2015 Convention on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris, France is a crucial conference. Some scientists have warned that unless an international agreement is reached this year, we may not be able to keep global temperatures below a 2°C average and avoid catastrophic climate change.

As host, France is playing a leading role at the conference. It must unite vastly different countries and cultures, and urge all delegates to look beyond the short-term benefits within their borders to the long-term needs of our common home: Earth. And as a member of the European Union, a body of varying countries itself, France’s role is even more important.

To encourage France to stay true to its history of climate action, the Conference of Religious Leaders of France (CRCF) presented French president Francois Hollande with a statement calling for a binding agreement on climate change.

“We call for the adoption of a binding agreement which applies to everyone, and which: – commits us to a timely end to the era of fossil fuels and sets out the bringing together of objectives for reducing global greenhouse gas emissions so that the average temperature rise be kept to well below 2°C, and which includes rules that ensure transparency, responsibility and a process of regular review of the objectives,” reads the statement.

Signed by representatives from the Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Buddhist, Muslim, and Jewish faiths, the document stresses the conviction that the climate crisis is a spiritual and moral challenge. “It is first and foremost our relationship with nature and with creation as a gift of God that is at stake,” it says.

Members of CRCF also met with the French president and other government officials, including the ecology minister and the interior minister. At the meeting, they discussed the moral aspects of climate change and preparations for COP21.

The link between morality and climate action was strengthened recently with the release of Pope Francis’s environmental encyclical “Praised Be: On the Care for Our Common Home.” In the encyclical, the Pope criticizes our overconsumption, obsession with technology, and detachment from nature. He also clearly states that climate change is real and largely manmade.

The positive response to the encyclical, as well as the mounting pressure from environmental, religious, and business groups to cut fossil fuel emissions, will hopefully encourage countries to take action at COP21. But, as Pope Francis and CRCF’s statement point out, it’s not just up to our government to tackle climate change:

“Although COP21 is a decisive stage, we are convinced that the challenges of climate change cannot be tackled effectively by nations alone, but require above all individual and collective mobilization, today and in the years ahead.”

Picture of Paris by Moyan Brenn on Flickr

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About the Author

I'm an organic-eating, energy-saving naturalist who composts and tree hugs in her spare time. I have a background in environmental law, lobbying, and field work. I believe in God; however, I do not call myself a Christian or a Jew or a member of any religion. I am merely someone who finds a spiritual connection to all humans and the environment. You can find me on Twitter, Facebook, and .