Five years after Paris Agreement, “a chance to carve out a decent future”

(WCC) On the five-year anniversary of the Paris Agreement, World Council of Churches interim general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca reflected that, while we have a shrinking window of opportunity to address climate change, there are glimmers of possibility for a sustainable future.

The Paris Agreement, forged on 12 December 2015, aimed to strengthen global response to the threat of climate change. While commemorating that landmark agreement, Sauca expressed that the next climate change conference (COP26)  will be pivotal for reaching the Paris goal of keeping the global average temperature increase well under 2 degrees Celsius. COP26, has been postponed to November 2021.

“The outcomes of COP 26 should firmly establish the Paris Agreement as an important global lever to bring down greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change and generate critical support for income-poor and vulnerable countries, enabling them to mitigate, adapt and build resilience as well as compensating for destructive climate impacts,” said Sauca.

Projected to the third warmest year on record after 2016 and 2019, 2020 brought destructive storms, droughts and wildfires. National commitments to cut emissions still fall drastically short of what the Paris Agreement and scientific findings demand.

The cost of renewable energy has never been lower. The US election results pave the way for the US to return to and play a more constructive role in the Paris Agreement.

“Clearly resources and capacities to respond to a global emergency abound,” he said. “If humanity could only come together in a spirit of solidarity, we may have more than a fighting chance of carving out a decent future for coming generations.”

As we look back on the Paris Agreement, and consider the future, what is the task of our communities of faith?

“Ours is the task of motivating, emboldening, pressing for and cultivating deep-seated and necessary transformations in behaviours and lifestyles as well as in financial and economic systems to meet the paramount existential challenge of our time,” said Sauca. “Our faith demands that we situate the marginalised in the very centre of our work; act for the common good; restore the entire web of creation; and care for the precious gift of life.”

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