With world leaders gathered in Egypt for COP27, our Lead Bishop for the Environment, Bishop John Arnold, has challenged the UN climate summit attendees to develop solutions to the “defining challenge of our generation”.
The statement emphasised that, as Catholics, it is our “Christian duty” to protect the planet.
Bishop John Arnold is chair of CAFOD, the Church’s International Aid and Development agency.
It is our Christian duty to protect our planet. We have been blessed with stewardship of the earth, but that means we must take responsibility to ensure we protect the planet for future generations. Pope Francis tells us in his encyclical Laudato Si that our relationship with the environment can never be isolated from our relationship with God. It is on us then to do whatever we can to care for our world and not to rob resources from future generations – to fail to do so damages our relationship with God.
Over the next two weeks, the eyes of the world will be on Egypt as world leaders gather at COP27 to discuss the shared challenge of the climate crisis. I will be praying for our world leaders in the hope that they can develop solutions to the defining challenge of our generation. The planet is in danger. Recent scientific reports show we are still off track to keeping us all safe and we know it is the poorest communities in our world who are suffering most from a crisis they did not cause. No more so than our brothers and sisters in East Africa, who are experiencing the worst drought for 40 years. This has left many millions on the cusp of starvation.
CAFOD and its partners are doing what they can to respond, but action is needed at an international level to avert this potential disaster. That is why it is vital that steps are taken to limit global temperatures. We need concrete action to keep us within a 1.5 degree temperature rise. We need to focus on investing in renewable energy and move away from fossil fuels. At COP27, we need action to shift to a food system which does not harm our planet and has feeding all people nutritious food at its heart.
We know that the world faces a financial crisis but we hope that governments can come to a solution where those most in need are put at the top of the agenda, with those who have caused the climate crisis providing their fair share.
Pope Francis reminded us that the climate is a common good belonging to all and meant for all. I pray our world leaders, and all of us at home, heed that reminder and make changes to safeguard our common home for future generations.