The global climate emergency has a human face, say Bishops

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As COP26 starts its second week of discussions, the Church’s Lead Bishop for International Affairs, Bishop Declan Lang, joins Bishop John Arnold, Lead Bishop for the Environment in stressing the importance of the UN climate summit to the Catholic Church.

Reminding us that it is the world’s poorest people who suffer most from the effects of climate change, the bishops say the outcomes of the summit are vital to counter what they describe as “one of the most pressing global social justice issues of our time”:

“In Laudato Si’ Pope Francis is clear, we are not facing two separate crises, one environmental and once social, we are facing one complex crisis that is both environmental and social.

“It is the world’s poorest people who suffer most from the effects of climate change, despite being the ones who have done least to cause it. These communities must be at the forefront as we seek to tackle the ecological crisis.

Essential that no communities are left behind

“In the important decisions being taken over the coming days, it is essential that the voices from all over the world are heard and that no communities are left behind.

“We must never forget that this global emergency has a human face. Throughout the world, climate change is creating disasters, conflict, and displacement, affecting millions of our sisters and brothers. These phenomena also leave people vulnerable to mistreatment or exploitation including trafficking and modern slavery.

“We have a duty not only to help alleviate their suffering, but also to counter the degradation of our planet’s biodiversity, a biodiversity that is essential for maintaining our fragile existence.

“Christ called us to care for the poor and those in need. His message came with no caveat around nations or borders. This is precisely why the outcomes of the COP26 matters to the Church, as one of the most pressing global social justice issues of our time.”

Right Reverend Declan Lang
Bishop of Clifton
Lead Bishop for International Affairs

Right Reverend John Arnold
Bishop of Salford
Lead Bishop for the Environment