CISA: African churches call for urgent global action on climate change
NAIROBI, Kenya (CISA) – The church in Africa supports initiatives to curb environmental degradation responsible for adverse climate change, an ecumenical group has told a key United Nations conference underway here.
REPRESENTATIVE ADDRESSES ENVIRONMENT AT NEWS CONFERENCE – Mutsuyoshi Nishimura, Japan's ambassador for global environmental affairs, addresses a news conference at the opening of the U.N. climate change conference in Nairobi, Kenya, Nov. 6. During the conference, churches called for industrialized nations to compensate poor countries for carbon emissions. (CNS/Reuters)
The 12th U.N. Conference on Climate Change opened Nov. 6 and runs until Nov. 17.
"We pray that the world's environment ministers meeting from Nov. 6-17 in Nairobi, Kenya – a country currently in the grip of climate change – will find the courage to act with the urgency now required," said a statement issued jointly by the international Catholic aid agency Caritas Internationalis and the Protestant umbrella body All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC).
"We encourage Christians during this period to actively participate in initiatives such as: praying together, sharing information on climate and its effects with members of your congregation, joining other organizations and initiatives that are creatively engaging in environmental protection and conservation and speaking out against carbon emission and supporting national and international policies that would curb emissions," the statement said.
The statement presented by Dr. Jesse Mugambi, co-chair of the ecumenical platform, said Africa is on average one-half degree centigrade warmer than it was a century ago.
“But,” he added, “temperatures have arisen much higher in some areas, such as a part of Kenya which has become 3.5 degrees centigrade hotter in the past 20 years."
The churches said climate change was increasing poverty and threatening livelihoods. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the melting and receding of the ice on Mount Kenya and Mount Kilimanjaro has negatively affected rain patterns in East Africa.
Snow, which used to be a permanent feature on these mountains, is no longer there, the church statement said, adding that studies had indicated that should the earth's average temperature rise by more than two degrees, there could be potentially large numbers of extinctions and major increases in hunger and water shortage.
"Our Christian values are the core of our call for urgent, concerted action on climate change points out the church body," the statement said. "Not only do we believe that in the beginning we are given stewardship of the earth by God, but we believe that good news for the world's poor people is rooted in justice.”
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