Islamic leaders from 20 countries issued a "Climate Change Declaration" today, calling on world leaders to take strong action at December’s UN summit.
And it calls on the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims and people of all faiths to take urgent action on climate as the "issue of our time." In some amazing statements (see below) they point to problems such as the goal of endless economic growth and consumerism.
Right now, the International Islamic Climate Change Symposium is taking place in Istanbul, Turkey. A diverse group of Islamic scholars from around the world drafted the Declaration after a lengthy consultation period before the conference.
Paris UN Summit in December: urges governments to deliver a strong, binding international climate agreement that signals the end of fossil fuel use. The agreement should make it possible to limit global warming to 2C, or preferably 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, "bearing in mind that two-thirds of the earth’s proven fossil fuel reserves remain in the ground." It should include clear targets and monitoring systems.
On fossil fuels, it calls on wealthy and oil-producing countries, in particular, to quickly phase them out – no later than 2050. The world needs to swiftly transition to 100% renewable energy – preferably distributed energy which can "reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development," it says. And "generous support" – financial and technical – is needed for vulnerable communities already experiencing severe impacts.
Moral Case for Action
Based on Islamic teachings, it makes a moral case for Muslims and people of all faiths to take urgent climate action.
"We call on the people of all nations and their leaders to:
- Recognize the moral obligation to reduce consumption so the poor may benefit from what is left of earth’s non-renewable resources;
- Re-focus concerns from unethical profit from the environment, to that of preserving it and elevating the condition of the world’s poor.
- Invest in the creation of a green economy.
- Realize that to chase after unlimited economic growth in a planet that is finite and already overloaded is not viable. Growth must be pursued wisely and in moderation; placing a priority on increasing the resilience of all, and especially the most vulnerable, to the climate change impacts already underway and expected to continue for many years to come.
- Set in motion a fresh model of wellbeing, based on an alternative to the current financial model which depletes resources, degrades the environment, and deepens inequality.
The Corporate Sector must:
- Shoulder the consequences of their profit-making activities, and take a visibly more active role in reducing their carbon footprint and other forms of impact upon the natural environment;
- Commit to 100% renewable energy to mitigate the environmental impact of their activities as soon as possible.
- Change from the current business model which is based on an unsustainable escalating economy, and adopt a circular economy that is wholly sustainable;
- Pay more heed to social and ecological responsibilities, particularly to the extent that they extract and use scarce resources;
- Assist in divestment from the fossil fuel driven economy and scaling up of renewable energy and other ecological alternatives.
"It is with great joy and in a spirit of solidarity that I express to you the promise of the Catholic Church to pray for the success of your initiative and her desire to work with you in the future to care for our common home and thus to glorify the God who created us," says Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Vatican City.
Last year, religious and spiritual leaders held the Religions for the Earth conference in New York City and the Vatican held a 5–day summit, Sustainable Humanity, Sustainable Nature: Our Responsibility.
Read the Islamic Climate Change Declaration: