Faith and Science for the Climate


The meeting “Faith and Science: Towards COP 26”, held in early October at Vatican, brought together Pope Francis and 22 other religious leaders and scientists to sign the joint appeal for quick, responsible and shared action to combat the climate crisis, addressed to authorities who will participate in the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP26), in Glasgow.

The event was attended by representatives of the main religious faiths and denominations from all over the world, including Anglican and Orthodox Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs and Taoists.

The document delivered to the president of COP26, Alok Sharma, calls for the adoption of an economy that is inclusive and takes care of the environment, contributing to the reduction of carbon emissions.

“The world is called upon to achieve net zero carbon emissions as quickly as possible, with the richest countries taking the lead in reducing their own emissions and financing the emission reductions of the poorest nations,” says the document.

Call for more ambitious goals

Governments are urged to increase ambitions and international cooperation in order to make transition to clean energy. The document also calls for the adoption of sustainable land use practices, including preventing deforestation, restoring forests, and conserving biodiversity. Finally, it calls for an end to hunger through sustainable lifestyles and consumption and production patterns.

“Recognizing that the world is interconnected means not only realizing the harmful effects of our actions, but also identifying behaviors and solutions to be adopted, in an attitude of openness to interdependence and sharing. We cannot act alone, as each of us is fundamentally responsible for taking care of others and the environment,” said Pope Francis.

By calling the planet the common home, where we are all caretakers, the document makes reference to the encyclical Laudato Si, written and launched in 2015 by the Pope. On Care of the Common Home, it was the first papal encyclical in history devoted to the climate crisis. In it, the Pontiff had already called everyone to listen to the cries of the land and the poor, initiating the Global Catholic Climate Movement (MCGC) and a world campaign in defense of the climate to stop global warming.

Alliance between science and religion

The alliance between science and religion is not a recent fact. In the years 1988 in Oxford and 1990 in Moscow, religious leaders, scientists and policymakers from around the world gathered to debate the climate crisis at the Global Forum of Spiritual and Parliamentary Leaders. At the UN conference, Rio-92, the vigil “A new day for Earth” marked a new impulse for this inter-religious movement.

The Institute for Religious Studies (ISER) estimates that around 85% of the world’s population identifies with some type of religion or spirituality. From the perspective of faith, the number of religious people around the world who embrace the environmental cause and who exert a strong influence in encouraging preservation and convergence between religious ethics and environmental ethics continues to grow.

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