COP26: To highlight efforts against climate crisis

The Holy See Press Office held a press conference on Thursday June 17 to announce the Faith and Science: Towards COP26 meeting, which will take place on October 4.

Jun 19, 2021

By Devin Watkins
The Holy See Press Office held a press conference on Thursday June 17 to announce the Faith and Science: Towards COP26 meeting, which will take place on October 4.

The run-up event, which is being organised by the UK’s and Italy’s Embassies to the Holy See, will see numerous faith leaders and scientists address the theme of climate change and the need for a coordinated effort to protect Creation.

Archbishop Paul Gallagher also pointed out that climate change presents an enormous challenge and that faith has a role to play in the solution.

“We’ve got to draw on all of our resources if we’re going to  rise to these challenges,” he said, “and that certainly is faith;  it is religion and the spiritual dimension of humanity. If we  ignore that and think that the only solution is good politics  or good science, then we’re going to find that we’re not successful.”

The Archbishop went on to add that the sense of urgency has grown about the need to confront climate change, saying that the pandemic has shown how various economic, social, and alimentary crises affect all people on the planet.

As the Pope has said, “everything is connected”, and so these challenges must be dealt with together, which is an aspect that people of religion can contribute to in a unique fashion, said Archbishop Gallagher.

“Religion,” he noted, “is a sort of integrated vision of life, the world, and everything in it. Religion embraces all the issues that affect our human existence.”

The 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of  the Parties (COP26) will take place in November 2021 in  Glasgow, UK. It will bring together parties from around the  world to advance action on climate change to meet the goals  and objectives of the Paris Agreement and the United Nations  Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

Sally Axworthy, British Ambassador to the Holy See, presented the UK’s goals for COP26. Ambassador Axworthy described the overriding aim of the climate change conference  as getting governments back on track with limiting temperature rises to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels

She said the UK has recognized that faith leaders played an important role in preparing the success of COP21, at which the Paris Agreement was agreed and signed.

Pope Francis had just released his environmental encyclical Laudato si’, she noted, adding that faith leaders have just as important a role to play in COP26.

With this in mind, the British and Italian Embassies to the Holy See decided to host the “Faith and Science” initiative to combine the strengths of faith leaders.

Ambassador Axworthy cited one faith leader as saying the role of religion is to provide “enlightened passion”, with scientists providing the data and faith leaders offering the inspiration for climate action.

Young people preparing the future
The Italian Ambassador to Holy See, Pietro Sebastiani, spoke about his government’s efforts to prepare for COP26.

He also recalled how climate change has contributed to worsening conflicts, including in Africa’s Sahel region.

Italy’s government will host the pre-COP event in Milan in the Fall, to offer government ministers the chance to discuss topics in an informal setting, ahead of the main COP26 event in Glasgow.

Another initiative in Milan on 28-30 September seeks to involve some 400 young people from around the world in preparing a better future for the planet.

Finally, Ambassador Sebastiani said the “Faith and Science” event will allow faith leaders to showcase how religion encourages the faithful to do their part in caring for our common home.––Vatican News

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