Faith-based organisations (FBOs) have increased their engagement in climate advocacy since forming an inter-faith caucus at COP14. As the Parties negotiate the 2015 agreement, faith movements are carefully watching the process.

Churches, mosques and temples are at the frontline of disaster relief services: helping to bury the dead and console the grieving. People turn to places of worship for safety, support and emergency services. FBOs are reporting soaring emergency expenditures and they feel a duty to be involved in climate crisis prevention. They argue that climate justice should be understood as part of a broader agenda of justice, peace and meaningful quality of life. Drivers of climate change are also related to the causes of other types of suffering.

FBOs are concerned that the UNFCCC process has shifted from the core mission of the United Nations. From the upholding of human rights, promotion of peace and security, these values seem to be morphing into competitive self-interest. Perpetrators of harmful climate impacts show no remorse, and the emerging economies are fiercely insisting on the right to the same harmful development pathway. As the Roman Catholic member of the FBO caucus noted, this is akin to the story of Cain and Abel: just as Cain kills his own brother, countries’ failure to address climate change threatens to harm all members of the human family.

To learn more about the work of FBOs at COP20, go here and here for the most recent Holy See contribution.

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