We pray all at COP24 will take the bold and necessary steps needed to ensure that average global temperatures do not exceed 1.5°C. We have already exceeded an average global increase of 1.1°C. A two degree increase would bring about a three or four degree increase in Africa.
Indigenous and rural communities, farmers, the poor and the overwhelming majority of humanity, know the reality of climate change. They don’t need scientific proof. How many more droughts, floods, heat waves, hurricanes and wildfires are needed to convince political and financial leaders of the seriousness of climate change?
There have already been so many deaths and such destruction, political leaders need to be held accountable for not heeding the plight of those who have borne the brunt of climate disruption.
Economic interests have crippled decisive decision-making. Fossil fuel interests have stifled the action needed.
The situation is now so serious and urgent that the well-being of the planet must be our overriding concern, not fossil fuel profits.
Global fossil fuel companies have known since 1972 that continuing to burn oil, coal and gas would produce global warming and climate disruption, but they have continued to pursue their financial interests, earning billions, but driving growing global inequality, poverty and environmental destruction.
Even now some countries won’t commit to the Paris agreement because it will be bad for business and be uncompetitive.
The climate crisis is now so serious we must stop competing. All nations must cooperate to reduce carbon emissions and speedily move to renewable energy. Not only will this help stem climate disruption but it will create massive employment and social upliftment as renewable energy and micro-grid connections are is rolled out across our “common home”, in both cities and rural areas.
But can we afford it, will be the cry? By working cooperatively we will no longer spend billions on so-called “defence”, a gross irresponsibility in our contemporary world.
In 2017, global military expenditure was US$ 1,739 billion (Stockholm International Peace Research Centre). Two countries, the USA ($610 billion) and China ($228 billion) were responsible for almost half of this total ($838 billion).
The Marshall Plan was rolled out to rebuild the world following the devastation of the Second World War. We now need a Global Planetary Restoration Plan.
All major religions call for peace and harmonious living. Peace will only come on the foundation of justice and equity. We pray all delegates will have the courage to seek justice and equity in their dealings so that we pursue the good of people and planetary wellbeing, recognising that financial profit is not the goal but the means to bring about justice, equity and a sustainable future for all life.
May this COP24 be the turning point in the history of humanity.
Bishop Geoff Davies
SAFCEI Patron and Founder