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LWF General Secretary Calls for Legally-binding Agreement at UN Climate Conference

10. December 2009

    Communion invited to join in 13 December bell ringing for climate justice

    GENEVA, 9 December 2009 (LWI) - Lutheran World Federation (LWF) General Secretary Rev. Dr Ishmael Noko has called on states participating in the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, to reach a fair, equitable and legally-binding agreement to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, in order to achieve the target of a 40 percent reduction of developed country CO2 emissions by 2020.

    Delegations from 192 countries at the 7 to 18 December conference in the Danish capital have the task of elaborating a follow-up agreement to the Kyoto Protocol, which expires at the end of 2012. An official LWF delegation is attending the meeting, composed of members of LWF governing bodies and member churches, and staff from LWF Department for World Service (DWS) programs in India, Mauritania and Tanzania, and the LWF secretariat in Geneva.

    In a letter to the prime minister of Denmark Lars Løkke Rasmussen and the Danish minister of climate and energy Connie Hedegaard, Noko wrote, "We look to the international community meeting in Copenhagen, and to your leadership of this gathering, to produce an agreement that will ensure that global greenhouse gas emissions peak no later than 2015 and then decline rapidly towards a target of atmospheric CO2 concentrations of less than 350 ppm as soon as possible."

    This gathering of the international community
    "carries the hopes of the inhabitants of our entire global village, all of whom increasingly perceive the reality and challenge of climate change," Noko further stated. "Most especially does this conference carry the hopes of the people at the leading edge of the climate change crisis - the poor and vulnerable whose livelihoods and lives are most immediately threatened by changing environmental conditions exacerbated by greenhouse gas emissions," the LWF general secretary emphasized.

    The LWF, which represents 140 member churches in 79 countries, recognized the gravity and imminence of this threat to our planet, Noko stressed. During its meeting in June 2008 in Arusha, Tanzania
    - under the melting snows of Mount Kilimanjaro - the LWF Council acknowledged the "critical urgency and unprecedented magnitude of the challenge of climate change and the threat that it poses to humanity and all living beings on Earth." The LWF Council therefore called for "strong political commitments to achieving a 40% reduction compared to 1990 levels of CO2 emissions by 2020." LWF member churches had been asked to take urgent and effective action in relation to reducing emissions.

    In October 2009 the LWF Council at its meeting in Chavannes-de-Bogis near Geneva called on member churches
    "to observe 13 December 2009 as a day for prayer, confession and action on the issue of climate change." Churches around the world were invited to join churches throughout Denmark on that day in ringing bells or taking other symbolic actions in solidarity for climate justice, Noko added.

    According to Noko, the LWF
    "has committed itself to raising up the voices of the vulnerable and the poor, highlighting especially the impacts of climate change on food insecurity and increasing human vulnerability."

    Noting the unjust distribution of cause and consequence, the LWF called for just and adequate means of financing climate change mitigation and adaptation in the countries of the developing world, though Noko emphasized that these funds must not be drawn from existing development cooperation budgets. The LWF supported calls for reparations for the disastrous consequences of climate change in the global South, which disproportionately bears the consequences of the greenhouse gas emissions generated predominantly by the global North. (596 words)

    The full text of LWF General Secretary Nokos letter is available on the LWF Web site: www.lutheranworld.org/LWF_Documents/LWF_letter_Rasmussen-Hedegaard-2009.pdf

    The June 2008 and October 2009 LWF Council resolutions on climate change can also be accessed online: www.lutheranworld.org/LWF_Documents/2008_Council/Climate_change_LWF-Council_2008.pdf and

The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance is a broad international network of churches and Christian organizations cooperating in advocacy on food and HIV and AIDS. The Alliance is based in Geneva, Switzerland. For more information, see http://www.e-alliance.ch/

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