As young people of the Christian and Islamic faiths we call upon those negotiating on our behalf in Copenhagen to acknowledge our voice and to attend to the critical matters of man-made climate change with urgency and vigour.
Although we are individuals from a great many backgrounds, ideals and variances of faith, we draw upon our collective moral and religious conscience to take responsibility for the condition of our planet and its people. We are aware of the evidence, understand the issues, and recognise that global warming will produce numerous unacceptable repercussions; in particular we are aware that changes in our climate will have disproportionate effects on the poor and irreversible consequences for future generations. Our faith obligates us to care for the earth and to attend to those who are in need and as our representatives we call on you to take heed of this and act effectively.
To help mitigate climate change…
As a growing number of your constituents, we are ready, willing and able to do our part in mitigating the effects of climate change and are calling on you to lead us in immediate action. Action must start now. It is unacceptable that the majority of the country does not know the true extent of climate change and you must address this through developing a stronger awareness at all levels(including individuals, communities, and businesses).
To drive these changes we want to see stronger policy incentives for sustainable practises and deterrents against harmful practises (especially through greater accountability and penalties). We demand a refocus toward greener technology and innovation through more investment as well as responsiveness to the effects of the total production process. Furthermore we demand a fair global deal with developed countries taking the lead in responsibility. Failure to act adequately will impinge on future generations and account for millions of lives worldwide.
To help us adapt to climate change…
We ask that all people are educated on climate change to give them the knowledge that they need to engage with strategy and policy making, and that knowledge and good practices developed locally are shared and fed into government strategy and policies for adaptation. A political and economic system more conducive to adaptation must be pursued which removes barriers to adaptation by promoting trade justice, transparency and the provision of sufficient resources (money, technology, skills).
We ask that your approach to the negotiations in Copenhagen ensures that local economies and agriculture are developed. More policymakers should work with farmers, equipping them to keep food in production locally. They should be empowered to maintain ecosystems and bio diversity and to share resources among their communities, so they are able to work together on the ground. Policymakers need to also recognise that faith based organisations are a catalyst for empowerment and delivery.
To tackle the issues on funding our response to climate change…
When signing the UN Convention, countries agreed to the principle that as developed countries with worldwide climate debt they are morally, politically and legally obligated to take full financial responsibility for their actions.
This responsibility should be two fold; ensuring that our future development puts climate justice at its centre alongside enabling countries in the south to fulfil their right to develop.
Two hundred billion dollars a year is urgently required to tackle this critical environmental crisis. This should be raised through public finance and administered by the UN to ensure transparency and democratic representation of all nations. We see no place for the World Bank’s involvement in raising the required funds. We need to make it explicit that this is not charity but a historical debt that developed nations have incurred through overconsumption. It is clear that this is achievable based on the recent bail out of financial institutions costing $3-7 trillion and the Iraq war which cost $1 trillion. We call for developed nations to commit a minimum of 1% of their GDP to climate finance without conditionality.
Just financial implementation is necessary by using the most appropriate community-based and sustainable solutions to lead to a low carbon future. These include partnering with faith groups and young people, the future generation, who will be left with the consequences of inaction. Communities can propagate and maintain hope, raise awareness and morals and contribute to a changed mindset. Furthermore they can promote a rights-based approach to climate change based upon shared belief, openness, responsibility and accountability.
We believe in a global green deal that will deliver real economic benefits for all.
Technology is the right of all and as we are called to be stewards of nature, so we are also called to be good stewards of the ideas and technology that we have developed. This is a crucial time for the global north to use its technologies in partnership with the global south to ensure growth on an environmentally constructive pathway.
Western countries are too possessive of technology so we need to give access to our resources. This should include the creation of a fund to buy out patents and restructuring patents to take advantage of the long-term benefits of their utilisation by developing countries. Governments need to commit to investments through small businesses and social entrepreneurs to provide green sustainable jobs and transferring technology abroad; this will have long term benefits to all including themselves and all other stakeholders. Accountability and responsibility should be undertaken by a partnership of stakeholders including world leaders, grass roots community leaders, faith leaders, NGOs and business people. These proposals will instil a sense of justice which is not defined by short-term economic incentives.
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