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Episcopalians celebrate Paris climate deal

Episcopalians celebrate Paris climate deal

Via the Episcopal News Service. The Archbishop of Canterbury has welcomed the Paris climate deal, and called upon the church to be a global partner in tackling climate change.. From the Lambeth Palace statement:

I warmly welcome the agreement that almost 200 states came to in Paris on Saturday, setting a clear and ambitious path towards tackling global climate change.

Earlier this year I, alongside many other faith leaders, endorsed the Lambeth Declaration on Climate Change. The Declaration recognised the COP21 negotiations as a pivotal moment in the urgent global challenge to tackle climate change.”

As faith leaders, we urged those participating in the negotiations to apply the best of our world’s intellectual, economic and political resources to reach a legally-binding global agreement to limit the global rise in average temperatures to 2oC. The commitment made by world leaders to hold the increase in global temperatures to ‘well below’ this level is welcome and courageous progress.

Those most affected by climate change are the poor. In our prayers and actions we must demonstrate our love for them through sustainable and generous innovation.

The success of the negotiations to bring together so many different countries and groups to an agreement is a remarkable achievement.

One of the Anglican Communion’s marks of mission says that we are “to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth”. The global church – extraordinarily led on the issue of climate change by Pope Francis and the Ecumenical Patriarch – must be a key partner in tackling climate change. As the Body of Christ, his church is called to be incarnational. Each of us has a role to play, if we are to help achieve what has been agreed in Paris.

While negotiators gathered in the Blue Zone, observers, protesters, and Episcopalians praying for climate change took part in presentations, panels, and events in the Green Zone. A delegation from the Episcopal Church was there and held pop-up worship services each day of the summit. From the Episcopal News Service:

“We can rejoice together that, this past Saturday, the leadership of 195 countries were able to reach a strong and solid climate change agreement in Paris,” said Lynnaia Main, global relations officer for the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society and its liaison to the United Nations.

“This is a historic step, with many more steps to come. It will be important that we encourage our governments to ratify, respect and implement this agreement. We can each play our part, individually and through our church, by adapting our own lifestyles in appropriate ways and continuing to work towards this end with our local institutions and our governments. Thanks be to God, our prayers for agreement were answered. Let us continue to pray for healing for our environment and, most especially, for the poorest and most vulnerable who remain deeply affected.”

As negotiators continued parsing what became the final agreement, the Episcopal delegation continued to discuss how to communicate more effectively The Episcopal Church’s policies on climate change and the environment in their own contexts, as well as on the national and international level.

In the United Nations context, it means continuing to be present and sharing The Episcopal Church’s positions on climate change and the environment at its headquarters in New York, where the agreement is scheduled to be signed in April 2016.

“I’ll be picking up the issue of climate change and our positions on it when I meet with permanent mission representatives or U.N. staff or NGO colleagues to share what we did at COP21,” said Main. “We anticipate by the next time we have a COP we should be an observer organization and we’ll be able to send accredited delegates to the blue zone.”

Read the full report on the Episcopal team in Paris here.

Photo credit: The Episcopal delegation representing Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry and the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society debriefed at the end of the day on Dec. 9 at the 21st annual Conference of the Parties (COP21). Photo: Lynette Wilson/ENS

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