Faith communities’ open letter to COP26 President

Scottish faith communities call on COP26 President to honour Glasgow Pact commitments

Eco-Congregation Scotland chairperson Richard Murray is among diverse faith leaders and groups calling on COP26 President Alok Sharma to honour the Glasgow Pact commitments.

The Pact includes commitments from 197 nations to build resilience to climate change, curb greenhouse gas emissions and provide finance for both, agreed at the COP26 United Nations climate conference in Glasgow last November.

Religious leaders and faith organisations across Scotland have signed a letter requesting a meeting with Mr Sharma to discuss progress.

At COP26, Mr Sharma said the pact was a “fragile win” and that “unless we honour the promises made – to turn the commitments in the Glasgow Climate Pact into action – they will wither on the vine.”

Scottish religious leaders at the COP26 Vigil on 31 October 2021 courtesy of kelvinstudio.co.uk

Representatives of Scottish faith groups are concerned that world developments have diverted attention from COP26 commitments.

United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres, has warned it is “now or never” to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.

Director of Interfaith Scotland, Dr Maureen Sier said: “The fragile win achieved at COP26 is at grave risk. It is essential that all governments commit to actioning the Glasgow Pact and work together, with others, to ensure a future for all”.

The letter was developed by the COP26 Interfaith Working Group and signed by faith leaders and organisations across Scotland. The COP26 Interfaith Working Group is made up of representatives from Scottish faith groups and organisations working on climate issues. The group is chaired by Interfaith Scotland with Interfaith Glasgow acting as Secretariat.

Chair and Secretariat of the COP26 Interfaith Working Group

The Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP, COP President Designate

Dear Mr Sharma,  

cc Prime Minister Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP and First Minister Rt Hon Nicola Sturgeon MSP

Faith and Belief Communities request meeting in preparation for COP27

We write to ask for a meeting with you to hear what your Presidency has been doing to honour the Glasgow Pact commitments and what progress has been made.

As representatives of faith groups from across Scotland, we were proud to welcome delegates, campaigners, pilgrims and others to COP26.  We joined people of faith from around the globe demanding action to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

We are delighted to share with you our report on Faith Communities and COP26 in Glasgow.

We are increasingly concerned that developments around the world since COP26 have diverted attention from the commitments that were made.  The persistence of the Covid pandemic, a terrible war in Ukraine and dramatic energy price rises that are promoting calls for new oil and gas development put these commitments at risk.

You told us at the close of the conference that it was a “fragile win” and that “unless we honour the promises made – to turn the commitments in the Glasgow Climate Pact into action – they will wither on the vine.”  And UN Secretary General, António Guterres, has warned us it is “now or never” to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.

We call on you to ensure that the COP26 commitments are put into effect and that climate justice and real energy security are available to all.  As priorities we call upon you to ensure the following:

  • End new oil and gas exploration as recommended by The International Energy Agency
  • Build sustainable economies powered by renewable energy
  • That no one lives in fuel poverty, in the UK or overseas.

As representatives of faith groups across Scotland we commit to doing our part.  Many of us are working across Scotland to promote community action on climate change. We will redouble our efforts and assure you of our continuing support to ensure the commitments made at COP26 are put into effect.

Yours, in hope,

The COP 26 Interfaith Working Group and Scottish religious leaders

The Right Rev Dr Iain Greenshields, Moderator of the General Assembly, The Church of Scotland
Sheikh Hassan Rabbani, Chair of Scottish Muslim Forum
Acharya Ji Mishra, Priest of Hindu Mandir Glasgow
Rev Bonnie Evans-Hills, Priest, Scottish Episcopal Church
Revd Paul Whittle, Synod Moderator, National Synod of Scotland, The United Reformed Church
Choje Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche, Abbot, Kagyu Samye Ling
Sr Isabel Smyth OBE, Catholic Bishops’ Interreligious Dialogue Committee
Baha’i Community of Scotland
Muslim Council of Scotland
Richard Murray, Chairperson, Eco-Congregation Scotland
Sally Foster-Fulton, Head of Christian Aid Scotland
Alistair Dutton, Director, SCIAF
Ravinder Kaur Nijjar, Chair, Religions for Peace UK Women of Faith Network, Sikh Representative, Scottish Religious Leaders Forum, Advisor, Sikhs in Scotland
Dr Rose Drew, CEO, Interfaith Glasgow
Dr Maureen Sier, Director, Interfaith Scotland
Professor Joe Goldblatt, Chair, Edinburgh Interfaith Association
Olivia Fuchs, Coordinator, Eco Dharma
Robert Harrap, General Director, Soka Gakkai International – UK
Jill Kent, Chair, Justice and Peace Scotland
Elizabeth Allen, Clerk of General Meeting, Quakers in Scotland
Rev Dr Carolyn Kelly, Chaplain, The University of Glasgow
Harjot Singh Kambo, Lead Coordinator Scotland, EcoSikhUK
Jonathan Baxter, Curator, A+E – Pilgrimage for COP26
Sister Mary McClure, Provincial Leader, Sisters of Notre Dame (British Province)
Christine Anderson, Faithful Companions of Jesus
William G Crook, The Order of Interbeing Plum Village Tradition
Aekus Kamboj, Environment Officer, CEMVO Scotland
David Somervell, Member, South Edinburgh Quaker Local Meeting
Mahrukh Adnan Shaukat, Amina Muslim Women’s Resource Centre
The Iona Community
Glasgow Baha’i Community
Brahma Kumaris
Earth Holders Edinburgh
The Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC)

Supporting organisations
Shanon Shah, Director, Faith for the Climate
Fletcher Harper, Executive Director, GreenFaith
Rev Henrik Grape, Co-Chair, Interfaith Liaison Committee (ILC) to the UNFCCC

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