World Council of Churches -
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For immediate release:
3 September 2002
WSSD: "Kyoto is not enough" ecumenical statement warns
cf. WCC Press Release, PR-02-22, of 22 August 2002
cf. WCC Press Update, Up-02-26, of 2 September 2002
A statement calling on governments and people to take action in solidarity with those most affected by climate change was released 2 September by the World Council of Churches (WCC) together with other ecumenical partners attending the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD).
The action was intended to emphasise the importance of climate change. "Climate change is not being given the priority attention that it deserves at the World Summit," says the programme director for policy and advocacy of the Church of Sweden Karin Lexén, who is attending the summit as a member of the WCC's Ecumenical Team. "The government delegations are having great difficulty in agreeing on energy measures that could help address climate change, such as setting strict targets and timetables for increased use of renewable energies."
The ecumenical statement cites growing evidence that weather extremes have become more frequent, that floods and droughts are intensifying, that the mean global sea level is rising. "In coming decades, according to the scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, even a medium scenario predicts that changing climate conditions may turn 150 million people into refugees."
As development and relief agencies from Europe, the USA, Canada and New Zealand, the signatories' deep concern stems from their conviction that climate change will irreparably affect the people with whom they work and the programmes they support. "Over the years," they say, "we have been engaged in numerous development projects. But now we are faced with a new situation. Firstly, the increasing need for emergency aid may considerably exceed the moral and economic capacities available in society to respond. Secondly, we will see increasingly situations where many years of careful and engaged development are put at risk or even wiped out."
The Kyoto Protocol is a first step in the right direction, says David Hallman, coordinator of the WCC's Climate Change Programme. "The WCC and the agencies call on all parties which have not yet ratified Kyoto to do so, in particular the USA. But to really make an impact, governments must proceed without delay with a new round of negotiations, because Kyoto needs to be followed up by much stronger efforts."
The targets of new negotiations must be determined in the light of the long-term perspective. The statement says: "They should meet two basic requirements: the stabilisation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at a level in accordance with the overall objective of the Climate Change Convention, and a fair distribution of rights and obligations, by establishing the concept of per capita emission rights for all countries."
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Juan Michel,+41 22 791 6153 +41 79 507 6363
The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, today the WCC brings together 349 Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other churches representing more than 560 million Christians in over 110 countries, and works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church. The WCC general secretary is Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, from the [Lutheran] Church of Norway. Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.