Faith Communities Send Open Letter to COP26 President

Faith Communities Send Open Letter to COP26 President

Scottish faith communities have sent a letter to COP26 President Alok Sharma calling on him to demonstrate what the Presidency has been doing to honour the Glasgow Pact commitments.

The Glasgow Pact includes commitments from 197 nations to build resilience to climate change, curb greenhouse gas emissions and provide finance for both.

Religious leaders and faith organisations are concerned that world developments have diverted attention from COP26 commitments and have signed a letter requesting a meeting with Sharma to discuss progress.

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 Alok Sharma,  

Cc Boris Johnson and Nicola Sturgeon

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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