Jesuits push Boris and other world leaders on climate change

Senior Jesuits from around the world have published an open letter to world leaders including Boris Johnson, Angela Merkel and Ursula von der Leyen urging them to act against climate change.

The letter was motivated by the postponement of the United Nation’s 26th Conference of Parties (COP 26) due to COVID-19. The UK government were to host the conference in Glasgow at the beginning of November, this year. Rem, “While COVID-19 remains a clear and present danger to the health and security of the world’s people, climate change is no less of a pressing crisis.”

British Provincial, Fr Damian Howard SJ and other senior Jesuits from the Xavier Network and Jesuit Conference of Africa & Madagascar have signed the letter.

The Jesuits express their concern, saying, “the absence of this conference in 2020 will lure governments into diverting attention and resources away from climate change and towards the immediate needs of addressing the on-going pandemic.”

A range of global political issues directly relating to climate change are highlighted in the letter, including the need to invest in climate adapting, mitigating and resilient solutions. To help achieve this, they are calling world leaders to set an ambitious global agenda for COP26 and push national governments to be bold in their climate change policies.

The Jesuits have also asked world leaders to pay attention to countries with low economic income. Many countries across Africa, Asia and South America are already suffering from the devasting effects of climate change, leading to further deprivation.

Countries with an existing debt are struggling to afford the resources to respond to COVID-19. According to a report by CAFOD, 64 developing countries are spending more on debt repayments than on healthcare.

Both the effects of climate change and COVID-19 is causing devastation in the lives of marginalised people living in the world’s poorest countries. In the letter, the Jesuits state, “Pope Francis reminds us, ‘everything is connected,’ and there are no purely social, environmental or economic crises that we face.”

In combating COVID-19 and planning for the world that comes after the pandemic, the Jesuits are calling for global policymakers to address climate change as part of a long-term solution.

Read the open letter to Boris Johnston here.

You can also find the open letter to the African Union and European Union leaders here.

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