Faith groups call for G7 Summit to use power wisely

World leaders arrive in Carbis Bay, Cornwall this week for the G7 Summit (11-13 June). Ahead of the Summit, alongside Christian Aid, Faith for the Climate co-hosted a postcard campaign to Prime Minister Boris Johnson asking for climate justice. We collaborated with our national faith partners for a livestreamed interfaith vigil on 10 June from Truro Cathedral, calling for a global and green recovery that leaves no one behind.

We’ve also been joined by dozens of other representatives of faith bodies to call on the UK government to use its Presidency of the G7 and of UN climate talks (COP26) to drive real progress on addressing the climate crisis.

The open letter to the Prime Minister states:

“As people of faith, we cannot stand by while world leaders continue to delay action. These delays, on phasing out support for fossil fuels and on addressing climate impacts, are destroying lives. From the Pacific islands to sub-Saharan Africa, from Bangladesh to Brazil, the climate crisis is a present reality for the world’s poorest people. They have little power to tackle this catastrophe which they did not cause. We ask you, who do have power, to use the UK’s G7 and COP Presidency in their interests.”

The letter follows the publication last week of the International Energy Agency (IEA)’s first ever full scenario report aligned with limiting global warming to 1.5°C. The report states that in order to remain within the 1.5°C target in the Paris Agreement, all new fossil fuel development must cease this year.

The interfaith letter asks the government to end the use of UK public money to subsidise fossil fuels and to conduct a peer review of its financial support for fossil fuels. It also calls for the government to support the creation of an international loss and damage financing facility and to explore sources of financing to fund it. Signatories urge the government to use its Presidency of the G7 Summit and UN climate talks to ensure both issues are discussed at the G7 and COP26.

Shanon Shah, Director of Faith for the Climate, said:

“People of faith in Britain are acutely aware of the losses and damages suffered by our co-religionists and their communities around the world due to the climate crisis. This sense of interconnectedness plays a big part in our pursuit of climate justice as a moral and spiritual concern. Together, within and across our different faith traditions, we are asking the UK government to undertake its urgent moral duty to address climate change nationally and globally.”

Paul Parker, Recording Clerk for Quakers in Britain and a signatory, said:

“As Quakers we believe we need to act in ways that promote fairness and the right sharing of world resources. This is especially true in Britain, a country that has historically and currently taken more than its fair share. The UK must urgently end its reliance on fossil fuels and ensure loss and damage for the most vulnerable countries is at the heart of both international talks.”

The full text of the letter is here:

10 June 2021

Dear Prime Minister,

Cc: COP26 President, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Open letter: climate impacts, fossil fuels, and the G7 summit

We are writing as members and representatives of the major UK faith traditions to urge you to use the UK’s Presidency of the G7 to drive real progress on addressing the climate crisis and its impacts on people around the world.

We welcome the G7’s renewed commitment to limiting global heating to 1.5C, and the progress on phasing out coal. However, much stronger action is needed. A report from the International Energy Agency published in May states that to remain within the 1.5C limit, all new fossil fuel development must cease this year. This is a stark warning.

As people of faith, we cannot stand by while world leaders continue to delay action. These delays, on phasing out support for fossil fuels and on addressing climate impacts, are destroying lives. From the Pacific islands to sub-Saharan Africa, from Bangladesh to Brazil, the climate crisis is a present reality for the world’s poorest people. They have little power to tackle this catastrophe which they did not cause. We ask you, who do have power, to use the UK’s G7 and COP Presidency in their interests.

We must heed the IEA’s warning on fossil fuels, and we must also begin to repair the harm already done to people, their homes and lands. We echo the calls of the Climate Vulnerable Forum in urging you to bring loss and damage to the forefront of the UK’s work on COP26.

We believe that every human life is sacred, and that we have a duty to speak up for those whose voices go unheard. We ask you to:

  • end the use of UK public money to subsidise fossil fuels, including by ending tax relief for oil and gas extraction;
  • invite peer review of the UK’s financial support for fossil fuels, to show the value of transparency and set a good example to other G7 countries;
  • commit to supporting the creation of an international loss and damage financing facility, and exploration of innovative sources of finance to fund this;
  • use the UK’s G7 and COP26 Presidency to ensure these issues are discussed at both the G7 summit and COP26.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Husna Ahmad, Trustee, Faith for the Climate & CEO, Global One 2015

Elizabeth Allen, Clerk, General Meeting for Scotland, on behalf of Quakers in Scotland

Bishop John Arnold, Bishop of Salford (Roman Catholic)

Qari Muhammad Asim, Chair, Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board & Senior Imam, Makkah Mosque, Leeds

Talia Chain, Trustee, Faith for the Climate & CEO, Sadeh Farm

Jo Chamberlain, National Environment Policy Officer, Church of England

Jamie Cresswell, Trustee, Faith for the Climate & Chairperson, Religions for Peace UK

Rt Revd Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford (Church of England)

Malcolm M Deboo, President, The Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe (ZTFE)

Rt Revd Vivienne Faull, Bishop of Bristol (Church of England)

Olivia Fuchs, Chair, Eco Dharma Network

Canon Giles Goddard, Chair, Faith for the Climate

Rt Revd Olivia Graham, Bishop of Reading (Church of England)

Revd. Lynn Green – General Secretary, Baptist Union of Great Britain

Revd. David Gregory – Convenor, Baptist Union Environment Network

Juliet Hackney, Network of Buddhist Organisations Committee

Robert Harrap, General Director, Soka Gakkai International UK

Dr Jagbir Jhutti-Johal, Trustee, Faith for the Climate & Senior Lecturer in Sikh Studies, University of Birmingham

Dr Fazlun Khalid, Founder-Director, Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences

Jayanti Kirpalani, CEO, Brahma Kumaris UK

Carolyn Lawrence, Vice-President of the Conference of the Methodist Church

Dr Jake Lyne, Western Chan Fellowship Teacher

Amandeep Kaur Mann, Chair, EcoSikh UK

Philip Mendelsohn, Chair, Interfaith Glasgow

Rt Revd Philip Mounstephen, Bishop of Truro (Church of England)

Dr Hardeep Singh Mudhar, Director, EcoSikh UK

Munisha, Triratna Buddhist Order

Rt Revd Hugh Nelson, Bishop of St Germans (Church of England)

Ravinder Kaur Nijjar, Chair, Religions for Peace UK Women of Faith Network & Advisor, Sikhs in Scotland

Paul Parker, Recording Clerk, Quakers in Britain

Trupti Patel, Trustee, Faith for the Climate & President, Hindu Forum of Britain

Peter Pay, Moderator, General Assembly of the United Reformed Church

Imam Sayed Razawi, Trustee, Faith for the Climate & Chief Imam, Scottish Ahlul Bayt Society

Dr Shanon Shah, Director, Faith for the Climate

Prubhjyot Singh, Director, EcoSikh UK

Elizabeth Slade, Chief Officer, General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches

Iain Stewart, Executive Director, Edinburgh Interfaith Association

Revd Richard Teal, President of the Conference of the Methodist Church

Avnish Thakrar, National Coordinator, Hindu Climate Action

Kaspalita Thompson, Bright Earth Buddhist Temple

Rt Revd Graham Usher, Bishop of Norwich (Church of England) & lead bishop on the environment

Rt Hon Lord Wallace of Tankerness QC, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland

Canon Guy Wilkinson, Secretary, Faith for the Climate

Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, Senior Rabbi, Masorti Judaism UK & Co-founder, EcoSynagogue

Call To Action