The collective sacred texts of all faiths speak of caring for the earth.
We, the undersigned representatives of diverse faiths on the island of Ireland, call for a new dialogue at all levels of society on the threat of climate change to the earth, our common home, and to our aspirations for a just society.
Climate change is one of the most serious challenges facing our human family. Current impacts are already too much for poor countries to bear. In rich and poor countries alike, women and men living in poverty are most vulnerable to the impacts of increasingly unpredictable weather and more intense storms, floods and drought.
The opportunity to limit further warming to relatively safer levels and avoid even more devastating impacts will soon disappear.
The continued inadequacy of the political response at all levels to this urgent challenge is a common, moral concern.
Increased action to reduce the carbon emissions that are accelerating climate change is critical. This action must place the most vulnerable people, future generations not yet born and the earth itself at the centre of concern, ensuring a just and longer-term perspective on what constitutes the public interest.
Political leaders elected to protect and promote the public good have a special responsibility to work together and with all stakeholders to confine climate change to a limit safe for humanity.
We urge them to use the political and legislative opportunities ahead to prioritise and increase action, including domestic legislation and international climate change agreements. A significant increase in ambition is needed to turn the current trajectory around and ensure the agreed limit of 2˚C to further warming is achievable.
The future for humanity need not be bleak. Climate change is the manifestation of a human rather than an environmental problem and provides us with an unprecedented opportunity to act towards a more just and sustainable society.
We urge people of all faiths and none, and leaders of all kinds and at all levels across this island to stop, think and start a dialogue to this end.
The Most Reverend Richard Clarke, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland; Archbishop Eamon Martin, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland; Right Rev Doctor D. I. J. McNie, Moderator of Presbyterian Church in Ireland; Rev Brian Anderson, President of Methodist Church in Ireland; Rev Dr Donald Watts, President of the Irish Council of Churches; Daniel H. Sinton, Clerk of Ireland Yearly Meeting, The Religious Society of Friends in Ireland; Dr Ardawan Lalui, National Spiritual Assembly of Bahá’ís of Ireland; Maitrikaya Dharmachari, Triratna Buddhist Order