Thousands of Catholics urge Rishi Sunak to show climate leadership ahead of COP26
21 September 2021
Thousands of CAFOD supporters have called for the Chancellor to show greater leadership on the climate emergency.
More than 2,000 people have emailed Rishi Sunak to urge him to finance the UK’s pledge to cut emissions to net zero and to work with other governments on promises to support countries hardest hit by the crisis.
The call has come with fewer than 50 days left until the UK hosts the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow.
Campaigners and diplomats from around the world have raised concerns that the UK government is not doing enough to persuade other countries to come to Glasgow with more ambitious commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions or to push for other rich countries to meet pledges to support communities already feeling the effects of climate change.
Sunak ‘has not delivered’ on climate responsibilities
Liam Finn, Campaigns Manager at CAFOD, said:
“COP26 isn’t going to provide a magic wand to end the climate crisis, but it’s a crucial moment for governments to show how they will keep temperature rises below the catastrophic 1.5-degree level and finally meet their financial commitments to countries being hardest hit by the crisis.
“The UK government, as COP hosts, has a special responsibility to make those promises a reality – but the Chancellor hasn’t yet delivered on that.
“With COP26 only weeks away, the Chancellor must provide the money needed for the UK to slash its own emissions and persuade other countries to make good on their promises to support people facing the worst impacts of the climate emergency."
Chancellor urged to provide finance for emissions cuts
The thousands of CAFOD supporters who have emailed Rishi Sunak have urged the Chancellor to use the government’s spending review to provide the finance needed for a strategy to cut the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions to ‘net zero’.
This means that the gases emitted from activities such as heating, transport and agriculture don’t exceed the amount of emissions withdrawn from the atmosphere from measures such as planting trees.
Climate finance needed to support communities hardest hit
Campaigners have also asked the Chancellor to work with other finance ministers from the G20 group of rich countries to provide at least $100 billion each year in ‘climate finance’ to poorer countries which are being hit hardest by the climate crisis.
This is money which recognises the historic responsibility of the world’s richest countries for causing today’s climate crisis. The funds have been promised to poorer countries, which have contributed least to greenhouse gas emissions, to adapt to the devastation brought about by the climate emergency.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is visiting in the US ahead of the UN General Assembly, has called for world leaders to commit more money in climate finance.
CAFOD and other organisations have said this should be provided in grants rather than in loans which threaten to make the debt crisis faced by low-income countries even worse.
CAFOD supporters have also demanded Rishi Sunak reverses the cuts to the UK's aid budget. The Chancellor has failed to give a date for when the government will return to its legal obligation to spend 0.7 per cent of national income on overseas aid.
Liam Finn said:
“Pope Francis has called the fight against the climate crisis ‘the greatest leadership opportunity of all’, but it’s one that the Chancellor has yet to show he’s willing to rise to.
“It’s now up to the Chancellor to show whether he’s going to play his part at this crucial moment or whether he will duck responsibility and fail to deliver in the run-up to the COP.”