As we plan a post-Covid world, let’s tackle the other challenges to Earth - our common home.
“The communities CAFOD works with overseas have been dealing with the horrific effects of the climate crisis for decades. The weight of our collective responsibility ahead of COP26 is unbearable- there can be no excuses.
“To take that chance, we must act now by decarbonising our economies and prioritising investment in adaptation, particularly in low-income countries already straddled with global debt.”
Across the world, indigenous communities are facing down governments in desperate attempts to defend protected lands from mining and farming. One such activist, Sineia do Vale, Environmental Manager of the Indigenous Council of Roraima, explained that after years of battling with President Bolsonaro to try and save the Amazon, it is clear international action is already overdue.
The AR6 report, she said, “sadly tells us nothing that we are not already all too aware of. We are steering the planet on a crash course to disaster. Indigenous peoples around the world have felt this environmental crisis but we are resilient because we have strategies - what we need is firm commitments from global leaders to support us so we can continue the fight for our land and lives.
"Whether it is forests, ploughed land, or savannahs - in the various biomes where we live, indigenous people manage nature, become the guardians of the forest, and act as the barrier to contain damaging events like deforestation and fires. The world cannot give up now. The AR6 WG1 report may paint a bleak picture, but it is vital that we commit to the 1.5 warming target of the Paris Agreement, for not just the future of the Amazon, but for all countries and communities. Now is the time for urgent, radical action - not more empty promises.”
Thousands of Catholics have signed a petition urging the Prime Minister to show the leadership needed to keep temperature rises below 1.5 degrees and put communities hardest hit by the crisis at the heart of COP26. We know that the UK must take radical and concrete action to fight climate change, but does Boris Johnson?
“The grim and disturbing findings of the AR6 report only reinforce the message of Pope Francis’ Laudato Si – we must do everything we can, and now, to protect and defend Our Common Home,” warned Chair of CAFOD, Bishop John Arnold. “World leaders must come together with urgency for the common good and commit to making real progress, on a global level, not just pay lip service to the facts and figures of which we are all too aware. This is a time to be acting for the common good, not self-interest or self-serving politics.”
Notes to editors
For further information and interviews with spokespeople, please contact Frances Leach:
Mobile: +44 (0)7761 386244
24-hour media hotline: +44 (0)7919 301429
CAFOD is the official aid agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, and part of Caritas International. We reach out to people living in poverty with practical help, whatever their religion or culture. Help us build a world where no one is beyond reach of the love and care they need.
9 August 2021
CAFOD is urging Prime Minister Boris Johnson to take radical action to fight climate change both at home and abroad and "keep 1.5 alive" in the face of the latest devastating research from the IPCC.
Ahead of today's launch of the AR6 WGI report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, CAFOD's Director of Advocacy Neil Thorns said:
“No ifs, no buts, this report is clear it’s an urgent fight to keep below 1.5-degree warming and avoid the destruction that entails, especially for those living in poverty. Prime Minister, we need you to throw everything at this with less than 100 days to COP26 – we are at crisis point.
“We cannot preach to countries with fragile economies and crippling global debt to divest from fossil fuels if we are still investing in oil fields, such as Cambo Sands in the Shetlands, behind closed doors. Or funding gas power plants overseas in the name of sustainable development. Such hypocrisy makes a mockery of Britain on the global stage, and we must reject it if we are to have any semblance of credibility among the international community.”
As hosts of the UN’s Climate Conference, COP26, the UK must lead by example in committing to radical actions to fight climate change, both at home and abroad. That includes rejecting controversial proposals for new coal mines and oil fields on UK shores, as well as divesting from fossil fuels abroad.