Hope on climate change action?

Climate change is back at the top of the international agenda. Today world leaders are attending a global summit called by the Secretary-General of the United Nations. The aim of the summit is to galvanise action. The message is that governments and businesses need to up the scale and pace of action because now is the time to act on climate change. “The more we delay the more we will pay”. And we know that payment is not only in money but also in suffering and lives.

Opinion polls show that most of us think tackling climate change is down to ourselves as individuals and families to make changes in our lifestyles. That’s not surprising but it’s not enough. The message of the summit is that real change comes when governments and businesses who make our laws and control allocation of resources take action. But of course world leaders need clear signals from citizens that we want action. Millions of people marched in cities across the world recently on the People’s March for Climate Action.

A major new report Better Growth, Better Climate by a group of heads of governments and business leaders has concluded it is possible to create jobs, reduce poverty and also reduce the carbon emissions that threaten our future. There will still be fundamental changes and hard choices ahead nonetheless. For me it shows there is hope. Some have tried to deny climate change because they felt like too many sacrifices would be needed now with no certainty of a successful outcome. But climate change is accelerating and human activities are the main cause. There will be major consequences for us if nothing is done. But there is hope, because if humanity is the cause, then humanity can be the solution too.

According to a recent report from Oxfam, there is a growing voice of companies and business associations calling for urgent government action to tackle climate change. Major companies such as Unilever, Nike, IKEA to name just a few well-known ones, are saying that they see the only future for their businesses is in a transition to a low-carbon economy and they are urging governments to make the policy changes to help make that happen.

Millions of people in the world from many different spiritual and faith backgrounds share a deep concern about climate change. For us, prayer and action go hand in hand.

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