Church of England Environment Lead Signs Major Climate Change Petition to UN

Church of England
Diocese of Salisbury
For immediate use
18 April 2016

Church of England Environment Lead Signs Major Climate Change Petition to UN

With evidence building that the first three months of 2016 were the hottest on record, the Church of England’s lead bishop on the environment, the Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, has joined leaders of other world faiths in signing a petition to the President of the UN General Assembly calling for more and faster action on climate change.

The petition, to be handed in on Monday 18 April, urges rapid implementation of the Paris Agreement, adopted by 195 countries in December, including urgent emissions reductions to keep the aim of a global temperature rise limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels within reach.

The Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, who is Bishop of Salisbury, said: 

“The Paris Agreement marked a major step in the whole planet uniting to deal with climate change – a threat to every country in the world. Paris provided us with a framework. It is vital that concrete steps follow, and follow soon. 

“Faith leaders were particularly important in creating the climate of public opinion which allowed such an agreement with carbon-cutting targets as ambitious as those agreed at Paris to be reached. Faith leaders will be equally important in ensuring what was agreed is implemented as robustly as we need.

“With evidence building that the first three years of this month were the hottest on record, the science is clear that we need urgent action to curb emissions.

“Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist leaders have all signed the petition. These include the Chancellor of the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences, Cardinal Sanchez Sorondo, and the Anglican Communion’s Environment Lead, the Most Revd Dr Thabo Makgoba, Archbishop of Cape Town. It is a privilege and honour to add my voice and that of the Church of England to theirs.”



The global interfaith petition will be handed in to HE Mr. Mogens Lykketoft, President of the UN General Assembly today at 11.50 a.m. New York time/4.50 pm British Summer Time. It makes the following points:

  • Urge governments to rapidly sign, ratify and implement the Paris Agreement, and to increase pledges to reduce emissions in line with keeping the global temperature rise to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels;
  • Insist on rapid emissions reduction and peaking by 2020, in order to keep the 1.5C limit within reach;
  • Strongly advocate the greater flows of finance, especially for adaptation and loss and damage;
  • Urge the swift phase out of all fossil fuel subsidies and transition from fossil fuels to 100% renewable energy by 2050;
  • Encourage faith communities to reduce emissions in their homes, workplaces and centres of worship and to support and stand in solidarity with communities already impacted by climate change;
  • Call for fossil fuel divestment and reinvestment in renewables and low carbon solutions, including within our own communities, and/or by engaging companies on climate change.

Further information

Contact Gerry Lynch, Director of Communications
01722 438652, 07799 900 610,

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