“We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator.”
This was how the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, opened the COP27 climate summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, on Monday. The talks began after a series of climate disasters around the world and an extreme European heatwave this summer.
On Saturday, the day before COP27 began, a statement from the Archbishop of Canterbury said: “As global leaders gather at COP27, the world holds its breath. A world which has this year suffered further catastrophic flooding, drought, heatwaves and storms. A world already in crisis. A world which knows that we are perilously near the point of no return.”
“I’ve seen this myself just recently in Australia, whose great wealth is no protection against the flooding in New South Wales. And if it can happen in one of the most prosperous parts of the world, how much more devastating in one of the poorest, like South Sudan, where more flooding has led to food insecurity, hunger, and malnutrition.”
He continued: “God calls us to embrace justice. Christian scripture describes how we share in the ‘renewed creation of heaven and earth with justice’ (2 Peter 3.13). Let justice flow so that we see human lives and hope restored, and the life of the earth itself protected and renewed.”
Frances Namoumou, of the Pacific Conference of Churches, said: “Pacific Islanders face a climate emergency which is an existential threat. We must stop what threatens us and protect those who are most vulnerable. It is the only decent thing to do.”