250 Religious Leaders Present the Interfaith Climate Change Statement to the President of the UN General Assembly
New Delhi/ April 18th, 2016: Four days before the signing of the historic Paris Agreement, The Interfaith Climate Change Statement has been signed by two hundred fifty global faith leaders’ from fifty countries. This demonstrates a positive sentiment towards making the Paris Agreement work; and urges its prompt ratification by governments so that it can come into force as soon as possible.
The signatories include twenty religious leaders from India – Swami Agnivesh, President of the World Council of Arya Samaj “Society of Nobles”, Member of the Elijah Board of World Religious Leader,H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswati, President Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh, Co-Founder/chair Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Founder of Art of Living Foundation, Member of the Elijah Board of World Religious Leader, Swami Atmapriyananda, Vice Chancellor of Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda University, Member of the Elijah Board of World Religious Leaders,Swamiji Jagadguru Karmayogi Charukeerty Bhattarak, Pontiff of Jain Shravanabelagola Math, ,Acharya Shri Shrivatsa Goswami. A leading figure in the Vaishnava tradition. Member of the Elijah Board of World Religious Leaders, Dr. Imam Umer Ahmed Ilyassi, Chief Imam, All India Organisation of Mosques, Member of the Elijah Board of World Religious Leader.
As well as Dharmacharya Shantum Seth, Ahimsa Trust, Plum Village International Community of Engaged Buddhists,Rev. Dr. Mar Atsongchanger, President, National Council of Churches in India,Oswald Cardinal Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay, President, Federation of Asian Bishops´ Conferences (FABC),Ven. Khandro Rinpoche, Teacher in both the Kagyu and Nyingma traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. Member of the Elijah Board of World Religious Leaders, Mata Amritanandamayi, Amma (“Mother”), Member of the Elijah Board of World Religious Leaders,Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, Secretary General, Global Interfaith WASH Alliance; President, Divine Shakti Foundation, Dr..A.K Merchant, Trustee, Lotus Temple and National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is,
Rev. Dr. Solomon Rongpi, General Secretary, Council of Baptist Churches in Northern India,
Acharya Shri Shrivatsa Goswami. A leading figure in the Vaishnava tradition. Member of the Elijah Board of World Religious Leader, H.H. Radhanath Swami,H.H Swami Chandra. Initiated into the Usadin order by Mahant Girdhari Dassji. Member of the Elijah Board of World Religious Leaders,Lieutenant Colonel Dasari Daniel, National Secretary, The Salvation Army,Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad, General Secretary, National Council of Churches in India,
Dr. Wahidudin Khan, Founder of the Islamic Centre – Urdu Islamic Institution, Member of the Elijah Board of World Religious Leaders,Dr. Acharya Lokesh Muni Ji, Ahimsa Vishwa Bharati,Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, Director, Dongyu Gatsal Ling Nunnery,Dharmacharya Shantum Seth, Ahimsa Trust, Plum Village International Community of Engaged Buddhists, Gunbir Singh, Chairman, EcoAmritsar, H.H Sri Sri Sugunendra Theertha Swamiji. Youngest ever swamiji to ascend the Paryaaya Peetam in Udupi. Member of the Elijah Board of World Religious Leaders, Telesphore Placidus Cardinal Toppo, Cardinal Priest and Archbishop of Ranchi in the Roman Catholic Church, Member of the Elijah Board of World Religious Leaders.
The declaration “outlines religious leaders’ and faith communities’ positive judgement of the adopted Paris Agreement” and:
- Urges 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
- Insists on rapid emissions reduction and peaking by 2020, in order to keep the 1.5C goal within reach
- Strongly advocates for greater flows of finance, especially for adaptation and loss and damage
- Urges the swift phase out of all fossil fuel subsidies and a transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050
- Encourages 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
- Calls for fossil fuel divestment and reinvestment in renewables, including within our own communities
The statement was signed today in Church Center of the UN followed by a press conference. The Statement also reaffirms the faith community’s support for increased ambition in climate change action and for the commitment to limit the global temperature rise to no more than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.
Paris Agreement will be signed on Earth Day (22 nd April,2016) in New York. India along with rest of the countries will be present for a high level signing ceremony convened by UN secretary General Ban Ki Moon.
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