World/PL: Churches worldwide urge Poland to show leadership on climate change action

Tusk Donald World/PL: Churches worldwide urge Poland to show leadership on climate change action

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, here at the European People’s Party Summit in March 2012. CC/Wikimedia/EPP.

Christian leaders and communities across the globe this week began lobbying the Polish government to take decisive and bold action to combat climate change, in a global campaign coordinated by ACT Alliance.

A number of ACT Alliance member organisations and partners from several countries have written to Polish embassies and the Polish Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, to urge Poland not to block the European Union’s opportunity to raise its carbon emissions cut targets.

Messages to Poland have been sent from a variety of countries, including El Salvador, Kenya, Switzerland, Norway, India, Armenia, Denmark, South Africa, Angola, Sweden, Tanzania and Finland. More countries are expected to deliver further messages in the run-up to the EU’s forthcoming Environment Council meeting, scheduled for June 11.

This follows Poland’s recent move to veto the plans for increasing the EU’s climate ambitions, which ACT Alliance believes would have been “a truly encouraging move that would play a significant role in curbing climate change”. Climate scientists recommend that cuts of at least 25 – 40% within that timeframe are necessary for stemming the climate crisis.

Web: Act Alliance: Climate Change

The current EU greenhouse gas reduction target for 2020 is well below what science indicates is required from Europe. The EU needs to increase this to at least 30% of domestic emissions by 2020. Increasing the target for 2020 is also the first step towards the EU’s fair share in the global mitigation efforts to tackle global warming

The European Commission’s “Roadmap for Moving to a Competitive Low Carbon Economy by 2050″, which was presented in March, was endorsed by all the other 26 EU member states. The roadmap’s progress was halted when the Poland voted against it.

ACT Alliance and churches all over the world have come together to voice their great concern at this situation. In a campaign action that culminates today (Friday), they are urging Poland to agree to a low carbon roadmap for the EU and support the 30% domestic reduction target for 2020.

Such action is “crucial” in enabling the EU “to take responsibility for mitigating the effects of climate change and to act as a global leader in combating global warming,” Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk is told in a letter co-signed by ACT Alliance General Secretary John Nduna.

The letter encourages Poland to act in “solidarity with the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people” and to exemplify its “strong faith, moral and ethical standing” by accepting its responsibility to address climate change.

ACT Alliance members have drawn attention to “the harmful effects that global warming already has on the poor and vulnerable people and communities that we work with”.

“Many developing countries already feel the impacts of climate change, yet they have not contributed to the rise in temperature to the same degree as the industrialised countries. For us, as faith based organisations, this is also a matter of equity, justice and moral responsibility,” their letter to the Prime Minister says.

Poland is one of the EU’s lower-income countries. While recognising this, ACT Alliance and its members argue that Poland’s relatively lower economic capacity does not negate its responsibility to reduce its share of greenhouse gases.

The churches in their message have called for leadership and solidarity from the Polish government, and have asked the EU to take even more actions that could serve as good examples for other big emitters to follow.