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GENEVA (RNS/ENI) Faith groups have expressed disappointment and anger over the outcome of the United Nations talks on climate change that have ended in Copenhagen, pledging to continue to press for climate justice.
“With a lack of transparency, the agreement reached this past week by some countries was negotiated without consensus but rather in secret among the powerful nations of the world,” the World Council of Churches’
program executive on climate change, Guillermo Kerber, stated.
Kerber said an agreement “called the Copenhagen Accord was negotiated between five countries: the U.S., China, India, South Africa and Brazil.” The agreement “failed to make commitments to reduce emissions to keep the temperature rise in check.”
After the conclusion of the Dec. 8-18 summit, Kerber asserted, “This has proven to be a strong strike against multilateralism and the democratic principles in the U.N. system.”
Caritas Internationalis, an international consortium of Roman Catholic relief agencies, and CIDSE, an alliance of Catholic development agencies, denounced the Copenhagen accord as “a weak and morally reprehensible deal which will spell disaster for millions of the world’s poorest people.”
A delegation that included Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu and other ecumenical leaders preached and marched during the 11-day meeting.
“Although this is not the first time an agreement has not been reached at a (UN) meeting,” said Elias Abramides, the leader of the WCC delegation, “this time it was worse because of the lack of transparency and shadow negotiations by some countries without involving all.”
Kenyan professor Jesse Mugambi, a member of the WCC working group on climate change, said, “Copenhagen was a missed opportunity by the industrialized countries to lead by example.”
“Most of the industrialized countries didn’t show the needed commitment to lead the whole world in an effective way to address the challenges of climate change.”
In Britain, Baptist, Methodist and United Reformed Churches issued a joint statement on Monday (Dec. 21) that condemned the world’s richest countries for failing to reach a binding agreement at the Copenhagen climate change summit.
“The failure by negotiators at the climate talks in Copenhagen to agree to cut carbon emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, after two weeks of negotiations, represents an immense set-back for rich and poor countries alike,” said the Rev. John Marsh, moderator of the general assembly of the United Reformed Church in Britain.
By Peter Kenny
Copyright 2009 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

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