LWF General Secretary Calls for Legally-binding Agreement at UN
Climate Conference
Communion invited to join in 13 December bellringing for climate
justice

GENEVA, 9 December 2009 (LWI) - Lutheran World Federation (LWF)
General Secretary Rev. Dr Ishmael Noko has called on states
participating in the United Nations Climate Change Conference in
Copenhagen, Denmark, to reach a fair, equitable and
legally-binding agreement to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, in order
to achieve the target of a 40 percent reduction of developed
country CO2 emissions by 2020.

Delegations from 192 countries at the 7 to 18 December
conference in the Danish capital have the task of elaborating a
follow-up agreement to the Kyoto Protocol, which expires at the
end of 2012. An official LWF delegation is attending the meeting,
composed of members of LWF governing bodies and member churches,
and staff from LWF Department for World Service (DWS) programs in
India, Mauritania and Tanzania, and the LWF secretariat in
Geneva.

In a letter to the prime minister of Denmark Lars Løkke
Rasmussen and the Danish minister of climate and energy Connie
Hedegaard, Noko wrote, "We look to the international community
meeting in Copenhagen, and to your leadership of this gathering,
to produce an agreement that will ensure that global greenhouse
gas emissions peak no later than 2015 and then decline rapidly
towards a target of atmospheric CO2 concentrations of less than
350 ppm as soon as possible."

This gathering of the international community "carries the hopes
of the inhabitants of our entire global village, all of whom
increasingly perceive the reality and challenge of climate
change," Noko further stated. "Most especially does this
conference carry the hopes of the people at the leading edge of
the climate change crisis - the poor and vulnerable whose
livelihoods and lives are most immediately threatened by changing
environmental conditions exacerbated by greenhouse gas
emissions," the LWF general secretary emphasized.


The LWF, which represents 140 member churches in 79 countries,
recognized the gravity and imminence of this threat to our
planet, Noko stressed. During its meeting in June 2008 in Arusha,
Tanzania - under the melting snows of Mount Kilimanjaro - the LWF
Council acknowledged the "critical urgency and unprecedented
magnitude of the challenge of climate change and the threat that
it poses to humanity and all living beings on Earth." The LWF
Council therefore called for "strong political commitments to
achieving a 40% reduction compared to 1990 levels of CO2
emissions by 2020." LWF member churches had been asked to take
urgent and effective action in relation to reducing emissions.

In October 2009 the LWF Council at its meeting in
Chavannes-de-Bogis near Geneva called on member churches "to
observe 13 December 2009 as a day for prayer, confession and
action on the issue of climate change." Churches around the world
were invited to join churches throughout Denmark on that day in
ringing bells or taking other symbolic actions in solidarity for
climate justice, Noko added.

According to Noko, the LWF "has committed itself to raising up
the voices of the vulnerable and the poor, highlighting
especially the impacts of climate change on food insecurity and
increasing human vulnerability."

Noting the unjust distribution of cause and consequence, the LWF
called for just and adequate means of financing climate change
mitigation and adaptation in the countries of the developing
world, though Noko emphasized that these funds must not be drawn
from existing development cooperation budgets. The LWF supported
calls for reparations for the disastrous consequences of climate
change in the global South, which disproportionately bears the
consequences of the greenhouse gas emissions generated
predominantly by the global North. (596 words)

The full text of LWF General Secretary Noko’s letter is
available on the LWF Web site:
www.lutheranworld.org/LWF_Documents/LWF_letter_Rasmussen-Hedegaard-2009.pdf


The June 2008 and October 2009 LWF Council resolutions on
climate change can also be accessed online:
www.lutheranworld.org/LWF_Documents/2008_Council/Climate_change_LWF-Council_2008.pdf
and
www.lutheranworld.org/LWF_Documents/2009_Council/Climate_change_LWF-Council_2009.pdf