Global Climate Change is 'A Faith Issue,' Christian Leaders Say

The Global Climate Summit, which is now over in Durban, South Africa, allowed countries the opportunity to strive for a better, healthier world. But some feel the matter is tied to faith in God and one another, not in science.

The 194 countries that attended the Global Climate Summit in Durban agreed on a new process that could result in legally binding measures to control global warming. The agreement, which came almost a day and a half after the conference was scheduled to end, culminated a conference otherwise plagued by the absence of a clear direction moving forward.

Countries at the conference were able to agree to a second five year commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol; and a non-binding agreement to reach an agreement by 2015 that will bring all countries under the same legal reach by 2020.

While this was not the expectation of the summit it did allow for a limited consensus of participating nations.

One of the major hang-ups during the summit was concerned with the different regulations for industrialized and developing countries. But as a result of the summit all countries are now under the same agreement.

Jake Schmidt, international climate policy director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, has said to the Los Angeles Times, “It’s been one of the key sticking points for a number of years… it does send a pretty good signal that if there’s going to be a new legal agreement, it’ll have to contain commitments from developing countries in the same legal form.”

During the start of the conference Mohamed Adow, Christian Aid's senior adviser on climate change, urged decision makers to take inspiration from the biblical story of Noah. This was in an attempt to show how poor, underserved communities would be adversely affected by global climate change and how everyone must look out for one another.

Adow was not the only one who felt the spiritual impact of the summit.

Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga spoke on how climate change caused an increase in starvation and suffering. He explained that for the Catholic Church, climate change is not just dealing with "thermometers or scientific analysis, we are talking about human beings and the sufferings of human beings.”

"It is a faith issue because, from the very beginning of the Bible, you see how creation was entrusted to human beings," Cardinal Maradiaga said, according to the Catholic News Service.

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