20 August 2021
The following letter has been sent to The Rt Hon Alok Sharma, M.P, President of COP26 Cabinet Office by the President and Vice-President of the Methodist Conference.
18 August 2021
Dear Mr Sharma,
We are writing on behalf of the Methodist Church in Britain. The Conference of the Methodist Church meeting on 24 June to 1 July 2021 has requested that we write to you ahead of COP26 in November. We want to encourage you in your leadership of this crucial conference, recognising the responsibility you hold at such a pivotal time. We will continue to hold you in our prayers over the coming months.
The Methodist Church, recognising the climate emergency, is taking steps towards transitioning towards net-zero carbon emissions. Significantly, we have been inspired by the leadership of children and young people to make this change. Their prophetic voices have encouraged us to be courageous in our decisions, and to consider the legacy we leave to future generations by the way we steward our resources. The Methodist youth assembly 3Generate, and the youth-led campaign Climate Justice For All, have been instrumental voices in this.
We want to encourage you to seek out this guidance also, and to take time ahead of COP26 to listen to the voices of children and young people calling for action on the climate crisis. They are the generation for whom our action will have the longest and most substantial consequences, and they have a vast amount of wisdom to bring to the conversation.
Bold action at COP26 is essential for both people and planet. As President of COP26, you have an important leadership role to play in ensuring that COP26 goes beyond previous meetings, and secures new commitments from all countries (especially the highest emitting countries) to accelerate ambition on achieving net-zero commissions.
The effects of the climate crisis are no longer distant possibilities, but present realities for the vast majority of our global community. In particular, many of our neighbours in the global South are living on the frontlines of the climate crisis, experiencing extreme weather events and living with irreparable destruction to their geographical and social infrastructure. The Climate Justice For All campaign, bringing together young Methodists from around the world, has highlighted these stories from Fiji, Zambia, Uruguay and Italy.
It is crucial that these communities are properly supported to face these challenges, rebuild their homes and embolden resilience to the inevitably challenging future they face. As President of COP26, we hope that you will ensure that COP member states take bold steps to establish new and additional finance for communities experiencing climate related loss and damage, securing commitments for an international loss and damage fund to properly equip communities on the frontlines of the crisis. We call on you to use the opportunity you have to take every step necessary to ensure that this vital resource is found, provided and stewarded well.
We must also take every step available to us to rapidly cut emissions and fast-track our journey to net-zero carbon emissions. Crucially, it is vital that the UK ends the use of public money to subsidise fossil fuels, overseas and domestically. We are well aware of the damaging consequences on our climate of the use of fossil fuels, and also increasingly equipped with sustainable alternatives. Following the UK government’s commitment to end direct government support for the fossil fuel energy sector overseas, fossil fuel subsidies can no longer play a part in our
global or domestic trade. The UK government must undergo peer review of its financial support of fossil fuels, as recommended by the G20 scorecard, and end all tax relief for oil and gas extraction. We can no longer play a part in making it cheap to pollute our climate. We must have integrity, to meet our commitments with action.
As people of faith, we believe that loving God and loving our neighbour means using our resources responsibly, and acting for climate justice. This year in particular, the UK has a crucial role to play in leading the global movement towards a net-zero economy, and a climate in which both people and planet can thrive. As we approach COP26, we call on you to be bold, and to take the necessary steps towards changes that will enable all of creation to flourish
Revd Sonia Hicks
President of the Methodist Conference 2021/2022
Mrs Barbara Easton
Vice-President of the Methodist Conference 2021/2022