Faiths leaders demand climate action at COP26 in Glasgow

Climate protest credit Callum Shaw UnsplashFaith leaders have joined together to demand climate action ahead of the COP26 meeting in Glasgow.

The Glasgow Multi-Faith Declaration, signed by representatives of religious communities across the United Kingdom, calls for people to be “advocates for justice” ahead of the COP summit.

The Revd Clare Downing and Mr Peter Pay, Moderators of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church (URC) made the declaration alongside leaders of every major Christian denomination and representatives from Baha’i, Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, and Sikh communities.

It is also signed by Scottish church leaders including the Revd Paul Whittle, Moderator of the URC National Synod of Scotland, and the Revd David Coleman, URC minister and Chaplain to Eco-Congregation Scotland.

The declaration states: “We remind governments of their commitments made in Paris in 2015 to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, and of Article 17 of the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights to protect the environment, the biosphere and biodiversity.

“We call upon them to take the urgent action needed to avert the loss, damage, and forced migration threatened by climate change.”

It adds: “Across our doctrinal and political differences, we know that we must change our ways to ensure a quality of life which all can share, and we need to provide hope for people of all ages, everywhere, including future generations. 

“To offer hope in the world we need to have confidence that those in power understand the vital role they have to play at the Glasgow COP26.”

The new multi-faith declaration builds on the 2015 Lambeth Declaration issued ahead of the Paris COP.

In the Glasgow Declaration, faith groups pledge to respond to the challenge set by the climate emergency through being “advocates for justice by calling on governments, businesses and others who exercise power and influence to put into effect the Paris agreement; to make the transition to a just and green economy a priority; and to commit to science-based targets that are aligned with a healthy, resilient, zero-emissions future.”

It comes just 40 days before the beginning of COP26 when leaders are set to agree emission reducing plans to avert a rise in global temperatures of 1.5 degrees.

The publication of the declaration coincides with the end of both the Scottish Government Climate Week and Stop Climate Chaos Fringe Week, as well as the beginning of the Climate Coalition’s Great Big Green Week.

Find out more about COP26 and how you can add your voice to the call for action at

Published: 21 September 2021
Image: Callum Shaw/Unsplash

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