LWF Welcomes U.S. and China Agreement on Climate Change, Hopes for Global Accord in 2015
Calls for Concrete Actions and Decisions to be taken at COP 21
(LWI) – The Lutheran World Federation General Secretary welcomes a historic accord between the United States and China to cut greenhouse gas emissions that could pave the way towards a new global agreement at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in December 2015.
“The commitments expressed in the ASEAN meeting are a step in the right direction. They give hope that concrete actions and decisions could be taken at COP 21 in Paris,” said Lutheran World Federation (LWF) General Secretary Rev Martin Junge.
“In line with what the LWF Council has expressed in 2014, it is only with such expressed commitments that climate change can be effectively addressed. The LWF continues its commitment to work towards the goal of addressing climate change.”
The landmark agreement, announced by U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping on November 11, includes new targets for carbon emission reductions by the U.S. and a first-ever commitment by China to stop its emissions from growing by 2030, if not sooner. To achieve this goal, China, the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter, pledged that alternative energy sources such as windmills and solar power would account for 20 percent of its total energy production by 2030.
The U.S. agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. That is double the pace of reduction it targeted from 2005 to 2020. China and the U.S. are the world’s top two carbon polluters.
The General Secretary expressed hopes that the UN Climate Change Conference in Lima (COP 20) in December will lay the foundations for a binding international agreement ahead of the conference in Paris next year.
At the 2014 Council meeting in Medan, Indonesia, the LWF issued a statement underlining its commitment to a global agreement on climate change. The LWF “urges heads of state and key decision makers to make it a personal priority to address the human contribution to climate change, and make firm commitments for deeper cuts in carbon pollution.”
The LWF statement also asks political leaders to “ensure that the response includes provisions to assist the most vulnerable communities to adapt to the impacts of climate change already being experienced, and to account for the loss and damage being caused.”
“If we act now it will still be possible to keep global warming below the internationally agreed danger-threshold of 2 degrees Celsius. To achieve this, carbon pollution must be reduced quickly; and climate change is a matter of social and economic justice, as it most affects the poorest people and displaces the most vulnerable,” the LWF Council stated.