On October 29, the Dalai Lama and 14 other Buddhist leaders representing the Global Buddhist Climate Change Collective (GBCCC) issued the “Buddhist Climate Change Statement to World Leaders”. In doing so they have joined their voices to those of religious leaders of Islam and the head of the Roman Catholic Church (see earlier blog postings from June 19 and September 23) urging “world leaders to cooperate with compassion and wisdom and reach an ambitious and effective climate agreement” at the coming UN Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting in Paris.
The Statement expresses support for the May 2015 Buddhist Declaration on Climate Change “The Time to Act is Now” as well as the climate change statements of other religious traditions, saying that: “We are united by our concern to phase out fossil fuels, to reduce our consumption patterns, and the ethical imperative to act against both the causes and impacts of climate change, especially on the world’s poorest.”
It goes further to urge world leaders specifically “to generate the political will to close the emissions gap left by country climate pledges and ensure that the global temperature increase remains below 1.5 degrees Celsius, relative to pre-industrial levels” and to make “a common commitment to scale up climate finance, so as to help developing countries prepare for climate impacts and to help us all transition to a safe, low carbon future.”
The Buddhist Statement is the most recent by religious leaders--for a collection of others, see http://www.interfaithpowerandlight.org/resources/religious-statements-on-climate-change/- to set out the arguments grounded in their religious doctrine underlying their urgent calls for political leaders to address the issues of climate change. It is unprecedented that so many world religious leaders have issued public statements to encourage secular leaders to act collectively to come up with global environmental solutions. Whether or not they will have a discernable effect on the process and outcome of the Paris meeting will be one of the interesting aspects to watch next month.