Islamic leaders' call for climate action praised by global campaigners

James Phillips

Religious leaders and environmental campaigners welcome call for Muslims to push for greater action on climate change

More than 1.6 billion Muslims have been called upon to urge governments to reach an agreement at December's Paris Climate Change Summit, after Islamic leaders today unveiled a new Climate Change Declaration in Istanbul.

The declaration, which was trailed last week, argues Muslims have a moral duty to prevent climate change, calls for a transition to 100 per cent renewable energy, and urges Muslim business leaders to tackle the root causes of climate change in their workplaces.

The statement was unveiled at a symposium in the Turkish capital earlier this morning and has been hailed by religious leaders and environmental campaigners worldwide.

"I am proud to be associated with the Islamic Declaration on Climate Change released in Istanbul today," said Dr Saleemul Huq, director of the Institute of Environmental Studies. "As a Muslim, I try to follow the moral teachings of Islam to preserve the environment and help the victims of climate change. I urge all Muslims around the world to play their role in tackling the global problem of climate change."

Meanwhile, Christina Figueres, executive secretary for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said Islam's teachings provide "guidance" for those attempting to tackle escalating climate risks.

"A clean-energy, sustainable future for everyone ultimately rests on a fundamental shift in the understanding of how we value the environment and each other," she said. "Islam's teachings, which emphasise the duty of humans as stewards of the Earth and the teacher's role as an appointed guide to correct behaviour, provide guidance to take the right action on climate change."

The move could prove particularly significant as it is likely to increase pressure on a number of oil-producing Gulf states to sign up to an ambitious global emissions reduction deal.

The declaration comes just two months after the Pope delivered his annual encyclical, which called on Catholic citizens to push for an international climate deal later this year and particularly emphasised the effects of climate change on developing nations.

Mohamed Adow, senior climate change adviser for international development charity Christian Aid, said it was vital that all faiths join the global effort to tackle climate change and press political leaders to deliver an ambitious new climate treaty.

"Coming on the heels of the Pope's encyclical it is great to see Christians and Muslims uniting to tackle a common enemy," he said. "Climate change will affect people of all faiths and the world's poor in particular. As both faiths have a long tradition of caring for those in poverty, it is right that they make tackling climate change a priority. It is imperative that people of faith bring their voice into the global climate talks."

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