World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

Letter to H.E. Kofi Annan

04 September 2003

Your Excellency,

On behalf of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches I write to seek your renewed efforts, through the Secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), to persuade the governments of the United States of America and of Australia to initiate the process of ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. We have addressed our concern to the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of Australia since their governments have rejected the Kyoto Protocol. The two governments need to be reminded of their responsibility towards the global community.

The World Council of Churches considers the matter of human-induced climate change as a profound moral issue that has serious implications for our planet. This climate change is being precipitated primarily by the polluting economies and lifestyles of the rich nations whose emissions over the past 150 years constitute The Central Committee of the World Council of Churches in one of its previous meetings observed: about 80 percent of the increased carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere. The consequences of climate change will impact disproportionately on thepoor developing nations and on the future generations. For the World Council ofChurches, climate change is not only a matter of international justice but also ofinter-generational justice.

The WCC has always stood in solidarity with those most affected by climate change. The consequences of climate change further accentuate the deep injustice already existing between industrialized and developing countries. Weather anomalies primarily hit the

countries of the South, where the majority of the world's population lives. At the same time, the poor in these countries make only marginal contributions to total greenhouse gas emissions and they lack the means to protect themselves against the devastating impact of changing climate conditions. There is also the lack of political will of leaders of rich countries, who are the prime producers of greenhouse gases, to take the political and financial responsibility for this. The Kyoto Protocol is a first step in a global effort to combat climate change, but it needs to be followed with stronger efforts.

The Central Committee calls on its member churches to ensure that all governments will sign the Kyoto Protocol and urge for a new round of negotiations for even stronger regulations. The WCC has had a long and fruitful collaboration with the UN and the UNFCCC Secretariat on the issue of climate change. We have had delegations at most of the UNFCCC negotiating sessions and at the Conferences of Parties. Many member churches of the WCC, including those in the USA and Australia, have been active in engaging their governments and people in education and advocacy related to climate change. We therefore request you to continue your efforts to engage the global community of nations through the Kyoto Protocol to seriously tackle the threat posed by climate change. Your efforts to support the Kyoto Protocol will encourage countries that are considering to ratify it.

Respectfully yours,

Rev. Dr Konrad Raiser

General Secretary