Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew sends a message to COP25

The UN Climate Change Conference COP 25 (2 – 13 December 2019) took place under the Presidency of the Government of Chile and was held with logistical support from the Government of Spain. The conference was designed to take the next crucial steps in the UN climate change process. Following agreement on the implementation guidelines of the Paris Agreement at COP 24 in Poland last year, a key objective was to complete several matters with respect to the full operationalization of the Paris Climate Change Agreement. His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew sent the following message to its participants in Madrid:

To the Honorable Patricia Espinosa Cantellano, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Dear Ms. Espinosa,

This letter serves as an expression of resolute support and unwavering solidarity on behalf of the Ecumenical Patriarchate – the first and sacred See of the Orthodox Church throughout the world – for the successful deliberations of the forthcoming COP 25 convention over which you are presiding in Madrid from December 2–13, 2019.

For one quarter of a century, the world’s foremost scientists and faith leaders as well as diverse authorities and numerous activists have assembled and agreed on the need to address and resolve the urgent challenge posed by global climate change. During the same period, political and social leaders have held endless consultations and high-level conversations, at times successfully approving groundbreaking solutions though at other times regretfully resisting firm commitment.

It is time to bring those two worlds together for the sake of preserving the world that we have inherited and impacted.

As you are aware, for three decades, the Ecumenical Patriarchate has expressed a prophetic voice on creation care, inviting all Christian confessions and faith communities to protect the precious gift that we share. In this global vision, we have recently been encouraged and joined by Pope Francis of Rome and Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury.

At the same time, concerned citizens and people of good will throughout the world are appealing and protesting, while at the same time hoping and praying for prompt and practical results to avoid the alarming consequences of climate change. This is because everyone is fully and painfully aware that no single nation, corporation or institution can be excused from responsibility or exempted from accountability.

The significant progress attained in preparation for and in the wake of the Paris Agreement must be accepted and affirmed by all. Apathetically promoting unsustainable policies or arrogantly persisting with unjustifiable practices – complicitly surrendering to profit at the expense of people or complacently procrastinating action at the detriment of our children – are unforgivable and dishonorable sins.

We are hopeful about the results at Madrid – quite simply because we are optimistic about humanity’s potential. Let us work together to offer our planet an opportunity to heal and continue to nurture us.

With wholehearted wishes to you and your colleagues, as well as organizers, speakers, and all those in attendance at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, we remain,

At the Ecumenical Patriarchate, on December 7, 2019

Prayerfully yours,

+ BARTHOLOMEW, Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch