Catholics have taken part in an interfaith candlelight march and prayer vigil on the eve of the United Nations climate summit in Lima, Peru.
The 12-day summit, which began on Monday, is seen as a crucial last step on the road to a new international treaty to curb emission of greenhouse gases, which a new UN study says could push global temperatures to dangerous levels by the end of this century.
“We don’t just want promises – we want them to be put into action,” Elias Szczytnicki, general secretary of the Latin American and Caribbean Council of Religious Leaders of the World Conference of Religions for Peace, told the marchers.
The vigil came at the end of a series of nine monthly interfaith days of fasting for the climate.
“We want to pray and to show publicly that religious communities are aware of what is happening and are committed to the idea that we must reduce emissions and we must pressure our leaders,” said Laura Vargas, former executive secretary of the Peruvian bishops’ social action commission and one of the organisers of the fasts.
“Underlying all religious traditions are two basic principles,” she said. “The first is caring for others and the second is stewardship of nature.”
Religious groups must become “green congregations” and educate the faithful about “the urgent obligation to address climate change,” said Mr Szczytnicki.
Thanking the vigil-goers for bringing “the light of hope” to the negotiations he said: “In this lies the future of the world.”
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access.