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Islamic scholars call for climate change action

August 19, 2015

Dozens of Muslim scholars and environmental activists have called on the international community to phase out the use of greenhouse gases by 2050. The declaration comes months ahead of a key UN climate summit in Paris.

China Umweltverschmitzung 09.12.2013
Image: Reuters

The declaration, issued at the end of the International Islamic Climate Change Symposium in Istanbul on Tuesday, called on world leaders to "commit themselves to 100 percent renewable energy and/or a zero emissions strategy as early as possible, to mitigate the environmental impact of their activities.

"Excessive pollution from fossil fuels threatens to destroy the gifts bestowed on us by God, whom we know as Allah - gifts such as a functioning climate, healthy air to breathe, regular seasons and living oceans," the clerics and activists wrote.

The eight-page statement also called on all governments of the world to "invest in decentralized renewable energy, which is the best way to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development."

The 60 participants, including leading Muslim clerics from Indonesia, Lebanon, Uganda and Bosnia-Herzegovina, also said bringing down greenhouse gas emissions would require an end to the "chase after unlimited economic growth.

"Growth must be pursued wisely and in moderation; placing a priority on increasing the resilience of all, and especially the most vulnerable, to the climate change impacts already underway and expected to continue for many years to come," the declaration said.

Impact unclear

It's not clear what impact the declaration might have on how the delegations of mainly Muslim countries, including some members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), will conduct themselves at the United Nations climate summit, to be held in Paris from November 30 to December 11.

The statement comes two months after the world's most prominent Christian leader, Roman Catholic Pope Francis, issued an encyclical calling on the world's political leaders to hear "the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor" ahead of the climate summit.

World leaders and environmental activists are hoping to reach a landmark agreement to fight climate change at the Paris summit.

pfd/cmk (Reuters, AP)