Buddhist leadership call on world leaders to adopt effective climate change pact in Paris

New Delhi, Nov.18 : The world´s most senior Buddhist religious leadership have endorsed and joined the Dalai Lama in issuing a landmark call to world leaders to adopt an effective climate change agreement at the UN negotiations in Paris starting November 30.

This global appeal comprising Statement to World Leaders and Buddhist Declaration on Climate Change is a joint initiative of he International Buddhist Confederation (IBC), the global Buddhist umbrella body based in New Delhi, India. and the Global Buddhist Climate Change Collective (GBCCC), a coalition of Buddhists and interfaith organisations. The IBC played a major role in securing endorsements and framing the statement that addresses the issue of climate change and brings the concept of environmental consciousness in the global narrative.

Dr Barbara Maas, Secretary, IBC Standing Committee on Environment and Conservation along with other Buddhist leaders and members of GBCCC is attending the Paris Summit.

Last month, fifteen of the world´s most senior Buddhists gave the landmark call to political leaders to adopt an effective climate change agreement at the UN negotiations in Paris starting 30 November.

In their statement, they said, “We are at a crucial crossroads where our survival and that of other species is at stake as a result of our actions” the Statement´s initial section warns. Eminent Signatories (full list below) include His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Zen Master ThichNhat Hanh, His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, as well as Supreme Heads of Buddhism in Bangladesh, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Secretary General of the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC), President of the Buddhist Association of the USA, President of the UBF (l’UnionBouddhiste de France) and Her Royal Highness Princess AshiKesangWangmoWangchuk of Bhutan.

This urgent call for action on climate change, from leaders representing over a billion Buddhists worldwide, is unprecedented. This is the first time so many Buddhist luminaries have come together on a global issue to speak with one voice. The Buddhist Climate Change Statement to World Leaders (text and list of signatories in annex to this release and at www.gbccc.org) urges the twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)to act with wisdom and compassion, and agree to phase out fossil fuels and move towards 100 percent renewable and clean energy.

The statement also calls on world leaders to find the political will to close the emissions gap left by national climate pledges tabled with the UNFCCC Secretariat, to ensure that the global temperature increase remains below 1.5 degrees Celsius relative to pre-industrial levels. To help vulnerable, developing countries address the cost of mitigating climate change (reducing emissions) and adapting to its devastating impacts, Buddhist leaders have asked for finance to be increased above the currently promised USD 100 billion per year as from 2020 through the Green Climate Fund amongst other instruments.

“Everyday life can easily lead us to forget that we are inextricably linked to the natural world through every breath we take, the water we drink and the food we eat,” Lama Lobzang stated, Secretary of the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC). “Humanity must act on the root causes of this crisis, which is driven by greed, thoughtlessness and a lack of concern about the consequences of our actions.”

“When we harm the earth, we harm ourselves,” according to Sister Chan Khong, of the Plum Village International Community of Engaged Buddhists. “The earth is not just our environment. The earth is our mother. We are all children of the earth, and we must help one another as brothers and sisters of one big planetary family. We must take action, not out of a sense of duty but out of love for our planet and for each other. The Buddha has shown us that we can all live simply and still be very happy.”

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, at the recent Samvad – Global Hindu-Buddhist Initiative on Conflict Avoidance and Environment Consciousness, in New Delhi, organised by the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC), Vivekanand International foundation (VIF) and Tokya Foundation on September 3-4, stated that he considered the Buddha a reformer of not only Hinduism but the world.

“Climate change is a pressing global challenge. It calls for a collective human action and a comprehensive response. In India, faith and Nature have had a deep link since ancient times. Buddhism and environment are deeply co-related.”

The delegates to the Conference had also then adopted the Bodh Gaya Declaration the next day in Bodh Gaya that endorsed the same. The Buddhist Leaders Climate Statement amplifies “The Time to Act is Now: A Buddhist Declaration on Climate Change,” which has been endorsed in 2015 by more than 300 eminent Buddhist leaders and teachers representing the main schools and traditions of Buddhism from 37 countries, as well as thousands of Buddhist practitioners. It also welcomes and supports the climate change statements of other religious traditions. Buddhists are encouraged to show their support and join the conversation online using #Buddhists4Climate. (ANI)