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Five Christian organizations that represent 500 million Christians in more than 100 countries issued a joint letter to G20 leaders in advance of their Oct. 30-31 meeting in Rome.

Leaders from the World Council of Churches (WCC), World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC), Lutheran World Federation (LWF), World Methodist Council (WMC) and Council for World Mission (CWM) signed the letter dated Oct. 25.

Citing an economic system dependent on fossil fuel production and consumption as “the root cause” of climate change, the letter emphasized that “radical change” is essential to meet the Paris Agreement target of keeping global temperature increases at or below 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

Economic expansion has coincided with increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the letter said, which means there is an inherent tension “between attaining global sustainability and continuous economic expansion.”

The social and ecological impacts of the global economic systems must take priority over a focus largely on increasing GDP. A more holistic mentality and assessment system is needed that focuses on the wellbeing of all people and all creation. Justice and solidarity must undergird the shift toward “net-zero economies.”

Other suggestions offered in the letter included cancelling debts for “climate disaster-stricken countries” so they can focus on building “a decarbonized economy” and to end subsidies for the fossil fuel industry.

“Climate change requires a system reset. Our vision of prosperity can no longer be devoted to growing the GDP and maximizing profit but valuing and resourcing the future of life on earth,” the letter concludes.

“As part of our calling and mission to pursue life-in-fullness for all and bring restoration to creation, we as churches commit to redouble our efforts towards supporting those most affected by climate change and living sufficiently and sustainably on our only planetary home. We pray you will join us.”

The full letter is available here.

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