Declaration of Religious Leaders, Political Leaders, Business Leaders, Scientists and Development Practitioners

28 April 2015

We the undersigned have assembled at the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences to address the challenges of human-induced climate change, extreme poverty, and social marginalization, including human trafficking, in the context of sustainable development.  We join together from many faiths and walks of life, reflecting humanity’s shared yearning for peace, happiness, prosperity, justice, and environmental sustainability.  We have considered the overwhelming scientific evidence regarding human-induced climate change, the loss of biodiversity, and the vulnerabilities of the poor to economic, social, and environmental shocks.

In the face of the emergencies of human-induced climate change, social exclusion, and extreme poverty, we join together to declare that:

Human-induced climate change is a scientific reality, and its decisive mitigation is a moral and religious imperative for humanity;

In this core moral space, the world’s religions play a very vital role.  These traditions all affirm the inherent dignity of every individual linked to the common good of all humanity.  They affirm the beauty, wonder, and inherent goodness of the natural world, and appreciate that it is a precious gift entrusted to our common care, making it our moral duty to respect rather than ravage the garden that is our home;

The poor and excluded face dire threats from climate disruptions, including the increased frequency of droughts, extreme storms, heat waves, and rising sea levels;

The world has within its technological grasp, financial means, and know-how the means to mitigate climate change while also ending extreme poverty, through the application of sustainable development solutions including the adoption of low-carbon energy systems supported by information and communications technologies;

The financing of sustainable development, including climate mitigation, should be bolstered through new incentives for the transition towards low-carbon energy, and through the relentless pursuit of peace, which also will enable the shift of public financing from military spending to urgent investments for sustainable development;

The world should take note that the climate summit in Paris later this year (COP21) may be the last effective opportunity to negotiate arrangements that keep human-induced warming below 2-degrees C, and aim to stay well below 2-degree C for safety, yet the current trajectory may well reach a devastating 4-degrees C or higher;

Political leaders of all UN member states have a special responsibility to agree at COP21 to a bold climate agreement that confines global warming to a limit safe for humanity, while protecting the poor and the vulnerable from ongoing climate change that gravely endangers their lives.  The high-income countries should help to finance the costs of climate-change mitigation in low-income countries as the high-income countries have promised to do;  

Climate-change mitigation will require a rapid world transformation to a world powered by renewable and other low-carbon energy and the sustainable management of ecosystems.  These transformations should be carried out in the context of globally agreed Sustainable Development Goals, consistent with ending extreme poverty; ensuring universal access for healthcare, quality education, safe water, and sustainable energy; and cooperating to end human trafficking and all forms of modern slavery; 

All sectors and stakeholders must do their part, a pledge that we fully commit to in our individual capacities.


Swami Advaita, Founder-Director, Advaitam

Dr. Anthony Annett KCHS, Climate Change and Sustainable Development Director, Earth Institute and Religions for Peace

Margaret S. Archer, PASS President and Professor of Sociology, University of Warwick

Pablo Bergel MP, President of the Climate Change Commission, Government of the City of Buenos Aires, Argentina

Jacqueline Corbelli, Chairman and CEO of Brightline

Paul J. Crutzen, PAS Academician and Professor at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Department of Atmospheric Chemistry

Sir Partha Dasgupta FBA FRS, PASS Academician and Frank Ramsey Professor Emeritus of Economics, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge

Ellen Dorsey, Executive Director, Wallace Global Fund

H.E. Metropolitan Emmanuel, Director, Patriarchate Liaison Office of the European Union

Rafael Flor, Earth Institute, Columbia University

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, General Secretary, World Council of Churches

Jennifer Stengarrd Gross, William and Sue Gross Family Foundation

Benjamin Harnwell, Founder and President of the Board of Trustees, Dignitatis Humanae Institute

Pavel Kabat, Director General and CEO, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis

Csaba Kőrösi, Director for Environmental Sustainability, Office of the President of the Republic of Hungary

Fr Luciano Larivera S.J.

Christina Lee Brown, Co-Founder, Center for Interfaith Relations

Dr Yuan T. Lee, PAS Academician and President, International Council for Science

Pierre Léna, PAS Academician and President of La main à la pate Foundation

H.E. Renato Raffaele Cardinal Martino, Honorary President, Dignitatis Humanae Institute

Dr. Rajaa Naji al Makkawi, Scholar, Mohammad al Khamis University, Morocco

Valerie Nash, Chief of Staff, Office of the Secretary General, Religions for Peace

Dr Maria Neira, Director, Public Health and the Environment Department, World Health Organization

Rev. Kosho Niwano, President Designate, Rissho Kosei-kai

H.E. John Cardinal Onaiyekan, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Nigeria

Giannozzo Pucci, Publisher, Libreria Editrice Fiorentina

Idanna Pucci, International Trustee, Religions for Peace

Dr Veerabhadran Ramanathan, PAS Academician and Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric and Climate Sciences, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD

Sabina Ratti, Executive Director, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei

Lord Martin Rees of Ludlow, PAS Academician, Master of Trinity College and Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics, University of Cambridge

Angelo Riccaboni, Rector, University of Siena

Gualtiero Ricciardi, Commissioner, Italian National Institute of Health, and Director of Department of Public Health, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

Johan Rockstrom, Executive Director, Stockholm Resilience Center

Chief Rabbi David Rosen, International Director of Interreligious Affairs, American Jewish Committee

Alejandro Rossi, Environmental Advisor, Latin America and the Caribbean, United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)

Joanna Rubinstein, President and CEO, World Childhood Foundation

Jeffrey Sachs, Director, Earth Institute, Columbia University

Sonia Ehrlich Sachs, Director of Health, Millennium Villages Project, Earth Institute

Msgr. Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, Chancellor of the PAS and PASS

Dr. John Schellnhuber, Director, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

Guido Schmidt-Traub, Executive Director, UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network

Dr. Michael Shank, Professor, George Mason University

Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh, Chairman, Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha

Jennifer Stengarrd Gross, Member of the Board, SDSN

Dr. Din Syamsuddin, President, Muhammadiyah

His Holiness Sri Sugunendra Theertha Swamiji, Abbot, Sri Puthige Matha

Dr. William F. Vendley, Secretary General, Religions for Peace International

Hans Vestberg, CEO, Ericsson

Emmaus Maria Voce, President, Focolare Movement

H.H. Preah Aggamahasangharajadhipati Tep Vong, Great Supreme Patriarch, Kingdom of Cambodia

Terence Ward, International Trustee, Religions for Peace

Elaine Weidman, Vice President, Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility, Ericsson

Stefano Zamagni, PASS Academician and Professor, University of Bologna, Department of Economic Sciences



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