The historic Paris Climate agreement has paved the way for an ambitious global cooperative action to reduce the effects of climate change in the coming decades.
The historic agreement, signed by 196 countries, details a range of steps towards ensuring global warming is halted, at a minimum, to below 2 degrees Celsius.
The accord, which will shift global economies away from fossil-fuel, has largely been welcomed by the international community.
The agreement will be reviewed every five years and signatory countries will be increasingly encouraged to strengthen their emission reduction targets.
Recently commenting on the need to combat climate change, president of the Uniting Church Stuart McMillan, said more attention must be given to the plight of those already affected by global warming.
“Climate change is not often talked about as a human rights issue but the threat it poses to people’s right to life, adequate food, water, health and security is very real,” he said.
“People are already losing their livelihoods.
“The risks to culture, language and nationality are substantial. Climate change will have the most effect on those who can least afford it and those who bear no responsibility for its causes, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”
Mr McMillan said developed nations, such as Australia, had a key role to play in achieving significant environmental reform with tangible impacts.
“Australia, as the highest per capita emitter of greenhouse gases in the developed world, has a responsibility to set strong and immediate goals for our own decarbonisation,” he said.
“While the financial support the Government announced recently for the adaptation strategies of our neighbours is welcome, it will mean little without significant efforts to reduce our own carbon footprint.
“Australia is well placed to demonstrate global leadership in responding to climate change, and this includes the human rights challenges.”
Affirming the Uniting Church’s commitment to environmental sustainability, many UCA members joined the recent People’s Climate March.
The Commission for Mission’s Justice and International Mission (JIM) and Uniting Through Faiths units helped support and coordinate the interfaith contingent at the march.
The new treaty will begin in 2020, following on from the Kyoto Protocol.