By Gift Briton

A joint appeal report signed by United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and religious leaders has called upon financial service providers to invest money on activities that provide solutions to the existing threat of climate change.

According to the organizations, aligning financial investments with environmentally and socially responsible activities while ensuring greater accountability and transparency would save up to one billion children who are at extremely high risk of climate change impacts.

António Guterres, UN Secretary-General endorsed the initiative saying, “for too long, the financial services sector has enabled the world’s fossil fuel addiction.”

“It is now time for financial service providers to accelerate the shift to renewables. They have the power – and the responsibility. The scientific and moral imperative is clear: there must be no new investment in fossil fuel expansion, including production, infrastructure and exploration.”

Furthermore, he asked all the private financiers to stop funding the entire coal sector from mining to power generation, and actively shift finance to renewables. Adding, “People, communities and organizations of faith have the influence needed to effect this transition. I welcome this important faith-based initiative.”

Speaking during the appeal launch, Rev. Prof. Dr.  Ioan Sauca, World Council of Churches (WCC) acting General Secretary said, “Let us come together and influence how money is invested in response to the existential threat of climate change.”

“Family money, church money, a company’s money, a nation’s money. We need everyone to take this step for a sustainable future for our children,” Rev. Prof. Dr. Sauca said.

This appeal adds to the latest findings Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC)report released on April 2022 that dramatized the critical urgency to invest in climate change mitigation.

Therefore, the joint appeal calls upon financial service providers to take urgent and effective action to transition out of fossil fuel financing and to invest in renewable energies, restorative agriculture and research for climate solutions.

“Accordingly, we, leaders of the undersigned organizations, affirm our commitment to engaging with the financial institutions through which we bank, invest, and seek insurance coverage, to ensure that our financial dealings are aligned with the Paris Agreement objective of limiting global warming to 1.5° C,” the appeal reads.

“We will review our pension, banking, insurance and other financial service arrangements to ensure evidence-based accountability in this regard, as a moral imperative and responsibility to all children and the living world.”

Moreover, the financial service providers should require oil and gas companies to halt expansion of new projects and developments and to join “the UN-convened Net Zero Asset Owner, Banking and/or Insurance Alliances, depending on the type of financial institution concerned, if they are not yet part of them.”

“We invite all members of our constituencies and all our partners to do likewise, so that together we may move beyond words to effective action, and be the change for which we call.”

The appeal urges all financial institutions to regularly report on progress, including establishing intermediate targets every five years3 in line with the Paris Agreement Article 4.9.

All partners, organizations and citizens who care about children are invited to endorse the statement by writing to churches for children and raise awareness about the resources shared in it.