Muslim leaders call for phase-out of fossil fuels

18th August 2015


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  • Generation ,
  • Renewable

Author

Christine Gemmell-Ferguson

Fossil fuels should be phased out by 2050 at the latest, according to Islamic leaders from 20 countries in a declaration on climate change launched today.

The declaration presents the moral case, based on Islamic teachings, for the world's 1.6 billion Muslims to take urgent action on the climate.

It was drafted by a team of international Islamic scholars from around the world and has been endorsed by more than 60 participants and organisations at the International Islamic Climate Change Symposium, which is taking place today in Istanbul.

The declaration calls on wealthy nations and oil-producing states to move away from what the scholars describe as "unethical profit from the environment" to an approach that aims to preserve the environment and reduce poverty. It also advocates the creation of a green economy.

Fossil fuels should be rapidly phased out "as early as possible and no later than the middle of the century", it states.

All countries should aim for 100% renewable energy generation, principally decentralised renewable technology, as that is the best way to alleviate poverty and achieve sustainable development, it says.

The declaration calls for a new model of wellbeing based on an alternative to the current financial model, which it says depletes resources, degrades the environment, and deepens inequality.

Meanwhile, businesses should take a visibly more active role in reducing their carbon footprint and other impacts on the natural environment; commit themselves to 100% renewable energy or a zero emissions strategy as soon as possible; and shift investments into renewable energy.

The declaration also urges businesses to adopt a circular economy model, pay more heed to their social and ecological responsibilities, particularly in relation to the use of scarce resources, and to assist in scaling up renewable energy.

Fazlun Khalid, founder of the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences, said renowned Islamic environmentalists had produced the declaration. "It is a trigger for further action and we would be very happy if people adopted and improved upon the ideas that are articulated in this document," said Khalid.

Rushanara Ali, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow and former international development secretary, described the declaration as timely, given that the impacts of climate change will be felt first in many areas of the Muslim world, such as north Africa and the Middle East.

"Coming so soon after the Papal Encyclical [on climate change], it sends an unmistakable signal that people across the faiths want to see a new global climate agreement signed this year and will hold their leaders, including David Cameron, to account if they fail to secure it," she said.

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