Islam and Emissions: Islamic Climate Declaration Declares Religious Duty to Combat Climate Change

As the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris draws tantalizingly closer, more and more nations are producing long term plans to cut carbon emissions and pivot their energy usage towards renewables. With this much pressure on the international scale it is sometimes easy to overlook the work done by non-governmental bodies. At an international symposium in Istanbul, a team of five Muslim scholars (with input from others in the same field) presented the Islamic Climate Declaration (ICD), calling for the eventual switch to 100% renewable energy.

What is it?

The ICD is a call to action aimed at a variety of different groups. It first gives its support to the UN policymakers at COP21, asking them to come to “an equitable and binding conclusion.” There is a specific focus on well-off nations, though encouragingly it also includes oil-producing nations, many of which have a Muslim majority. It asks these well-off nations to phase out emissions by 2050 and provide more funding to developing nations. Finally, it calls on both leaders and businesses to take an active role to commit to 100% renewables.

Call for Action

Although I am not Islamic scholar, the ICD explains that 750 Koranic verses suggest that stewardship of the natural world is key to Islam. Other religious institutions including the Catholic Church, who recently released their own climate change cyclical, support the IDC and desire to work alongside the initiative in a cross-cultural push for reform. It is encouraging to see scholars from major world religions putting their moral weight behind action on climate change.