Faith Leaders call on the Prime Minister to deliver a world-leading plan to tackle climate change

The Climate Coalition
6 min readOct 29, 2020


Faith leaders at The Time Is Now mass lobby for climate, nature and people in June 2019

In a letter to the Prime Minister, faith leaders have called on the government to put forward an enhanced Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) that gets the UK on track to a 1.5C future.

The letter, signed by more than 60 representatives of Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist communities, emphasises that the government’s plan must raise ambition globally ahead of the COP26 summit, taking place in Glasgow in November 2021.

Dear Prime Minister,

As COP26 President, the UK’s single most important job is to rally all countries to raise ambition and put forward enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) that close the gap to 1.5°C. As representatives of UK faith communities, we know that faith groups have a powerful responsibility to take action on climate, including supporting the moral and ethical necessity of an ambitious UK NDC. We therefore add our voices to support this call together with Faith for the Climate and the Climate Coalition.

A world-leading high ambition UK NDC would send an important political signal and catalyse historic action across the world’s capitals to make the right investments for all our futures. The UK NDC is the most powerful diplomatic tool the UK has to inspire and mobilise global action on delivering the Paris Agreement, especially if the UK puts forward the NDC early, thereby leading from the front.

Climate change affects humanity at the deepest level, raising profound questions about our relationship with the living world. As faith leaders in the UK, we know this especially because of our engagement with the poorest communities here and around the world who are already suffering most. We must all try to find the moral courage to confront these questions, and to transform ourselves and our society.

Faith groups in the UK are already taking urgent climate action, with thousands of places of worship switching to renewable energy and religious groups divesting from fossil fuels and reinvesting in measures to protect the environment. Many grassroots religious congregations and leaders have also grown green initiatives such as Eco Church, Eco Synagogue, Eco Mosque, Eco Dharma, EcoSikh UK, and Hindu Climate Action. These national actions are linked to global efforts, including Pope Francis’s urgent call for governments to produce ambitious NDCs ahead of COP26 and the work of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

As you make this important decision on behalf of the British people, we wanted to take this opportunity to reiterate our support for the UK government to demonstrate bold leadership and put forward an NDC that:

Catalyses global ambition: A world-leading UK NDC as early as possible this year would catalyse increased ambition from other countries, and maintain momentum despite the delay to COP26. With the EU expected to deliver an enhanced NDC in early December, ensuring a world-leading UK NDC in advance of that would enable our friends in Europe to increase the ambition of the EU NDC to the greatest extent possible, and in turn catalyse enhanced ambition across the world.

Is net zero and 1.5°C aligned: The UK NDC must be at the very least aligned with 1.5°C and net zero, and achieved entirely through domestic action, without the use of international credits. This requires a significant increase on existing fifth carbon budget commitments since this only represents 80% emissions reductions by 2050 rather than net zero.

Is equitable: The international community and civil society will assess the UK NDC against the UK’s ‘fair share’ of the global effort of achieving 1.5°C, under the UNFCCC principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. As you stated at the COP26 launch, as the first country to industrialise and looking at the UK’s historic emissions, we have a responsibility to lead in this way.

This is an historic moment for global leadership from the UK, to put forward a world-leading NDC to inspire all other nations of the world to do the same — arguably the most important investment that could be made in all our futures.

Yours sincerely,

Shanon Shah, Network Coordinator for Faith for the Climate

Clara Goldsmith, Campaign Director for The Climate Coalition

Faith for the Climate and the Climate Coalition, together with the following individual signatories and organisations:

Sheikh Abdulqadir, Imam Al-Muntada, West London Islamic Cultural Centre

Imam Abid Khan, The CMA (Cheadle Muslim Association) Community Centre and Masjid (Centre)

Bishop John Arnold, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Salford; Bishops Conference lead on the Environment; Chair of Trustees of CAFOD

Rabbi Robyn Ashworth-Steen, Manchester Reform Synagogue

Andy Atkins, CEO of A Rocha UK; Co-Chair of the Churches Environmental Issues Network Chair of Climate Sunday Initiative

Rabbi Dr Barbara Borts, Associate Lecturer, Dept of Music, Newcastle University; Honorary Research Associate, Department of Anthropology, Durham University

Talia Chain, CEO, Sadeh Farm; Trustee, Faith for the Climate

Rt Revd Richard Cheetham, Bishop of Kingston

Jamie Cresswell, Chair, Religions for Peace UK; Trustee, Faith for the Climate; President, European Buddhist Union

Rt Revd Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford

Revd Clare Downing, Moderator of General Assembly, United Reformed Church

Rabbi Colin Eimer, Emeritus Rabbi, Sha’arei Tsedek North London Reform Synagogue

Rabbi Warren Elf MBE, Faith Network for Manchester; Southend and District Reform Synagogue; Liverpool Reform Synagogue

Fazlun Khalid, Founder, Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences (IFEES)

Rabbi Adam Frankenberg

Olivia Fuchs, Eco Dharma Network coordinator

Canon Giles Goddard, Chair, Faith for the Climate

Rabbi Mark Goldsmith, Edgware & Hendon Reform Synagogue; EcoSynagogue Steering Group

Rabbi Aaron Goldstein, Chair, Conference of Liberal Rabbis and Cantors; Senior Rabbi, Northwood and Pinner Liberal Synagogue

Rt Revd Olivia Graham, Bishop of Reading

Robert Harrap, General Director of SGI-UK

Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury and Church of England lead Bishop on Environmental Affairs

Dr Husna Ahmad OBE, CEO, Global One, Trustee, Faith for the Climate

Sheikh Imtiyaz Damiel, Abu Hanifah Foundation

Rabbi Margaret Jacobi, Birmingham Progressive Synagogue

BK Jayanti, Director, Brahma Kumaris, UK

Dr Jagbir Jhutti-Johal, Senior Lecturer, Sikh Studies, University of Birmingham; Trustee, Faith for the Climate

Rt Revd James Jones, KBE

Sheikh Kazi Luthfur Rahman, Imam & Khateeb, London Central Mosque, Regents Park

Carolyn Lawrence, Vice-President of the Methodist Conference

Amandeep Kaur Mann, EcoSikh UK

Rabbi David Mason, EcoSynagogue Steering Group

Dr Hardeep Singh Mudhar, Director, EcoSikh UK

Molana Mujahid Ali, Imam, Hafs Academy

Alison Murdoch, Chair of Trustees, Jamyang Buddhist Centre, London

Rabbi Danny Newman, HaMakom; Edgware Masorti Synagogue; and Elstree & Borehamwood Masorti Community

Rabbi Jeffrey Newman, Emeritus Rabbi, Finchley Reform Synagogue

Paul Parker, Recording Clerk, Quakers in Britain

Trupti Patel, President Hindu Forum of Britain; Trustee, Faith for the Climate

Peter Pay, Moderator of General Assembly, United Reformed Church

Imam Qari Muhammad Asim MBE, Chair, Mosques & Imams National Advisory Board (MINAB)

Imam Rahmat Salik, Hull Mosque and Islamic Centre

Dr Ravi, Trustee, Liverpool Mosque & Institute

Rabbi Tanya Sakhnovich, Nottingham Liberal Synagogue; EcoSynagogue Steering Group

Francesca Sanchez, Deputy Chair of Trustees, Jamyang Buddhist Centre, London

Chief Imam Sayed Ali Abbas Razawi, FRSA, Director General of the Scottish Ahlul Bayt Society; Trustee, Faith for the Climate

Rabbi Sylvia Rothschild

Rabbi Elli Tikvah Sarah, Brighton & Hove Progressive Synagogue

Rabbi Fabian Sborovsky, Menorah Synagogue, Cheshire Reform Congregation

Rabbi Irit Shillor, Harlow Jewish Community

Prubhjyot Singh, Midlands Representative, EcoSikh UK

Shaykh Suliman Gani, Imam, Purley Masjid

Sheikh Suliman, Trustee, Edmonton Islamic Centre

Tabarak Iqbal, President, Liverpool John Moore University Islamic Society

Rabbi Jackie Tabick, Convenor of the Beit Din for Reform Judaism and Progressive communities in Europe

Rabbi Larry Tabick (retired)

Revd Richard Teal, President of the Methodist Conference

Avnish Thakrar, National Coordinator, Hindu Climate Action

Neil Thorns, Director of Advocacy and Communications, CAFOD

Rt Revd Graham Usher, Bishop of Norwich

Canon Guy Wilkinson CBE, Secretary, Faith for the Climate

Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, Rabbi, New North London Synagogue; Senior Rabbi of Masorti Judaism; EcoSynagogue Steering Group

Rabbi Alexandra Wright, Liberal Jewish Synagogue



The Climate Coalition

The Climate Coalition is the largest group of people in the UK dedicated to tackling climate change, with our sister orgs @SCCscot and @SCCCymru