Outcome of Cop26 means ‘life or death for millions’, warns archbishop

The Archbishop of Canterbury has said the outcome of the Cop26 climate summit will be “life or death for millions of people”.

Justin Welby said the talks, due to begin in Glasgow on Sunday, are “emergency operations” for the world and leaders should deliver for “the whole human family”.

Archbishop Welby, who worked in the oil industry prior to his ordination, will attend the summit on Monday and meet with groups including young members of the Anglican community and indigenous peoples.

He warned that radical action was needed but said there was still time to “save our world from the worst disaster”.

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He said: “The Cop26 climate talks are an emergency operation for our world and its people.

“The result will be life or death for millions of people. We have to take this moment so seriously.

“The world’s eyes are on Glasgow: leaders must deliver for the whole human family. We can and must choose life so that our children can live.

“If these conversations don’t work, we face a dark, troubling future – but there is still time to save our world from the worst disaster.

“This is a chance to start a life that is healthier, friendlier, and better for everyone.”

The Church of England has shed coal companies and says by 2023 it will be pulling investments from oil and gas companies that are not on the path to zero emissions.

An initiative that is now being supported by investors with funds amounting to 40 trillion US dollars to assess the climate performance of companies is also groundbreaking.

Archbishop Welby said he hoped the plight of the communities hardest hit by climate change would be highlighted on Cop26.

“I hope their voices will be heard, along with those of everyone on the burning frontline of climate injustice: the poorest, most vulnerable and marginalized people already living with droughts, floods and dwindling natural resources,” he said.

“People facing ruined lives and livelihoods, mass migration, instability, famine, war and death.

“People who see our prosperity, our vaccines against all kinds of diseases, including Covid-19, and yet do not share in their benefits.

“We can no longer ignore the cries of the oppressed people and the moans of our earth.”

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