Quakers join international action for climate loss and damage
Quakers in Britain will join partner organisations in launching the new Make Polluters Pay campaign as part of the first ever international Loss and Damage Awareness Day on Thursday 23 September.
As part of the day, Quakers are supporting the launch of a new film, 'This is Loss and Damage – Who Pays?' narrated by film actor Mark Strong, which will be screened as part of an online event featuring Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate and UK MP Caroline Lucas.
The term 'loss and damage' refers to climate impacts including floods and sea-level rise as well as extreme weather events such as hurricanes, which are becoming more frequent and more severe as a result of fossil fuels heating the planet.
This loss and damage is destroying homes, lands and livelihoods around the world – but there is no international agreement on who should pay for it. Countries most vulnerable to climate breakdown have identified this as a key priority for the COP26 climate talks in November, but there is little sign of progress from richer countries.
It is a moral outrage that the fossil fuel companies which caused this crisis continue to profit from it.- Olivia Hanks for Quakers in Britain
The Make Polluters Pay campaign is calling for payments for loss and damage to be funded from a 'Climate Damages Tax' on fossil fuel extraction. The campaign is being launched with a declaration signed by more than 40 organisations including Christian Aid, the New Economics Foundation and Global Justice Now as well as Quakers in Britain.
The declaration notes that “the fossil fuel industry has known for decades that what they produced and marketed would result in the heating of the planet [and] they have made trillions in profits while funding climate denial and misinformation to prevent governments shifting our economies away from fossil fuel powered systems". It urges the UK Government to end all fossil fuel subsidies as well as introducing a tax on the fossil fuel industry.
As part of Loss and Damage Awareness Day, Quakers in Britain have also worked with partner organisations to produce a guide to taking action and starting conversations around loss and damage. They are inviting individuals to sign a petition to accompany the declaration, calling on the Prime Minister to support an international loss and damage fund. Several interfaith vigils highlighting loss and damage are expected to take place around the UK as part of the day.
Olivia Hanks, Economics & Sustainability Programme Manager for Quakers in Britain, said: “Loss and damage caused by climate change is rapidly getting worse around the world. It is a moral outrage that the fossil fuel companies which caused this crisis continue to profit from it.
“Quakers and the other faith groups we are working with in the run-up to COP26 are united in seeing loss and damage finance as an urgent priority. Governments of rich countries like the UK are looking on while the world burns. They must take urgent action to hold fossil fuel companies accountable for the chaos they have caused."
David Hillman, Director of the Make Polluters Pay campaign said: “Communities at the sharp end of the climate crisis have been waiting for more than 30 years for rich countries to step up to the mark. They can't wait any longer. We call on the Prime Minister to show leadership at COP26 and declare UK support for an International Climate Damages Fund to compensate communities hit by loss and damage. Success or failure of this COP will depend on it."