World Council of Churches Office of Communication
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14 November 2000

WCC challenges rich countries at Climate Change Conference in The Hague

The debate about climate change and the need to reduce emission levels of carbon dioxide is fundamentally an ethical issue. This is the position of the World Council of Churches at the Sixth Conference of Parties (COP6) on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, currently taking place in The Hague, Netherlands. The WCC is represented at the conference by an ecumenical delegation of twelve people.

"Over the years since the adoption of the Climate Change Convention at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, attention has shifted away from a priority on emissions reduction actions in the richer polluting countries to strategies for those same countries to purchase low-cost reduction credits in other countries. Wealthy polluting countries should not be allowed to buy their way out of the problem through paying for projects in other countries," says the WCC statement.

"The shift from the actual reduction of carbon dioxide emissions of the rich polluting countries to emissions trading is unethical as a primary means of meeting reduction targets," said the coordinator of the WCC's Climate Change Programme, Dr David Hallman.

On Saturday 18 November, the WCC delegation will share its views during an ecumenical workshop at the Zorgvlietkerk, Prins Mauritslaan 10, The Hague, starting at 10h:00. The workshop is being sponsored by Samen op Weg-kerken ("Together on the Way churches"), together with local churches and church networks.

The WCC is sponsoring an ecumenical church service at the Kloosterkerk in The Hague at 17h00 on Sunday, 19 November.

The WCC delegation is drawn from member churches in Argentina, India, Kenya, Russia, Mexico, Zimbabwe and China as well as Canada, the United Kingdom, the USA and Netherlands. These churches have been following the Framework Convention on Climate Change since the Rio Summit.

In The Hague, the delegation will call for climate change negotiations to be refocused on options that meet the criteria of environmental effectiveness, equity, responsibility and economic efficiency, with the priority being emissions reductions strategies in the high per capita polluting countries.

Contact in The Hague: Dr David Hallman, mobile telephone: 0031 62 364 4189 or email

The ecumenical church service will be shown live on the Internet.

For further details, including WCC recommendations to the Conference, the full WCC statement and the membership of the ecumenical delegation, click here.

For more information contact:
the Media Relations Office
tel.: (+41 22) 791 6153 (office);
e-mail: media
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The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches, now 337, in more than 100 countries in all continents from virtually all Christian traditions. The Roman Catholic Church is not a member church but works cooperatively with the WCC. The highest governing body is the assembly, which meets approximately every seven years. The WCC was formally inaugurated in 1948 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Its staff is headed by general secretary Konrad Raiser from the Evangelical Church in Germany.