Islamic scholars from around the world have endorsed a
declaration calling on nations to phase out greenhouse gas
emissions and switch to 100% renewable energy.
Islamic Declaration on Climate Change will be seen as the
religion's major contribution ahead of the UN climate talks in
Paris this December.
Released during a two-day symposium on Islam and
climate change in Istanbul, the declaration lays out why Muslims
should be concerned about the planet, and sets out a series of
demands to world leaders and the business community.
It is the second major intervention to have emerged
from the faith community this year, after Pope Francis released
encyclical on climate change and the environment in
Writing the declaration
The process of drafting the declaration began around
six months ago. A team of five Islamic scholars were involved in
crafting the initial document.
These were Ibrahim Ozdemir (professor of philosophy
and founding president of Gazikent University), Azizan Baharuddin
(a professor at the University of Malaya), Othman Llewellyn
(environmental planner at the Saudi Wildlife Authority), Fazlun
Khalid (founder of the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and
Environmental Science) and Fachruddin Mangunjaya (vice chairman of
Center for Islamic Studies at the Universitas Nasional in
Abdelmajid Tribak, head of environmental programmes at
ISESCO (the Islamic version of UNESCO), helped to convene
environment ministers from around the Muslim world.
Other Muslim scholars were then invited to give their
input to the draft, which went through around eight or nine
incarnations before it was presented to 60 participants at this
week's symposium, where it was fine-tuned and finalised during a
late-night session in Istanbul, says Khalid.
The declaration calls on four separate groups with a
series of demands for tackling climate change.
First, it calls on the policy makers responsible for
crafting the UN's climate change agreement this December to come to
"an equitable and binding conclusion". Specifically, the deal
should set clear targets and establish ways to monitor them, says
It calls on well-off nations and oil-producing states
to phase out their emissions no later than the middle of the
century, turn away from "unethical profit from the environment" and
invest in a green economy.
It calls on people and leaders from all nations to
commit to 100% renewable energy and a zero emissions strategy as
soon as possible, and to recognise that unlimited economic growth
is not a viable option. It adds that adaptation should also be
prioritised, particularly for the most vulnerable groups.
And finally it calls on the business sector, which it
says should take a more active role to reduce their carbon
footprint, also commit to 100% renewables and zero emissions, shift
investments into renewable energy, adopt more sustainable business
models and assist in the divestment from fossil fuels.
It finally issues a call to "all Muslims wherever they
may be" - including the media, education, mosques and UN