UN climate conference in Copenhagen, December 2009

March for climate justice

The WCC and church-realted development organizations were co-organizers of a civil society demonstration in Copenhagen on Saturday, 12 December.

Cecilia Hage

Cecilia Hage, aged 19, from Stockholm, Sweden says: We have to trust in God that he will give us the power to accept this challenge and that he will get us through it. Saving His creation is our responsibility as the keepers of this world that God created us to be. Listen to an interview

The archbishop of Canterbury

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams adressing Christian participants of the march at a pre-demonstration the Cathedral Square.

Icy polar bear

"It is easy for people to understand climate change when they see a 500 kilogram bear slowly melt and disappear," says Norwegian artist Olaf Storø. Read the full story on the ENI website

Pledges and calls for climate protection

On Sunday 13 December 2009 Archbishop (em.) Desmond Tutu handed over a clock representing half a million signatures and pledges for climate justice to Yvo de Boer, UNFCCC executive secretary.

Desmond Tutu

512,894 pledges

The 512,894 signatories of the Copenhagen pledge committed to reducing their personal contribution to CO2 emissions through recycling, reusing and reducing consumption, and to press political leaders for a climate change agreement that is fair to poor countries.


Archbishop Desmond Tutu together with the Danish band Outlandish.

Ecumenical Celebration

An ecumenical celebration, attended by Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, members of the Danish government, participants at the UN climate change summit and a plethora of religious leaders, was hosted by the National Council of Churches in Denmark in collaboration with DanChurchAid and the WCC.

Do not be afraid!

In his sermon, the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams spoke about fear as the root of excuses to avoid the difficult and costly decisions that the climate change crisis requires – "decisions that will mean real change". "We meet as people of faith in the context of this critical moment in human history [to say] do not be afraid", Williams said. As "love casts out fear", it also helps to take "the right decisions for our global future".

One world

"We have only one world, this world, if we destroy it, we have nothing else", said Archbishop Desmond Tutu, speaking at a press conference following the ecumenical celebration.

Lack of ice in Greenland

The Bishop of Greenland Sofie Petersen, from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark, spoke of the impact of climate change on the lives of fishermen and hunters. "Because of the lack of ice on the sea, hunters cannot go hunting like in the earlier days and because of that people cannot get their food", she said.

"We want to survive!"

The president of the Congregational Christian Church of Tuvalu, Rev. Tofiga Falani, explained that in his country, a Polynesian island nation made up of eight coral atolls, there is no place higher than four feet (1.2 metres) above sea level. He pleaded to rich countries to be heedful of the consequences of their development for thousands of people living on those low-lying atolls. "We want to survive!" Falani said.

Faith-based approaches to climate justice

"It is time we have the guts to name the problem. It is not sex, not money, not the poor. It is the rich," Fr Erny Gillen said at a side event to the climate negotiations organized by the WCC and Caritas internationalis, Monday 14 December. © WCC/Mark Beach

Joy Kennedy

"We need to find ways to replace greed with an economy of enough," Joy Kennedy, a member of the WCC Working Group on Climate Change and the United Church of Canada, said at the event called "Renew the face of Earth: Faith-based approaches to climate justice". © WCC/Mark Beach

Tofiga Falani

"Our petition is that we want to survive," said Rev. Tofiga Falani, president of the Congregational Christian Church of Tuvalu. © WCC/Mark Beach

"Where is God in this crisis?"

At a public seminar on "Creation and the climate crisis" on 15 December 2009, biblical scholar Barbara Rossing rejected the notion that God is punishing humanity. She rather sees God "lamenting with the world".

Relatives or strangers?

"The world is a world in which we are all relatives, but somewhere along the line we decided to treat each other as strangers", Jesse Mugambi from the University of Nairobi said.

United in crisis

"In a very threatening and very disturbing way, the climate crisis brings us together as one humanity, as one fellowship of believers, as one church", said Olav Fykse Tveit, WCC general secretary-elect.


All pictures © WCC/Peter Williams except when indicated otherwise.
High resolution versions of these pictures are available upon request. More photos can be found on Flickr.