Archbishop Justin Welby apologises for making Nazi genocide comparison at COP26

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby  (PA Archive)
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby (PA Archive)

The Archbishop of Canterbury has apologised for suggesting in a BBC interview that failure to act at the COP26 summit might be worse than leaders who ignored warnings about the Nazis in the 1930s.

The Most Reverent Justin Welby tweeted: “I unequivocally apologise for the words I used when trying to emphasise the gravity of the situation facing us at COP26. It’s never right to make comparisons with the atrocities brought by the Nazis and I’m sorry for the offence caused to Jews by these words.”

His comments on Monday afternoon came after Laura Kuenssberg, the BBC’s political editor, tweeted about the comparison made by the archbishop. 

“Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby’s here at COP too - tells me leaders will be ‘cursed’ if they don’t reach agreement in next fortnight, and suggests failure to act would be possibly more grave than leaders who ignored warnings about the Nazis in the 30s,” she wrote. 

Watch: Archbishop of Canterbury calls on world leaders to 'be bolder' in climate change fight

Mr Welby had told Kuenssberg that world leaders "will be cursed if they don't get this right".

He added that “people will speak of them in far stronger terms than we speak today of the politicians of the 30s, of the politicians who ignored what was happening in Nazi Germany because this will kill people all around the world for generations, and we have will have no means of averting it”.

Mr Welby went on to say: “It will allow a genocide on an infinitely greater scale.

“I’m not sure there’s grades of genocide, but there's width of genocide, and this will be genocide indirectly, by negligence, recklessness, that will in the end come back to us or to our children and grandchildren.”

The archbishop previously said he was attending COP26 to listen to countries which are most affected by climate change, and to encourage those who are making progress.

Mr Welby also spoke about how tackling climate change “is absolutely a moral issue”.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: “This is our neighbours all around the world, those who are already suffering catastrophic impacts, this is life or death.”

He told the programme: “Success in Glasgow is that it gives confidence to the poorest in the world and to voters in the global north that this is achievable.

“That’s what success looks like - that steps have been taken that mean that we will get to the 1.5 degrees target. That is doable.”

Watch: What will the world look like in 2030, 2040, 2050?

Read More

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

Marathon debate sees terminally ill peer urge relaxation of assisted dying laws

Dying peer urges greater control for terminally ill adults to end their lives

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting