Archbishop Welby sorry for comparing climate inaction to failure opposing Nazis in 1930s
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Archbishop Welby sorry for comparing climate inaction to failure opposing Nazis in 1930s

Archbishop of Canterbury 'unequivocally apologises' for remark and 'for the offence caused to Jews by these words'

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has “unequivocally apologised” after comparing inaction on climate change to the failure to oppose Nazism in the 1930s.

The Anglican leader took to Twitter saying sorry for comments made in an interview with BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg.

He suggested that failure amongst politicians to reach agreement on the steps to tackle climate change could be “possibly more grave than leaders who ignored warnings about the Nazis in the 30s.”

Kuenssberg tweeted on Monday about a conversation she had with the Archbishop ahead of the opening ceremony at the COP26 conference in Glasgow.

She wrote that Welby “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.”

After she tweeted, many online reacted with anger at the Archbishop’s apparent comparison between the climate change emergency and the failure to act against Adolf Hitler’s German Nazi Party.

Welby responded by quoted her tweet, saying: “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.”

Word leaders have been urged to use the gathering to commit themselves to a series of goals in the battle against climate change.

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