Archbishop of Canterbury compares climate change to rise of Nazis

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby apologized on Monday after comparing the inaction of world leaders regarding the climate crisis to the appeasement of Nazis in the 1930s.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. January 26, 2020 (photo credit: REUTERS/THOMAS MUKOYA)
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. January 26, 2020
(photo credit: REUTERS/THOMAS MUKOYA)

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby apologized on Monday after saying world leaders who fail to act on climate change could be making a bigger mistake than their predecessors who ignored warnings about the rise of the Nazis.

Welby, the spiritual leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion of about 85 million Christians, speaking at the start of the climate change summit in Scotland said he was sorry for the offense caused to Jews by his comments.

"I unequivocally apologize for the words I used when trying to emphasize the gravity of the situation facing us at COP26," Welby said on Twitter. "It's never right to make comparisons with the atrocities brought by the Nazis."

The UN summit critical to averting the most disastrous effects of climate change opened on Monday, with world leaders, environmental experts and activists pleading for decisive action to halt global warming.

Welby earlier told the BBC world leaders will be "cursed" if they fail to reach an agreement on climate change.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby looks on during the funeral of Britain's Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth, who died at the age of 99, at St George's Chapel, in Windsor, Britain, April 17, 2021. (credit: YUI MOK/POOL VIA REUTERS/FILE PHOTO)The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby looks on during the funeral of Britain's Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth, who died at the age of 99, at St George's Chapel, in Windsor, Britain, April 17, 2021. (credit: YUI MOK/POOL VIA REUTERS/FILE PHOTO)

"People will speak of them in far stronger terms than we speak ... of the politicians who ignored what was happening in Nazi Germany because this will kill people all around the world for generations," he said.

"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."