The leader of the Anglican Church, Justin Welby, said there were reasons for hope that the world in 2022 would address the dangers from climate change.
The Archbishop of Canterbury said that important steps were taken at the UN’s climate change summit held in Glasgow, Scotland, in November, with world leaders recognising the scale of the problem.
“What it comes to climate change it is tempting to despair,” he said in his annual New Year message.
“But there are real reasons to hope. People of every background are campaigning and working for justice.”
In a speech before the summit, Mr Welby – the spiritual leader of tens of millions of people from 45 churches in more than 165 countries – said that humanity had “declared war” on creation over the past 100 years and must build a green economy and bring justice to the global south.
The UK-hosted event in Scotland was billed as the last opportunity to commit to keeping global temperature increases to within 1.5ºC of pre-industrial levels.
The conference increased ambitions to reduce emissions along with other initiatives and a surprise US-China deal, but experts said the next steps taken would decide whether it had been a success.
Island nations criticised the outcome of the conference, saying it had not gone fair enough to stop rising water levels caused by global warming, and to pay for the damage caused.
The charity Christian Aid last month calculated that climate disasters in 2021 caused damage in excess of $100 billion, one of the costliest years on record.
The European Union has drawn up plans to label some natural gas and nuclear energy projects as "green" investments after a year-long battle between governments over which investments are truly climate friendly.
The European Commission is expected to propose rules in January deciding whether gas and nuclear projects will be included in a green list of possible investments, and potentially receive state-backed financing.
A draft of the Commission's proposal, seen by Reuters, would label nuclear power plant investments as green if the project has a plan, funds and a site to safely dispose of radioactive waste.
Investments in natural gas power plants will also be considered green if they produce emissions below 270 grams of CO2 equivalent per kilowatt hour and replace a more polluting fossil fuel plant.
The EU's expert advisers had recommended that gas plants not be labelled as green investments unless they met a lower 100g CO2/kwh emissions limit, based on the deep emissions cuts scientists say are needed to avoid disastrous climate change.
EU countries and a panel of expert advisers will scrutinise the draft proposal, which could change before publication, which is expected later in January.