UK Christian agencies act to stop climate chaos

UK Christian agencies act to stop climate chaos

By staff writers
2 Sep 2005

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UK Christian agencies act to stop climate chaos

-02/09/05

Representatives of Christian Aid, CAFOD (the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development) and Tearfund took part in the dramatic launch of a new climate change campaign ñ Stop Climate Chaos ñ in central London yesterday.

Around 500 campaigners lay down in front of the oil company Shellís UK headquarters, near the south bank of the Thames, to form the swirling shape of the ëStop Climate Chaosí logo.

"It's curious to be asked to lie in the park during a morning at work, but thereís little campaigners wonít do to draw attention to their cause," declared Paul Valentin, Christian Aidís international director, whose body formed part of the logo.

The new campaign brings together 18 organisations, including development and environmental groups such as Christian Aid, Oxfam, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth.

"Climate change is an increasingly harsh reality for people in rich and poor countries alike, but poor people are most vulnerable when disasters strike," said Paul Valentin.

The tragedy in New Orleans further underlines the need to act now on climate change, say environmental scientists. Poor people with whom we work have faced many such disasters already.

Valentin continued: "It is critical that we campaign for a major shift in the attitude of governments, especially those in the rich world."

"As a development organisation, we can't ignore climate change," Tearfund's advocacy director, Andy Atkins told the BBC today. "But in addition, as a Christian organisation, Tearfund has in its operating principles that Christians should be involved with the whole of God's creation, not just people. We have a good biblical mandate to be involved in climate change."

Elsewhere in the UK, the Church of Scotland has taken a lead on climate issues though its Society, Religion and Technology Project. The Methodist Church has also encouraged congregations to take a climate change action pledge.

Meanwhile, the Church of England's recent report, Caring for God's Planet, has endorsed the concept of 'contraction and convergence', through which all countries would limit future greenhouse gas emissions in an equitable manner.

Stop Climate Chaos plans to expand its reach to include faiths other than Christianity. Today its director, Ashok Sinha, welcomed the alliance of faith and non-faith groups taking action on a common cause.

In the US bodies like the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) and the National Council of Churches USA (NCCUSA), representing 100 million Christians between them, have been putting pressure on a reluctant Bush administration.

In January 2005, the general secretaries of the World Council of Churches and the Lutheran World Federation also urged political leaders across the globe to heed the danger that climate change could pose in triggering disasters like the Asian tsunami.

Other members of the Stop Climate Chaos action coalition include Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Network for Social Change, Oxfam, People and Planet, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the Womenís Institute and the World Wildlife Fund.

The campaign is calling on the government to cut UK greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent ahead of 2010 and to press other rich countries to do the same.

It also urges rich countries to help poorer nations deal with the impact of climate change and to fund the development of renewable energy so that poor countries can grow their economies while relying wherever possible on clean sources of power.

Last year churches in Britain launched Operation Noah, which seeks to get Christian communities and households to sign a covenant promising to cut their own greenhouse gas emissions. Among the denominational signatories was the Methodist Church.

Representatives of Christian Aid, CAFOD (the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development) and Tearfund took part in the dramatic launch of a new climate change campaign - Stop Climate Chaos - in central London yesterday.

Around 500 campaigners lay down in front of the oil company Shell's UK headquarters, near the south bank of the Thames, to form the swirling shape of the ëStop Climate Chaos' logo.

"It's curious to be asked to lie in the park during a morning at work, but there's little campaigners won't do to draw attention to their cause," declared Paul Valentin, Christian Aid's international director, whose body formed part of the logo.

The new campaign brings together 18 organisations, including development and environmental groups such as Christian Aid, Oxfam, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth.

"Climate change is an increasingly harsh reality for people in rich and poor countries alike, but poor people are most vulnerable when disasters strike," said Paul Valentin.

The tragedy in New Orleans further underlines the need to act now on climate change, say environmental scientists. Poor people with whom we work have faced many such disasters already.

Valentin continued: "It is critical that we campaign for a major shift in the attitude of governments, especially those in the rich world."

"As a development organisation, we can't ignore climate change," Tearfund's advocacy director, Andy Atkins told the BBC today. "But in addition, as a Christian organisation, Tearfund has in its operating principles that Christians should be involved with the whole of God's creation, not just people. We have a good biblical mandate to be involved in climate change."

Elsewhere in the UK, the Church of Scotland has taken a lead on climate issues though its Society, Religion and Technology Project. The Methodist Church has also encouraged congregations to take a climate change action pledge.

Meanwhile, the Church of England's recent report, Caring for God's Planet, has endorsed the concept of 'contraction and convergence', through which all countries would limit future greenhouse gas emissions in an equitable manner.

Stop Climate Chaos plans to expand its reach to include faiths other than Christianity. Today its director, Ashok Sinha, welcomed the alliance of faith and non-faith groups taking action on a common cause.

In the US bodies like the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) and the National Council of Churches USA (NCCUSA), representing 100 million Christians between them, have been putting pressure on a reluctant Bush administration.

In January 2005, the general secretaries of the World Council of Churches and the Lutheran World Federation also urged political leaders across the globe to heed the danger that climate change could pose in triggering disasters like the Asian tsunami.

Other members of the Stop Climate Chaos action coalition include Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Network for Social Change, Oxfam, People and Planet, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the Women's Institute and the World Wildlife Fund.

The campaign is calling on the government to cut UK greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent ahead of 2010 and to press other rich countries to do the same.

It also urges rich countries to help poorer nations deal with the impact of climate change and to fund the development of renewable energy so that poor countries can grow their economies while relying wherever possible on clean sources of power.

Last year churches in Britain launched Operation Noah, which seeks to get Christian communities and households to sign a covenant promising to cut their own greenhouse gas emissions. Among the denominational signatories was the Methodist Church.

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