Anglicans urge hope and realism for Copenhagen climate change summit

By agency reporter
October 13, 2009

The Anglican Communion Environmental Network (ACEN) is urging Christians to prepare for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference Of Parties (COP) Meetings to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark in December 2009.

ACEN has issued a statement to Anglicans worldwide, to climate change convention delegates, faith community representatives, observer organizations and others, to emphasise that reflective faith is vital to saving the planet.

Based on a text by convener Bishop George Browning, retired Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn in Australia, the network’s nineteen provincial representatives has prepared a three-page statement seeking to address the moral consequences of climate change and to provoke UN delegates to combine vision and practicality as they devise a political system which will take effect in 2012 when the Kyoto Protocol expires.

They write: “We look to the Copenhagen conference with hope but also with realism… there must be a desire on the part of every nation to do what they know they must, not because they are legally bound, but because they share a vision for a more just and sustainable future . . . We pray that each nation will come to the conference wanting the highest level outcome; that demanding targets will be set, not in an attempt to discipline reluctant participants, or to give some preferential treatment which undermines the whole; but that a greater vision might be shared.

“The Anglican Communion occupies a unique position globally in terms of affecting and suffering from climate change:

“From all points of the globe we point to the reality of climate change and to the very serious effect it is already having upon our people; from severe weather events, to prolonged droughts, major floods, loss of habitat and changing seasons.”

The Network stresses that its position is faith-based:

“Our faith and our ancestors have always taught us that the earth is our mother and deserves respect; we know that this respect has not been given. We know that like a mother the earth will continue to give its all to us. However, we also know that we are now demanding more than it is able to provide. Science confirms what we already know, our human footprint is changing the face of the earth and because we come from the earth, it is changing us too.”

They continue: “Our statement is framed in the context of hope channelled through a positive vision. We have always known that “without a vision, the people perish”. The Copenhagen Conference can either produce a bland, minimalist set of non-enforceable targets or it can sketch a vision to inspire the world and its peoples. Leaders lead, please . . . do not let us down.”

A PDF version of the Statement is available here:

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