Church of England urges positive response to climate change

By staff writers
June 22, 2007

The UK must face the challenge of climate change with passion and creativity, not gloomy martyrdom, the Church of England has told an official government-initiated consultation on a draft parlaimentary bill.

“If the UK can show the rest of the world an effective way of legislating against actions which we know will harm the planet, and in so doing have motivated good behaviour, it will have done the human family a very great service of leadership,” argues the submission by the Church’s Mission and Public Affairs Council to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ (DEFRA)Consultation on the draft Climate Change Bill.

Legislation must be used appropriately to help face the challenge, it argues, stating that while it is reasonable for primary legislation to provide for more detailed provisions to be made by orders or regulation, there is unease over the “tendency in recent years to give Governments power to amend primary legislation without the full processes of Parliamentary scrutiny.” The Church, it states, “continues to view this trend with much anxiety.”

In the document, the Church of England also argues that the system of ‘carbon credits’ – where countries each have an account of emission credits to ‘spend’ – must be regulated so that rich countries are unable to purchase credits from developing countries which have not signed the Kyoto agreement. The submission also suggests that rich countries should offer assistance with ‘clean’ development mechanisms.

The Church of England has recently celebrated the first anniversary of the launch of the Shrinking the Footprint campaign, a response to the General Synod’s charge to the Church to engage with climate change and work on reducing its carbon emissions.

Last month, May 2007, it published a booklet called How Many Lightbulbs does it take to Change a Christian, a guide designed to encourage Christians to play their part in helping stop climate change through making small changes to their daily lives.

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