Churches give guarded welcome following Bali climate conference

By staff writers
December 17, 2007

The Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church have welcomed the final political consensus reached at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali, Indonesia but are urging national governments to show greater leadership to save the planet from the destructive force of global warming.

Representatives at the conference announced a range of measures to replace the Kyoto Protocol when it runs out in 2012, but these do not include defined targets for cutting greenhouse emissions.

Graham Sparkes, Head of the Faith and Unity Department at the Baptist Union of Great Britain, said: “As the UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon says, this is the ‘defining challenge of our age’. We must act now, and the reluctance of some countries to set clear goals to do so, is lamentable. Developed nations have a particular responsibility to take urgent action to reduce the impact of global warming on poorer, developing countries so we welcome the progress made on managing and financing a fund to help countries adapt to climate change.”

Anthea Cox, Co-ordinating Secretary of the Public Life and Social Justice Department at the Methodist Church, also said there was still much more to be done. "As negotiations continue over the next two years, we urge governments and industry to do more and make the sacrifices that need to be made to mitigate the impact of climate change. This is a justice as well as a security issue and we recognise that voluntary action is insufficient. Political will and action is now vital if we are to build a low carbon economy in the UK and globally" she said.

Convener of the Church and Society Committee at the United Reformed Church, Simon Loveitt added: “As Christians, the care of God’s creation has been for too long a side issue, and this cannot continue. We should be at the forefront of protecting our environment not lagging behind. We should be lobbying our governments to bring about deep cuts in national carbon emissions while modifying our own lifestyles and church life.”

The three church denominations have agreed a joint response to the British government’s upcoming Climate Change Bill and have produced a briefing paper on the bill for their church members.

Whilst welcoming the lead shown by the government in producing the bill, concern has been expressed that it delivers insufficient cuts in carbon emissions in the UK.

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