Eco-banner at No 10 will highlight the need for urgent climate action

By staff writers
July 16, 2008

What may be the largest petition ever handed in to any British Prime Minister will be presented to 10 Downing Street by Christian environmental campaigners on Thursday 17 July 2008.

Hoping to prove that when it comes to action rather than words "size matters", members of the Devon Christian Climate Change Coalition have produced a giant banner covered in signatures.

They are being joined joined by others from the national churches' Operation Noah campaign, which brings together Christians from across the country.

The banner measures 5 by 3 metres, with the reverse side holding hundreds of endosrsements from leaders and members of churches in Devon.

The call is to go well beyond the 50 per cent reduction in emissions talked about by the G8 rich countries last week, which campaigners say is insufficient.

Instead, Operation Noah and other concerned groups are asking for the UK to reduce its CO2 emissions by 80 per cent through to 2050.

Christian Aid and the development agencies who are part of the coalition also want to highlight the impact of global warming on the very poorest throughout the world.

Mark Dowd from Operation Noah declared: "This banner is one way of expressing our concern. It is both a message to government from the churches but also a statement to the churches from those of us already engaging with the issue of global warming."

The Rev Sheila Swarbrick from Exeter, who is involved in hospital chaplaincy and who will be among those presenting the petition, told Ekklesia that the banner is an important symbol of the commitment of the local Christian community to act positively on environmental issues.

Church congregations and organisations are seeking to move towards the emissions target they are asking of the government and large corporations through improved insulation, energy conservation, support for green electricity, re-use , reduction and recycling, and support for locally sourced produce.

Martyn Goss, who coordinates Anglican and ecumenical social responsibility work in Exeter, commented: "It is clear that churches are now becoming more actively aware of the threat that climate change poses for future generations."

He continued: "Our carelessness now, and in the past, has led to a dangerous situation which needs urgently to be addressed. Churches can act themselves by reducing their own footprint on the planet, and influence others to do the same."

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