Archbishop urges climate action to mark Environment Sunday

By staff writers
June 5, 2009

With Environment Sunday approaching on 7 June 2009, The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams has issued an appeal to churches to pray and act for the environment ahead of key United Nations talks on climate change.

Dr Williams is urging churches to use the special Sunday focus this weekend as an opportunity both to pray for the planet and to campaign to ensure that the best deal is reached by government leaders at the Copenhagen summit.

He also issued his comments to coincide with World Environment Day on 5 June 2009.

"Whilst it will be for governments meeting in Copenhagen in December to agree a successor to the Kyoto regime for global reductions in carbon emissions - and we all want those to be both ambitious and deliverable - we have a part to play,” he declared.

He added: “Governments need to know that people want them to be ambitious. They need a mandate.”

The Archbishop said that climate change was probably the most important issue the world is facing today and emphasised that it was a matter of justice as well as one of caring for the environment.

He commented: “As usual, the poorest are likely to suffer the most though the richest have contributed most to pollute the atmosphere and accelerate global warming. So we can pray that a proper sense of responsibility (not least to the generations who will follow us) and of justice guides the hearts and the minds of the politicians who will meet in Copenhagen.”

The Archbishop urged Christians from all traditions to get involved alongside others with events and campaigns taking place between now and December. He plans to be in Copenhagen to support last minute campaigning for a suitable deal to emerge from the talks.

Writing for Ekklesia, political economist Ann Pettifor, who is campaigns director for the churches' coalition Operation Noah ( says she wants action on the environment to be "science-informed, faith-inspired, and hope-driven."

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