British Church leaders have called on European politicians to make firm commitments on climate change policy at the EU summit meeting in Strasbourg, which starts today (29 October).
The Methodist Church, the Baptist Union of Great Britain and the United Reformed Church have urged the European Union to agree cuts of at least 40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020 and for these cuts to be made within the EU without extensive use of carbon offsets.
The Conference of European Churches (CEC) sent a letter to MEPs this week emphasisisng the need to reduce dependence on the consumption of fossil-based energy.
“Europe must not be afraid to lead on climate change” said Martyn Atkins of the Methodist Church in Britain, “This challenge will not be solved by nations sitting back and waiting for others to act first. Developed nations have benefited most from cheap fossil fuels and we must now lead on developing low carbon futures for all”.
He insisted that “Caring for God’s planet earth is today a crucial expression of Christian discipleship.”
The three churches have produced a report and study guide called Hope in God’s Future.
John March of the United Reformed Church described climate change as a “justice issue”, saying that “those least responsible for global warming are paying the highest price for our irresponsible lifestyles in the West”.
He called on political leaders “to demonstrate the moral courage and leadership now urgently needed”.
“It is time that words were turned into solid and concrete financial commitments” added Jonathan Edwards of the Baptist Union.
The three churches also emphasised that they will offer “fervent prayer” for those affected by climate change.
Tens of thousands of people are expected to take to the streets of London on 5 December to show their support for The Wave campaign – a procession to advocate a safe climate future for everyone organised by Stop Climate Chaos coalition.
Senior representatives from the three churches will be present at the ecumenical service at Methodist Central Hall which will take place at 11am on the morning of The Wave procession.