GREEN CHRISTIAN is among over 450 Church leaders and Christian environmental campaigners who have signed an open letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Secretary of State Michael Gove, calling on the UK Government to rethink its approval of a new coal mine in Cumbria.

The letter states, “We acknowledge that this region needs investment, but the Government is supporting a dying industry instead of securing sustainable green jobs for the long term. We know that every pound of investment in renewables creates three times more jobs than in the fossil fuel industry. Coal from this mine will continue to heat up the planet, pollute the atmosphere, and most severely impact those in the world’s poorest countries who have done the least to cause the climate crisis. We lament this great injustice.”

Coordinated by Young Christian Climate Network and supported by Operation Noah and Christian Aid, the letter has been endorsed by Green Christian and many church leaders.

Last year, the International Energy Agency said there could be no new fossil fuel developments anywhere in the world if global heating were to be limited to 1.5ºC – the internationally agreed upon goal – while research from Carbon Tracker has found that 90 per cent of fossil fuel reserves must remain in the ground as unburnable carbon, in order to limit global heating to 1.5ºC.

The open letter from Church leaders and campaigners quotes a 2018 lecture that Michael Gove gave to the Christian think tank Theos, in which he said: “Christians are called to remember their rightful place within Creation – and the vast web of life it created – and their responsibility to protect and defend it.”  Addressing Mr Gove, the letter says, “We urge the UK government to practise what you preached by keeping coal in the ground and investing in a sustainable future. Only then can we care for this planet, hear the cry of the poor, and produce a better harvest for this world.”

Dr Chris Manktelow, Campaigns Lead for the Young Christian Climate Network said: “As young people who want a better future for everyone living on this planet, we were deeply concerned about the approval of the first coal mine in the UK for thirty years. We felt that church and Christian leaders needed to speak out against this decision. We hope that the government will listen to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor and consider the consequences of its actions.”

* View the full letter and list of signatories here.

.* More information from South Lakes Action on Climate Change here.

* Source: Green Christian