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Bishop Nicholas joins Interfaith push for net-zero UK

by Michael Ford last modified 09 May, 2019 11:42 AM

The Bishop of Salisbury, Nicholas Holtam is one of nearly 40 faith leaders who have written a letter urging the government,to use the opportunity created by the report from the Climate Change Committee published last Thursday to "commit itself to eliminating our country’s contribution to global temperature rises."

Bishop Nicholas joins Interfaith push for net-zero UK

Original photo courtesy The Church of England in Parliament

The letter, published in the Daily Telegraph on Saturday went on to say:

"The urgency and scale of action required necessitates a legally binding target of net zero emissions by 2045. Such a target demands a cross-governmental approach, and one that does not rely on offsets or outsourcing of carbon emissions to poorer nations – the very countries that are being hit hardest by climate change, despite having contributed least to the problem.

"We readily recognise that this means changing our lifestyles and behaviours. Indeed, we welcome the benefits that will follow, including cleaner air and warmer homes.

"Our country’s faith communities have already begun to embrace these changes, with thousands of places of worship powered by renewable energy, and families committing to live simply and sustainably.

"We now urge our politicians to show leadership of the magnitude demanded by the challenge that we face – and encourage them to consider the extraordinary legacy they could leave."

Speaking in the House of Lords earlier in the week, Bishop Nicholas added his voice to the Lord's debate on climate change:

"The context of this debate has changed radically over the past few months. Whatever you think of the tactics of Extinction Rebellion, what has been created by its disruption has put the environment on the agenda in a new way and with greater urgency.

"The debate on a climate emergency was Parliament catching up with more than 40 councils in the UK that have decided to act in response to this climate emergency, including Wiltshire declaring that it will be carbon neutral by 2030. Two-thirds of Britons are now said to agree that the planet is in a climate emergency.

"We are in an industrial revolution. I was taken by Greta Thunberg’s comment: 'Avoiding climate breakdown will require cathedral thinking. We must lay the foundation while we may not know exactly how to build the ceiling.'

"Net zero is possible and affordable. The cost of climate inaction will be more than that of achieving net zero. The business opportunities are considerable and we need to get on with it. This is urgent in the short term. The transition to net zero needs to be socially just and the costs fairly distributed."

"While 2050 is ambitious, 2045 could well be possible. Could we agree a legally binding target of net zero emissions by 2045? Such a target would require a cross-party approach.

"It will need the commitment of parliamentarians to engage strongly with our communities and establish creative policy frameworks that get the best out of people, not just because of anxiety but for the love of this wonderful creation. In this, the faith communities are a resource for prayer, thought and action."

The Bishop also spoke about the climate emergency on BBC Radio Solent this Sunday.

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