The Bishop of Salisbury joins faith groups to call for 'net zero' emissions

by Michael Ford last modified 21 Nov, 2018 12:27 PM

The Bishop of Salisbury joined UK faith representatives as they came together to support calls for a net zero target in law, amid fears that not enough is being done globally to prevent climate change.

The representatives were speaking ahead of an event later today to mark the tenth anniversary of the Climate Change Act, which will be attended by MPs from all parties.

Supporting the Climate Coalition’s call for a net zero target, representatives from the Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Quaker, Hindu and Buddhist communities called on the UK Government to set an example for the rest of the world by strengthening its commitment to net-zero emissions before 2050.

The Bishop of Salisbury, Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, who is the Church of England’s lead bishop on environmental affairs said:
“The economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment. Ours is the first generation to know that people are causing climate change and may be the last to be able to do anything meaningful about it. Climate Change affects the poorest the most. What we want is Climate Justice.”

Monday 26 November will mark 10 years since The Climate Change Act was transposed into law in the UK, legislation which is credited with reducing the UK’s emissions by 40 per cent since the 1990s. However, evidence published last month by the IPCC concluded that the international risk level is critical at current levels of warming, and that the world needs to move to net zero emissions as soon as possible. In the UK, over 200 MPs and Peers have signed a cross-party letter calling for a net zero emissions target before 2050.

A net zero target would align the UK with its commitments under the Paris Agreement to keep global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees, and ensure the country no longer contributes to climate change within a generation.

Other faith leaders echoed Bishop Nicholas’s comments.

Rabbi Natan Levy, Fellow of Leo Baeck College, said “To echo the words of the former Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, we of different faiths may not share the same vision of heaven, but we must work to share the same earth. Sharing that earth implies leaving a beautiful and sustainable world for our children and our children's children.

"As a Jew and a Rabbi I feel that it is vital for all of us to stand together to honour our commitment to the Paris Agreement and demand a net-zero emissions target. One generation goes and another generation comes; but the earth remains forever (Ecclesiastes). The time has come to look to the next generation in all our choices today.”

Gopal Patel of The Bhumi Project, a worldwide Hindu movement responding to environmental issues, said: “My spirituality and faith calls me to address climate change. Achieving net-zero emissions as soon as possible is a moral obligation we have to Mother Earth and all life on the planet.”

Dr Fazlun Khalid of the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences (IFEES) said: “The IPCC Special Report on Global Warming is timely in the sense that it should jolt us out of our complacency and warn us of our need to change, and change quickly at that, it is important that the UK retakes the lead on this”

Alongside faith leaders and MPs, today’s event, held at Portcullis House, will be attended by representatives from business, farming, sports and the finance sector.

Visit the IPCC website

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