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CEL home > News, archives and links > September 2008

NEWS RELEASE ( 29/09/08 )

Church Call to Climate Change

  With human-provoked Climate Change now recognised as more than a 90% probability, Churches have a responsibility to take urgent and radical action to reduce emission levels. This was the message given to Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox Christians earlier this week at an international event taking place in Italy .

More than one hundred participants from churches from all over Europe attended a major conference near Milan , where the 7 th Assembly of the European Christian Environment Network was hosted by the Italian Protestant Federation and held at the Roman Catholic Sacre Cuore centre in Triuggio.

The keynote address to participants, given by Jean Pascal van Iserpele, Vice-Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ( IPCC ), was very forthright. "A rise of 2o Celsius in average global temperatures is now a strong probability and this will move us closer to a major extinction event" , he said. "We must now look to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by around 95% to attempt to stabilise the climate, and the churches of Europe have a key role to play in leading by word and action" , he added.

Some churches and Christian agencies are already engaged in this area of ministry, including Operation Noah based in London and the Church of England's national 'Shrinking the Footprint' campaign. However, more must be done urgently both in reducing energy demands and investing in greener technologies, and also in re-assessing our values for life.

The final statement of the Assembly underlines that: "It is not enough for humans to keep alive by consuming the world around them; they need a relationship with the world that is not purely utilitarian and market-based".

Anglican delegate Martyn Goss from Exeter, spoke of the need for more radical change. "If we do not change ourselves and our lifestyles, it is highly likely that they will be changed by the climate itself. We cannot continue to live as if there is no tomorrow, disregarding the long-term consequences of our actions. As people of faith and hope, Christians can and should speak out and act further on global warming for the sake of the future, and in support of those already bearing the worst effects of climate chaos in more vulnerable places".

A Climate Change appeal to the Churches of Europe was launched at the Assembly and can be found the on the ECEN website - Action reports on themes such as Water, Transport, Environmental Education and Eco-Management were also produced at Milan.

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For further details contact:

Martyn Goss, Council for Church and Society, The Old Deanery, The Cloisters, Exeter , EX1 1HS (Tel: 01392-294940 / )

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