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CEL Press Release:

24 th March 2006

LOW CONSUMPTION, NON-NUCLEAR, ENERGY STRATEGY A "MORAL IMPERATIVE", SAY CHURCH LEADERS

Church leaders have backed a new report that describes a low consumption, non-nuclear, energy strategy as a "moral imperative." The report, entitled Faith and Power , urges an energy strategy informed by Christian principles of wise stewardship, peacemaking, justice, love for neighbours and moderation in consumption.

Launched on 24 March by leading church-based environmental organisation Christian Ecology Link, the report states that these principles

  • "require much greater attention to promoting energy efficiency and restraining consumer demand,
  • a bold switch from using fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy
  • and the phasing out of nuclear reactors in electricity generation."

The Bishop of Liverpool, Rt Rev James Jones, commented:

"Christian Ecology Link's paper Faith and Power comes to conclusions similar to those of the Sustainable Development Commission which I welcome. What we lack is the commercial leadership to invest in renewable sources of power and the political leadership to reduce our energy consumption.

People of faith and goodwill must work together to educate and inspire the public to use their own power as consumers and citizens to ensure the future health and safety of the planet."

Other Church of England bishops are known to be sympathetic to the report's conclusions.

Fr Sean McDonagh, a widely respected Catholic priest and author of several books on environmental issues, voiced his support:

"This document presents a very convincing case. The study is grounded in an authentic understanding of Christian discipleship in terms of the contemporary challenge to love God, our neighbour and God's creation, which is now deeply wounded. It calls all of us to a change of heart in the way we view and use energy."

The report was also welcomed by Elaine Storkey, a regular contributor to Radio 4's Thought for the Day and President of TEAR Fund, who highlighted the report's call for restraint in energy consumption and commented:

"The report shows we need to be meek to inherit a good earth."

The report responds to an invitation from Government for greater dialogue with representatives of faith communities. It says that energy strategy should be characterised by efficiency, conservation and restraint and welcomes newly emerging decentralised renewable energy supply options. While recognising that Christians will disagree on the detail of public policy, the report argues that such a strategy is the most appropriate in order to take proper care of God's creation:

"The high consumption, nuclear path may appear easier for government to pursue in the short term, but we believe that there is a moral duty to follow a more challenging and more sustainable option.

We conclude that substantially enhanced Government support for efficient, less profligate energy consumption and investment in renewable sources of energy supply rather than nuclear power is a moral imperative."

Faith and Power is available, price £2, from Christian Ecology Link, 3 Bond Street

Lancaster LA1 3ER

Editor's notes:

(1) A summary of the report is given online. The full report is available on request in hard copy and is also available online as a pdf file at our website: www.christian-ecology.org.uk (without front cover 126KB ) (with picture on front cover 254KB )

(2) References above are to Sustainable Development Commission (2006) The Role of Nuclear Power in a Low Carbon Economy and Home Office (2004) Working Together: Co-operation between Government and Faith Communities, Home Office Faith Communities Unit.

(3) The report was written on behalf of Christian Ecology Link by Dr Tim Cooper, Head of the Centre for Sustainable Consumption, Sheffield Hallam University .



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