Over six hundred people of faith from around Australia have penned hand-written letters calling on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to do more to protect the climate. After the recent high profile scientific warnings and before the United Nations Climate Summit in Glasgow, people of faith are pleading with the Prime Minister to act now and act vigorously on a plan to reduce our climate pollution.
The letters were collected and sent this week by the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC). They are calling on the Morrison Government to submit higher emissions reduction targets to negotiations in Glasgow, re-start contributions to the United Nations Green Climate Fund and abandon a ‘gas-led recovery’ in favour of job creation in low carbon industries.
Image of Scott Morrison after release of IPCC Report, gratefully borrowed from ABC News site
When does a government’s effort to put its best foot forward veer into misrepresenting the truth? Having written heart-felt pleas for ambitious climate policies, people of faith have been receiving replies from Prime Minister Scott Morrison and their local Members which could flummox the average voter.
How much truth is in the ‘spin’? Have environmentalists been unduly alarmed at Australia’s poor performance on reducing greenhouse gas pollution? Catherine and David Rossiter are pro bono Christian researchers, members of the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC), who have done a careful analysis of one of the Prime Minister’s letters received in June, 2021.
They find no evidence of a ‘strong track record of setting, achieving and exceeding our commitments’. Indeed, they write that the sixth Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (the IPCC) Report released in August actually ‘ranks Australia near the bottom of the list in terms of effective action’.
Churches call for climate ambition ahead of COP26
Senior Churches spokesperson, Bishop Philip Huggins, has described the United Nations COP26 climate talks as possibly the “last chance to save our planet” in a strongly worded letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison. He joined those who are calling on Mr Morrison to take “leadership” by announcing more ambitious emissions reduction targets and to do this well ahead of the summit in November.
Bishop Huggins is President of the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) which includes most of the nation’s Churches, and is connected with the World Council of Churches and world-wide Anglican Communion.
(pictured: Bishop Philip Huggins near Meditation Vigil outside Treasurer's office, Global Multi-Faith Day of Action 11th March)
The GreenFaith International Network (GFI) is organising a Sacred People, Sacred Earth Year of Action around a series of 10 Demands which represent a moral and spiritual compact between people and planet. These demands prioritize the urgency of the climate crisis and the steps which must be taken to solve it. In the following pages we share these demands, each accompanied by a brief story of a grassroots action on 11 March and more information about why action is necessary in the struggle for global climate and environmental justice.
You can experience the energy and passion of these actions by watching this short video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_1coxKJOR8&t=12s.
GFI is planning its next day of action in late 2021, before the November United Nations climate negotiations. We hope you’ll get involved! Watch www.sacredpeoplesacredearth.org for more information.
May this resource be a blessing.
Sacred People Sacred Earth is the biggest-ever faith-climate justice day of action globally in support of the boldest-ever set of demands from diverse religious partners. Hundreds of local events are being held on 11th March, at 11 am in varying time zones - this is the eleventh hour for action to address the worsening climate emergency.
As a global, multi-faith, grassroots alliance, we stand for equity and compassion for all, and we deplore injustice. We know that we cannot afford to wait for governments and financial institutions to act first; we understand that change starts with us. We are organizing grassroots people of diverse religions in support of a set of demands for climate justice, and we are leading by example.
Here is the statement and bold demands that grassroots faith communities around the world have developed, and we're providing opportunities for people of diverse faiths and spiritualities everywhere to get involved.
Chief Standing Bear of the Ponca, Nebraska, whose statue is in the Capitol building. Artist: Benjamin Victor, 2019
ARRCC is proud to be a member of the global United Religions Initiative which has issued this statement.
We, at the United Religions Initiative, share concern and grief following the violence that took place at the United States Capitol on Wednesday, January 6th, 2021. During a Joint Session of Congress to certify the Electoral College's results for President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris, hundreds of rioters stormed the chambers and offices of the US Capitol, resulting in the injuries of dozens, the death of five people, and a nation whose framework for democracy hangs in the balance. We unequivocally condemn these attacks and any attempt to undermine the voice and integrity of a united and free people.
Up-date: A win! Well done, everyone who wrote to the PM so far! On 5 December, the PM made public that he intends to announce at the UN Summit that Australia will not be using "carry-over credits" from the Kyoto Protocol! Keep this in mind when you write to the PM about the other ways in which Australia should be stepping up .......
On Tuesday 1 December 2020, a number of high-profile Pacific leaders sent an open letter to Australian PM Scott Morrison, urging him to ensure that Australia meets its international climate commitments ahead of the upcoming United Nations Climate Ambition Summit on 12 December 2020.
Click here to read the open letter published in the Sydney Morning Herald on 1 December 2020.
Fortitude Valley, Friday Nov 13
On Friday, ten people of faith peacefully protested against rail company Aurizon's lack of transparency in their coal hauling operations.
“I’m here today because I can’t sit back while the future of my little boy is at risk” said Erin Kennedy, a Catholic, artist, teacher and mother from Logan.
She and nine other members of the faith-based group Faith in Climate Action blockaded Aurizon’s corporate headquarters in Fortitude Valley on Friday by kneeling in prayer outside the doors.
The group was calling on Aurizon management to be more transparent about the climate-change-causing emissions from the thermal coal they haul in their multi million dollar business.
The Dean of St John's Cathedral, Brisbane, and Chair of Angligreen have written this heartfelt letter to Mr Prem Watsa, CEO of Fairfax Financial Holdings, which owns Insurance companies Allied World, Brit and Newline. Of these, Brit remains at risk of insuring Adani.
Please pray that Mr Watsa, who is a devout practising Anglican, is moved by this appeal from these Anglican clergy. If you feel moved by this message from The Very Rev's Dr Peter Catt and the Rev'd Peter Moore, you may want to write to Mr Watsa too.
Scorecard per kind courtesy of Solar Citizens
Want to understand where the different political Parties stand on climate-related issues before the Queensland election on October 31st? Solar Citizens has kindly provided ARRCC with a trusted assessment of how to understand the various Parties' policies. It is gratefully received.
We in ARRCC believe that people of faith have a responsibility to vote for candidates whose policies are compassionate, fair towards those who are marginalised and respectful of the earth's planetary limits. We who have inherited a life-giving, stable climate, have a moral duty to protect it for future generations.
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