Elijah Interfaith Ceremony in London, 13 Nov, during COP27. Credit: Elijah Board of World Religious Leaders.
The UN COP27 climate talks ended with some significant steps forward, a certain amount of holding the line and some steps backwards. Overall, given the contrast between what was achieved and the scale and urgency of the need to move forward, it would be overly optimistic to say the talks were successful.
In particular, there was no real progress on the ‘phasedown’ of coal, oil and gas, building on a call to phasedown coal at COP26 in Glasgow. Without a more rapid phasing out of fossil fuels, humanity is on track to far exceed 1.5℃ of global heating.
I-Kiribati youth climate activists. Photo credit: Br Tabunga Etuati.
One hundred religious and First Nations leaders from across Australia and the Pacific are urging Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to take decisive action to combat climate change by stopping all new coal and gas projects and ending public subsidies to the fossil fuel sector.
Signatories to an open letter to Mr Albanese include the most senior leaders of the Anglican Church in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific, the President of the National Council of Churches, the Grand Mufti of Australia, the President of the Uniting Church as well as First Nations leaders and senior leaders of the Buddhist, Jewish, Hindu and Brahma Kumaris religions.
As floods swamp much of Australia, people of faith know that anything is possible with faith - even a safe climate future.
A recently published book, gives hope that we can act quickly enough to help the world ensure a safe climate future.
The Superpower Transformation was written and edited by eminent economist, Professor Ross Garnaut with contributions from other experts. It was discussed by Garnaut and prominent climate activist, scientist and author, Tim Flannery, as part of the La Trobe University Ideas and Society Program.
No-one much wanted to take the risk of calling the 2022 federal election, the ‘Climate Election’, after the crushing disappointment of 2019. We have every reason to name it the ‘Climate Election’ now!
Our supporters are feeling a great sense of relief and hope, as well as a sense that the heavy weight of fear for our future is actually starting to lift. We’re at this point because of a huge and dedicated climate movement and we can be proud that we as people of faith have been a part of that.
Pictured: Women's Information Officer, Filzah Rahmat, at the Marion Mosque, SA
It is entirely reasonable for each Party and each candidate at the coming election to make their climate policies sound as desirable as possible. The question is, what claims have substance and what is empty spin?
With each candidate offering a sales pitch, everyday Australians can be forgiven for being confused about whether or not Labor’s climate policies offer a better alternative to those of the Coalition, and what Greens and independents are really offering. It is most important to get this clear.
In this article, we will try to dispassionately offer some clarity on climate policies being offered. ARRCC is nonpartisan, and attempts to offer an unbiased evaluation of what is being offered by various parties and candidates in relation to what is required to stay below 1.5 degrees of warming.
Photo: Lismore street in March 2022. Credit: Harry Creamer.
Here we go again. In northern NSW and south-east QLD we are again witnessing a high intensity rainfall and flood crisis. Lismore is suffering terrible flooding, the Clarence River is about to overflow its banks, and if the weather system moves south, Port Macquarie will get hit again, less than a year after the record-breaking floods in March 2021.
At times like this, we must respond with facts on what is driving such extreme weather. Since the north QLD floods in 2019, there have been 137 disasters declared in 398 local government areas, covering close to 20 million Australians. This is an on-going threat to our safety and security and local economies.
Humanity is interfering with natural Earth systems. As we burn fossil fuels and destroy forests, we are adding energy to the climate.
The approaching federal election is a great opportunity to help achieve a safe climate for our offspring and those who follow. It is also an important opportunity to demonstrate to our increasingly secular society, that people of faith show love with action.
What Australia does can make a difference for a safe climate future. Australia is the world’s second-largest thermal coal exporter, (used for electricity generation). (Source: Australian Government – Geoscience Australia)
ARRCC is offering opportunities for people interested in faith-based advocacy for Australia to move from laggard to climate action leader.
Youth activists, Indigenous people, and parents marking the end of COP26. Photo credit: Duncan McGlynn/AP for AVAAZ
COP26 resulted in modest progress towards reducing climate pollution this decade and, to a lesser extent, to increase support vulnerable communities. Alongside the international negotiations themselves, COP26 was the chosen forum for a number of very positive announcements by groups of countries, or by countries and non-State actors together.
However, the world has a great deal further to go and there's not much time. Many activists, especially those from Indigenous communities and low-income, climate-impacted countries are left deeply disappointed. Even if all pledges are implemented, we remain on track for 1.8–2.6˚C, and keeping warming to 1.5˚C hangs by a fine thread.
Photo credit: Julie-Anne Richards
For this summary, we have drawn from a report by our our friends in Climate Action Network Australia who are at COP26. It could rightly be said that much depends on pledges being acted on and, even then, they fall short of what is needed. However, the first week saw many encouraging announcements and pledges from world leaders - a major slowing of deforestation, a methane pledge and, for the first time, signalling the phasing out of coal if the pledges come to fruition.
(Read past this article for opportunities for prayer and meditation, and for hearing reflections from people of faith at COP26.)
A letter from the Right Rev'd Keith Joseph to the Anglican Diocese of North Queensland
I am writing this e-mail from the Torres Strait, having spent the previous weekend at Pormpuraaw in the Cape York Peninsula. It is in these places that the impacts of climate change are undoubtedly being seen. It is not just rising sea levels, but also the increased heat, the changing of seasons, the effects on wildlife. When the scientific consensus is that we are in serious danger; when the conservative British Prime Minister Boris Johnson describes us as facing doomsday; and when other radicals such as the Queen are urging action on climate change NOW; we can no longer hide from the obvious dangers of human induced climate change.
(This article has links to opportunities for join others in prayer and meditation.)