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Christian environmentalists have challenged the Government to back its proposals for tackling global warming with stronger international leadership. In the absence of a global plan to avert dangerous climate change, Christian Ecology Link (CEL) is urging churches to lead society in developing a moral response.

The Energy White Paper, published on 24th February 2003, signals the Government's intention to make a 60% cut in the UK's greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, as recommended by the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution. However, as well as taking action at home, the Royal Commission had recommended that the UK should lead negotiations for a binding international framework called 'Contraction and Convergence'. This would give all countries, rich and poor, equal rights to emit greenhouse gases within safe limits.

"The Government has shown courage by adopting a 60% target in the UK, but given that total worldwide emissions could be 30% higher in 2020 it will fail to protect the vulnerable and future generations," commented Paul Bodenham of CEL. "Tony Blair has argued for a 'new covenant' between industrialised nations to tackle climate change. The UK should broker a global partnership based on contraction and convergence, beginning with the European Union and developing countries. Otherwise, like the man who built his house on the sand, the Government will find its work swept away by floods."

A campaign called Operation Noah is shortly to be launched by CEL, using the story of the Ark to show that life on earth can be protected from dangerous climate change, but only with the use of foresight, technology, and care for creation. Churches, community groups and individual citizens are invited to sign up to a 'Climate Covenant' to reduce their personal contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, while also urging the Government to lead the search for a just international solution to climate change.

Earlier this winter the DTI announced proposals for massive airport expansions, attracting an outcry from environmentalists and churches alike. The plans were designed to meet a doubling in projected demand for air travel, which is the most potent and fast-growing source of man-made carbon dioxide. Mr Bodenham commented, "While the Government is sending out such mixed messages, the public will not appreciate the transformation that's needed in our values and the way our society works. In the meantime it's up to the churches and civil society to make the case."



DTI Press release:

Prime Minister's speech:

Operation Noah:
Over the next ten years, working with churches and community groups, Operation Noah aims to bring all sectors of society together to act against climate change. It involves participants in the following steps:
  • Sign the Climate Covenant to build support for a just resolution to human-made global warming.
  • Take action yourself, for instance by converting to electricity from renewable sources.
  • Spread the word to family, friends and colleagues.
Talks, Bible studies and children's resources will be available from April 2003, together with a free downloadable 'Ark in a Box' presenter's pack.

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