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UK Churches Call for 75% Emissions Cut

Thursday December 3 2020

Church leaders in Scotland and across Britain, together with 57,000 Christian Aid supporters, have joined calls for the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, to pledge to cut UK emissions by at least 75% by 2030 (from 1990 levels) when he submits the UK’s first climate plan under the Paris Agreement.

With the UK leaving the EU, it must now provide a standalone national climate plan to the UN climate body, the UNFCCC, outlining its proposed emissions cuts and the support it will provide to vulnerable countries that have done little to cause climate change.

The Very Rev Susan Brown, convener of the Church of Scotland’s Faith Impact Forum, has signed the letter being delivered to the Prime Minister today, alongside senior figures from the United Free Church of Scotland and the Quakers in Scotland, the Church of England’s lead bishop for the environment, Rt Rev Nicholas Holtam, the Bishop of Salisbury, as well the Archbishop of Wales, the Baptist Union, Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church.

They write: “In 2021, the UK has the chance to be a true global leader. 2021 is a critical year to tackle the climate crisis and the UK is uniquely placed to lead the world in ambitious action as the President of the COP26 UN climate talks.

“Christian Aid, their supporting churches across the UK, and their local partners around the world expect your Government to tackle climate change in a way that is fair and just for the world’s poorest people. That’s why today we, as representatives of those churches, are writing to you in support of the petition being submitted to you by Christian Aid, signed by over 57,000 of their supporters, calling for action.”

They call on the UK Government to commit to cutting emissions by 75%, from a 1990 baseline, by 2030, solely through domestic action, and based on the scientific evidence provided by the Committee on Climate Change.

They also call for action to support for climate-vulnerable countries with climate finance, assistance for communities needing to adapt to the impacts of climate change and help to acquire renewable energy technology.

They conclude: “As we look with hope to the securing of a critical deal in Glasgow next year, churches across the UK are committed - together with Christian Aid and its supporters - to working with you and your Government to help deliver a national climate plan that ensures climate justice for the world’s poorest people.”

The letter is accompanied by a petition, signed by 57,000 people from across Britain, demanding a New Deal for Climate Justice.

Last year, the Scottish Parliament unanimously agreed to Scotland’s emissions being cut by at least 75% by 2030, after a long-running campaign involving many of the country’s churches, and Christian Aid Scotland, as part of the Stop Climate Chaos Scotland coalition.

Sally Foster-Fulton, Head of Christian Aid Scotland, said: “Only yesterday the Secretary General of the United Nations told the world we have a climate emergency ‘which impacts most heavily on the world’s most vulnerable people’. We know too well here at Christian Aid that those who have done the least to cause the problem suffer the most.

“We have already seen Scotland’s Parliament stand up and take decisive action on 75% cuts by 2030. Now the spotlight is on the UK government to - at the very least - match that ambition.

“As president of the UN climate summit in just 11 months’ time, the UK will be encouraging other nations to come forward with ambitious plans. The UK’s own climate pledge must set a high bar for action.

“The UK has a moral duty to make inequality and injustice in the world’s poorest countries central to next year’s summit. People around the world facing the reality of climate change right now are counting on it to be a success.”


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