Urgent action needed on climate change urges Synod


Urgent action is needed to tackle climate change the General Synod pledged today in a wide ranging motion acknowledging that global warming is disproportionately affecting the world's poorest.

Members overwhelmingly backed a call for world leaders to seek to limit the global rise in average temperatures to a maximum of 2 C - widely considered to be the threshold above which the impacts of climate change will be the most severe.

The motion on combating climate change, the Paris climate change conference and the mission of the Church, included a pledge to draw attention to an initiative to pray and fast for the success of the Paris talks.

The Bishop of Salisbury, Nicholas Holtam, the Church of England's lead bishop on the environment, introducing the motion, said: "In the last 150 years we have burned fossil fuels that took one billion years to lay down in the earth. The earth cannot sustain this level of consumption. This is about our 'reading the signs of the times' and 'seeking the common good'.

"The science, economics and politics all point in the same direction.

"Climate change disproportionately affects the poorest. They are most vulnerable to increased storms, rising sea level, changing patterns of rainfall, floods and drought. We live interconnected lives. What is bad for our neighbours is bad for us."

Speaking during the debate, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby called on the Church to look outwards to tackle climate change.

Archbishop Justin said: "We have unrivalled access to networks around the world. How are we going to use them and look beyond our own boundaries as the Church of England to draw in the resources of the whole Communion? This is a moment not for just looking inwards."

Negotiators from more than 190 nations will gather in Paris in December to discuss a new global agreement on climate change aimed at limiting greenhouse gas emissions from 2020 when current commitments run out.