“Climate change is the greatest moral challenge of our day” – Bishop of Salisbury
The Church of England’s lead bishop on the environment says he shares a Vatican statement’s clear view that climate change is largely caused by human activity and mitigating it is a ‘moral and religious imperative for humanity’.
The Right Revd Nicholas Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury, welcomed the statement on climate change by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences after a landmark conference in the Vatican this week.
Bishop Holtam said:
“Climate change is the greatest moral challenge of our day, for people of all faiths and people of no faith. I am delighted that the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences have so clearly supported the scientific consensus that the major driver of climate change is almost certainly our burning of fossil fuels.
“Our current fossil fuel use is equivalent to releasing the energy of 400,000 Hiroshimas into the atmosphere every day. It is simply not credible that we can introduce an externality of that scale into the atmospheric and oceanic systems that make life on earth possible, without seeing serious consequences.
“As the Vatican statement makes clear, climate change is an issue that should unite not only Christian churches, but all the world’s faiths. People of faith understand the Earth as God’s gift, not our plaything.
“The importance of faith was recognised in UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s keynote address to the conference where he rightly said that, ‘Science and religion are not at odds on climate change. Indeed, they are fully aligned.’
“The world’s poorest suffer the most severe consequences of climate change, a problem to which they contribute little. The consequences of climate change are being felt most clearly in very poor Pacific, Asian and African nations with some of the lowest levels of carbon emissions in the world.
“When 17 Anglican bishops met to discuss our Communion’s response to climate change this fundamental injustice weighed heavily on our deliberations. Our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters have also made it clear that climate change imposes the heaviest burden on the poorest and least complicit in a way that is simply immoral.
“Young people are particularly engaged in the need to mitigate climate change and the economic inequalities that makes its impact worse. Their commitment and broad global vision renews my hope that this is a challenge we can, and shall, overcome.”