Get climate change back on the political agenda
The Diocese of Sheffield – Media Release
Get Climate Change back on the political agenda – Bishop of Sheffield speaks out on issues in Presidential Address
The Bishop of Sheffield, Dr Steven Croft has spoken out on the need to combat climate change, and the importance of “Christians and others taking action to raise this agenda once again in the political life of this country”.
In his Presidential Address at the first Sheffield Diocesan Synod of 2014 (8 March), Dr Croft said “Here is a mystery. The world grows warmer. Yet climate change has disappeared from the political agenda since 2010 in this country and around the world.”
Dr Croft made reference to Beveridge and Temple’s naming of the ‘five giants of evil’, squalor, ignorance, want, idleness and disease, from the 1940s. He said these are still with us and “remain the enemies of human flourishing”. However, “there is a sixth giant to be named and to be fought”.
He told the gathered representatives that this sixth giant is “the giant of climate change which threatens the stability of life on this beautiful earth for our children and for our grandchildren. The damage this sixth Goliath will do to this beautiful earth if unchecked is beyond our imagination.”
Speaking on the penultimate day of Climate Week, Bishop Steven referred to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report (September 2013) that has stated the global average temperature seems likely to rise by from as little as 0.9 degrees centigrade to as much as 5.4 degrees centigrade above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century. The Bishop commented “probably within the lifetime of my children and certainly within the lifetime of my grandchildren”.
During the Synod, Climate Ambassadors were commissioned to work with churches across the Diocese. Their remit is to help communities lobby their MPs to get climate change back on the political agenda. A campaign called Hope for the Future has been set up nationally to achieve this target. It is aiming for every MP to receive at least ten letters on this subject by the end of July.
Michael Bayley is the Diocesan Environment Officer for Sheffield. Speaking on the campaign, he said:
“The Hope for the Future campaign is about us, ordinary people, giving the politicians the support and courage they need to do what many of them know needs to be done, so that we can all have hope for the future.”
Referring to the General Election in 2015, the Bishop said: “This is, therefore, a key moment in the electoral cycle of our nation to raise the profile of climate change in public debate, in the manifestos of the main parties and in the national and international policies which will follow.”
Bishop Steven concluded the address by stating that by taking action together “climate change can be reduced and, God willing, reversed for the sake of future generations.”
Note: The Diocesan Environment Officers in Yorkshire and the North East of England have combined to develop a simple campaign under the title Hope for the Future. This is a church-led ecumenical campaign aiming to lobby MPs to put the Committee on Climate Change Recommendations in their manifestos. Further details of the Hope for the Future campaign can be found at www.hftf.org.uk