PRESS RELEASE: “The Church of England must inspire change, not mimic societal norms.” Green Christian calls for Church of England to set an example on carbon targets

Green Christian welcomes plans by the Church of England, announced last week, to “recognise the Climate Crisis and step up its action to safeguard God’s creation.”

The charity is seriously concerned, however, by the Environmental Working Group’s proposal that General Synod should support the Government’s carbon reduction of net zero carbon by 2050. It is particularly worrying that this is described as being “in line with UK Government policy” as if this provides due justification for the target. 

Speaking today (Wednesday, 13 November), Deborah Tomkins, Co-Chair of Green Christian, said:

“The Church of England should be setting an example of environmental responsibility to the nation, not merely supporting existing policy and practice. Christians ought to set the highest standard of ethical behaviour as an example to others. The 2050 target will dismay those in the Church who expect its leaders to inspire change rather than mimic societal norms.”

She indicated that Green Christian will campaign over the coming months for members of the General Synod to adopt a far more challenging target.

Tim Cooper, a Green Christian Trustee and Professor of Sustainable Design and Consumption at Nottingham Trent University, added:

“Experts increasingly agree that the Government’s 2050 deadline is inappropriate. Institutions, regional authorities and opposition parties are increasingly advocating 2030 as a target – and even this may be inadequate. The Working Group’s current proposal is weak and indefensible.”



  1. The Environmental Working Group’s guidance bishops, dioceses and church leadership teams also includes an environmental campaign during Lent, engaging with the UN climate change summit (known as COP26) and making the environment a central part of the Lambeth2020 Conference.
  2. Green Christian exists to encourage and inform Christians on green issues and to offer Christian insights to the wider environmental movement. The charity seeks to encourage all Christians in prayer, protest, campaigning and environmental witness, as well as living more gently with joy on the Earth.  See its website ( for details of further resources offered.
  3. In June Green Christian criticised the Climate Coalition’s The Time is Now mass lobby of parliament because of their 2045 target date for UK net zero emissions, saying “The Time is Now, not 2045!” and that setting a date post 2025 “would cross a moral threshold and hold future generations to ransom“.
  4. Sir David King, a former Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government, recently said on Radio 4 (at 8:30 minutes into the programme) – “The right date [for net zero emissions] is probably in the past.” He also said “I think it’s not necessary to argue whether or not [zero emissions by 2030] is realistic, we need to look at what is necessary, and if we look at what is necessary we need to be doing that well.”

2 comments on “PRESS RELEASE: “The Church of England must inspire change, not mimic societal norms.” Green Christian calls for Church of England to set an example on carbon targets
  1. Anne Twine says:

    I am really disappointed in the Church of England’s response to climate change. They still invest in gas and oil and being in line with ‘government policy ‘is beyond understanding. We are not governed by parliament but by God. I’m seriously considering to stop donating to the church and redirect it to Greenpeace

    • Peter Wright says:

      I agree, we changed our wills a few years ago now to cut out the CofE as it was obvious that money and profit was more important to them than change to save God’s creation – kick the money tables over now.

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