PRESS RELEASE: The Time is Now, not 2045!

Aiming to reach net-zero carbon emissions after 2025 is ‘complicit in violence’, warns Green Christian.

The charity finds the deadline of 2045 promoted by the Climate Coalition for the Mass Lobby of Parliament on 26 June 2019 ‘troubling’. Green Christian argues that in continuing to feed climate breakdown for so long the UK would cross a ‘moral threshold’ and hold future generations to ransom. They call for courageous political leadership at a time when public demand for action on the crisis is surging.

In its statement published today, Green Christian say that the disruption to the UK of aiming for net zero by 2025 will pale beside the violence to poorer nations and today’s children which is implicit in delaying it to 2045, let alone 2050. The charity says the UK has ‘no right to slough off this responsibility, and the vicious consequences of doing so, on those who have no voice and no power’.

In May 2019 the independent Climate Change Committee advised the government that it was ‘feasible’ that the UK could stop its contribution to global warming by 2050. The Climate Coalition, which is led by larger charities and civil society organisations, has shown that it can be done by 2045. The Coalition encourages the public to lobby MPs to enshrine this deadline in law, to be brought forward ‘if the science demands swifter action’.

Green Christian argues that it is political choice, rather than scientific evidence, that determines what is ‘feasible’. Since the actions of Extinction Rebellion over the Easter period this year, there has been an upsurge in public concern on climate change, and a declaration of ‘environment and climate emergency ’ in Parliament*(See note 2). The charity argues that the mandate exists for immediate, focused, co-ordinated and equitable action across society, on a scale last mobilised in World War II.

in Parliament. The charity argues that the mandate exists for immediate, focused, co-ordinated and equitable action across society, on a scale last mobilised in World War II.

Chair of Green Christian, Paul Bodenham, said, ‘Scientists have been warning about global warming since the 1980s. Now it’s too late to avoid making sacrificial, disruptive choices. A 2045 deadline for net-zero, let alone 2050, should trouble everyone’s conscience. With every year we continue adding carbon to the atmosphere, more lives will be lost and the risk grows of catastrophic breakdown.

‘If the UK is serious about international leadership we must acknowledge the debt our country owes to poorer nations and to the young and unborn. The profound insecurity they now face is mainly due to the privilege, power and indifference of today’s industrialised societies, of which the UK has the longest history of all’.  

In its guidance for the Mass Lobby Green Christian advises its members to ensure MPs understand the risks of the Paris Agreement failing to limit warming to 1.5C, and ask the government to ‘identify national pathways to achieve net-zero emissions in 2025’.

Ends

Notes:

  1. Green Christian called for churches to declare a climate emergency on 29 April 2019.  Further advice for members of denominations and representatives on governing bodies is available at www.greenchristian.org.uk/emergency.
  2. The phrase “a declaration of ‘environment and climate emergency’ in Parliament” has now been substituted for the phrase used on 9 June in the first edition of this press release, “a declaration of ‘climate and ecological emergency’ in Parliament”.
  3. Green Christian was formed in 1981 to share green insights with Christians, and Christian insights with the green movement. The charity produces resources, campaigns and events to help people relate environmental issues with their faith, and integrate environmental action into their mission. www.greenchristian.org.uk

11 comments on “PRESS RELEASE: The Time is Now, not 2045!
  1. Sheila Collins says:

    I feel relief when i read this. A welcome statement from a faith based organisation which faces the terrible reality we face and Britain’s resposibility for it.

  2. Nicola Hunt says:

    Thank you for this I’m going on the lobby I belong to CCA and XR and was surprised at the 2045 advertised I hope we will all be saying 2025

  3. marisa mann says:

    Can u make a link so we can use it to email our MPs about this please?

  4. Mr Gordon Wratten says:

    Following your suggestions would mean that the UK would have to exist on Solar and Wind for it’s power and that is not technically possible. There would not be time to switch from fossil fuels for heating and cooking (presently used by 84% of the population) as this would take decades. What is being suggested is a great crime against the evidence. What fuel would be used for air and sea transport?? One can research the evidence in technical books which are difficult to understand. The best way is to look at the three countries in the world which have adopted wind and solar as their main source of energy namely Germany, Denmark and Australia. All these countries are NOT reducing their carbon emissions and they have the highest fuel prices in the world. In the Australian states of Victoria and South Australia there are frequent power cuts in Summer with temperatures of 45 C and in Winter where they need heating. In addition there are now 140,000 people who are living off grid as they cannot afford the cost of fuel.

    Do you want the UK to go the same way? What is the point when we have less than 1% of the global population? Why are you suggesting a policy when the main principle to be observed is “a doctor does not advocate a remedy which is worse than the disease?”

    • Ruth Jarman says:

      Thank you, Gordon, for your comments. We do agree with you that what we are asking for will not be easy, and, since we have left it so late, it will not be without disruption. The current science tells us that we are heading for a mass extinction and a future unlikely to be able to sustain civilisation. We believe this country has a moral duty to at least attempt to lead the world away from this scenario, and we, as a Christian organisation, have the moral duty to ask it to.

      • Mr Gordon Wratten says:

        Wanting something to happen does not make it happen if logistics prevent. It would be impossible to construct additional energy capacity (to replace gas & charge electric vehicles), impossible to electrify all vehicles (over 40 million on British roads), impossible to fly & all in five years. This must be apparent even to the lay person. You have not answered any of the technical questions I asked!

        Theresa May has just carried out her final act of vandalism on the UK economy by having this amendment passed. (especially as we have already lowered our emissions by 38% and we account for less than 1% of the global total) So we are now going to spend £3000 a second for the next 30 years and no other country will follow us. This after only 90 minutes of debate in Parliament. The Russian federation, Brazil, USA, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic do not agree with this stance and we do not lead them but it will lead to the complete destruction of the UK economy.

        Can you quote from the original scientific sources where you say “tells us that we are heading for a mass extinction and a future unlikely to be able to sustain civilization”. I can find many eminent academics who tell a completely different story.

        The irony in all this is that whereas Co2 is one component of over 40 which drives weather and climate there is also compelling evidence that solar cycles (usually of 30 years) are the main drivers of changes in global temperature. Thus for example the period of 1940 to 1973 saw global temperatures drop at the same time Co2 continued to increase.

        So a simplistic attachment to the story of Co2 being the only driver would see in 30 years (if we were mad enough to follow that path) a country taken back to a pre industrial age and a population unable to cope with any global cooling which might have started (since before too long a solar minimum will undoubtedly start). This lack of solar activity always leads to more cloud cover and hence to more cooling.

        The final irony is that if we were able to reach the goals of the amendment the picture would be as follows :- On a cold winter night when no solar energy is available (since no mass storage has yet been devised), when there is no wind and just a little hydro from Norway all energy supplies in the UK would cease and we would then be like Australia except this would be country wide. Nothing would move, heat, cook, support etc. Do you really want such a thing to happen?

  5. Gary Long says:

    2 of the many measures needed for reaching net zero carbon emissions are insulating the 75% of houses in Britain which need better insulation and 100% move to electric cars (and scrapping all existing cars). Is it really possible to do either of these in under 6 years?

    Let alone industry replacing much of its plant and equipment, a move to less carbon emitting fuels for air travel, etc. etc.

    This call appears to me to be just posturing unless you can provide some substance behind the 2025 proposed deadline.

    • Ruth Jarman says:

      Dear Gary, thanks for taking the trouble to comment. We agree it seems an impossible ask. But the science is telling us that failing to act immediately means we are heading for a future that is impossible to contemplate. From our point of view:
      – it is for citizens, and we would say, particularly faith groups, to argue for what they believe to be right, and for the government to legislate.
      – We explain in the guidance why we discern a ‘moral threshold’ for the UK as early as 2025, and no later than 2030. Beyond then we would be exposing young people and future generations to risks which we believe are unconscionable. Those ‘external costs’ (to use the brutal economic shorthand) rarely feature in debates about the national net-zero deadline.
      – We recommend that lobbyists ask government to undertake modelling of pathways to net zero by 2025 and 2030, and to engage citizens in doing so, within a context of emergency mobilisation. If the outcome is that 2025 is missed by a few years, it will not have been for want of trying. Better to have tried and failed than not to have tried at all. Even better to succeed, if a way can be found.
      Thanks again for your comment.

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