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.
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’.
- 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.
- 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”.
- 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