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Churches call for climate ambition ahead of COP26

Senior Churches spokesperson, Bishop Philip Huggins, has described the United Nations COP26 climate talks as possibly the “last chance to save our planet” in a strongly worded letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison. He joined those who are calling on Mr Morrison to take “leadership” by announcing more ambitious emissions reduction targets and to do this well ahead of the summit in November.

Bishop Huggins is President of the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) which includes most of the nation’s Churches, and is connected with the World Council of Churches and world-wide Anglican Communion.

“Can I urge that you include an Australian announcement not only to match that of the many nations already committing to net zero emissions by 2050, but also make vivid our commitment to real zero emissions asap?”

“Real zero” reflects scientists’ recent critiques that “net zero”, where ongoing emissions are roughly equal to carbon sequestered, won’t be enough to avoid further climate destabilisation.

To date, the Morrison Government has retained the targets (Nationally Determined Contributions) taken to the Paris negotiations, 26-28% emissions reductions on 2005 levels by 2030. The target was pegged to the US target at the time, but this is now 52% on 2005 levels by 2030 and net zero by 2050.

Bishop Huggins challenged Mr Morrison to become an “inspirational leader” like President Joe Biden.

“By announcing Australia’s generous and ambitious NDC, you can inspire others to be more ambitious. In humankind’s history, what does it take for us to make powerful and right decisions that bring greater safety and well-being? Always the answer to this question includes, doesn’t it, inspirational leaders?” he wrote.

“We have so needed experienced and value-based international leadership! As a trusted ally and because he is right about greater climate ambition, we need to support him.”

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