Over six hundred people of faith from around Australia have penned hand-written letters calling on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to do more to protect the climate.
After the recent high profile scientific warnings and before the United Nations Climate Summit in Glasgow, people of faith are pleading with the Prime Minister to act now and act vigorously on a plan to reduce our climate pollution.
The letters were collected and sent this week by the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC). They are calling on the Morrison Government to submit higher emissions reduction targets to negotiations in Glasgow, re-start contributions to the United Nations Green Climate Fund and abandon a “gas-led recovery” in favour of job creation in low carbon industries.
One of the letter-writers and Pentecostal Pastor at the large and influential Bayside Church in Melbourne, Pastor Rob Buckingham, said “Our faith teaches us that we should care for God’s creation. I appeal to the Prime Minister as a man of faith and ask him to carefully consider his government’s responsibility to ensure the earth’s environment is protected for the generations to come.’
“The earth’s climate is no longer changing incrementally but it is changing at an accelerating pace,” Pastor Buckingham said. “The intensity of climate-fuelled disasters is increasing world-wide, causing extreme human suffering. We Christians cannot walk on the other side, worried about the cost of taking action. The costs of not taking action are being paid by the world’s poor and younger generations.”
“Australia has a moral responsibility to urgently wind back our coal and gas exports and scale up our use of renewables. To do this compassionately, communities currently dependent on coal and gas should receive public support for locally developed plans to diversify their local economies,” he said.
“Just as individuals are called to live ethical lives, as a nation we should do what is right, not what suits the short-term political or economic advantage of particular groups. Australia should aim for at least two-thirds emissions reduction in the next decade in order to keep global warming to under 2°C.”
Letter-writer and Co-President of the Muslim Collective, Fahimah Badrulhisham, said, “The world needs to act urgently and swiftly at COP26 but fairness suggests that Australia, one of the world’s biggest coal producers, should do much more to pull our weight. We have both the economic capacity and moral responsibility to drive down our emissions. Therefore, Australia must re-start contributions to the Green Climate Fund to assist our neighbouring countries to adapt to the climate impacts that they are already experiencing. They have emitted far less greenhouse gases than us, but they are the first to bear the brunt of this crisis. This is a question of basic justice.”
Another letter-writer, the Rev. Meredith Williams, Minister of Wentworthville Uniting Church, said, “People in Western Sydney are very vulnerable to heatwaves, especially those living in poverty. More generally, Australians are very vulnerable to droughts, fires and floods and climate change will make these much worse for our children and grandchildren. Our governments are failing in their primary duty to keep people safe.”
ARRCC is coordinating the participation of hundreds of Australian faith communities in a global “Faiths 4 Climate Justice Day of Action” on October 17 and 18, two weeks before the Glasgow Summit. It will be calling on the Morrison Government to take much stronger climate policies to the negotiations.