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‘Show some leadership’ – 18 senior religious leaders urge PM to step up climate policy

Following the unprecedented devastation Australia has witnessed this summer, 18 senior religious leaders from the Christian, Catholic, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish and Hindu communities, which together have more than 10 million members in Australia, have issued an open letter to the Prime Minister, appealing to him as a “fellow person of faith”, and calling for stronger climate leadership and an urgent shift away from coal and gas. 

Catholic, Buddhist, Muslim and Quaker signatories and representatives of ARRCC (Australian Religious Response to Climate Change) launched the letter at Paddington Uniting Church on February 20.

The letter reads, in part: “This land now called Australia is very vulnerable to climate impacts. Aboriginal communities in arid areas are at great risk, as are the Torres Strait Islanders from increasingly hostile oceans. Farmers face more extreme droughts and floods. Our concern is also for the tens of millions around the world who are already being displaced annually by other climate-related disasters. There is even worse to come.

“The insight of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait leaders, that all things are connected, is affirmed by the overwhelming scientific consensus. There is much to learn from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, who have survived and thrived on their lands for over 2,000 generations.

“Scientists and former emergency services chiefs have been very clear that the fires have been made much worse by human-induced climate change. The warmer temperatures and prolonged drought have made the land progressively drier.

“You have said that you recognise this. Yet you have also insisted that your climate policies will not change. This, despite global views that Australia’s climate policies are amongst the worst in the world.

“As Parliament continues to convene on the land of the Ngunnawal people, we are asking you and your colleagues in the Coalition to unite behind the science. As it says in the Book of Proverbs ‘Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counsellors there is safety’.

“Almost all peer-reviewed articles by climate scientists agree on the main points: climate change is real and it is caused by human activity, primarily the burning of coal, oil and gas, together with animal agriculture and land clearing. Human ingenuity has developed viable alternatives for each of these destructive practices. What is needed is strong and visionary leadership to support their urgent adoption.”

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Read the full letter at http://www.arrcc.org.au/letter.

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