Join the mass climate lobby

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by Maranda St John NicolleThe Palace Of Westminster

CHRISTIANS in the Oxford Diocese are invited to join a mass lobby of Parliament on the issue of climate change. Thousands of people are expected to line the Thames on 17 June, to speak to their newly elected MPs, share with them a vision of a cleaner and greener planet, and urge them to make tackling climate change a priority. The lobby is organised by The Climate Coalition, which includes A Rocha, Christian Aid, and Tearfund among more than 100 members. An ecumenical service just before the event is being organised by the Christian agencies and denominations involved.

Why lobby now?
This year is a crucial one for anyone who cares about how creation will be affected by climate change. In December the world’s governments will meet in Paris to hammer out a deal on reducing carbon emissions and responding to the impact of climate change. It is hoped that this agreement will be the first to incorporate all UN member states, including both historically industrialised nations such as the UK and US and emerging economies such as China, India and South Africa. For this to work, all countries – including the UK – need to show leadership.

This September will also see the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals which, if creation care is included correctly, will go a long way to protecting the people most vulnerable to climate impact.
Christians have the potential to play a crucial role in advocating for agreements that protect the planet and help poorer communities to adapt – and have been asked to do so. At a recent meeting in Cape Town, Anglican bishops from around the Communion stated: “We call all our brothers and sisters in the Anglican Communion to join us in prayer and in pastoral, priestly and prophetic action.”
Individuals and church groups are participating in the “Pray and Fast for the Climate” taking place every first day of the month, installing renewable energy and protecting species in churchyards, exploring food sustainability through the “Food Matters” project, and advocating for sustainability at local and national levels.

Disinvestment
The Oxford Diocese has also taken the lead in calling on the Church of England to disinvest from fossil fuels. Diocesan Synod passed a motion to this effect last November, and the Revd Hugh Lee will move it at General Synod in July.

The Church of England’s Ethical Investment Advisory Group has itself recently advocated disinvestment from the dirtiest fossil fuels, a move which the Revd Darrell Hannah, co-sponsor of the original Oxford motion, hailed: “The EIAG’s decision to disinvest from coal and tar sands is a good first step and a move in the right direction.  Of course, I hope and pray the General Synod goes further and approves Oxford’s motion calling for disinvestment from oil within three years and natural gas within five.

“If they do not the Church of England risks being stuck with worthless and unsaleable assets as it is becoming increasingly clear that fossil fuels are not the safe investment they used to be.”
For details and to sign up to the lobby contact your local Christian Aid office in Oxford for more information at 01865 246818.

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