By Jane Still, Communications & Fundraising Manager, Anglicord
The government and people of Australia have been issued a prophetic challenge by The Environment Working Group of the General Synod (the national parliament) of the Anglican Church of Australia, to take up their moral responsibility to reduce carbon emissions, and it says paying for the cost of carbon pollution will be a necessary part of that action.
The Group has issued a Discussion Paper that states, “Reducing carbon emissions is a practical and moral necessity.” The group criticises opponents of a carbon price, saying: “Those who oppose all forms of carbon pricing are discounting the importance of public policy action in the face of substantial risks for all life on this planet. Oversimplified political rhetoric does everyone a disservice.”
“A strategy is needed to move Australia (and the world) to less dependence on fossil fuels. Ensuring that the cost of carbon pollution is accounted for is an essential part of such a strategy.”
The group argues that avoiding responsibility to reduce carbon emissions will lead to higher future costs for everyone through more frequent natural disasters and the loss of jobs to more innovative economies “on track to a sustainable future”.
People living in poverty would suffer most, the group says, and Christians have a role to play in advocating for these people.
“As Christians we are bound by the commandment to ‘love our neighbours as ourselves’, and out of concern and care for our neighbours in Australia and the world, we acknowledge and support the urgent need to mitigate climate change through effective reductions in carbon emissions.”
The working group has identified the grip of materialism as a threat to Australia’s ability to tackle the issue.
“People in developed nations are reluctant to forego the comforts of current lifestyles… We need to re-examine what is meant by growth and wealth, acknowledging our interdependence with the material world and rediscovering our responsibility for it.”
The group welcomes the promised compensation by the current Federal government, and says that the influence of a carbon price may result in new forms of personal and community sustainability. “For example, small towns in struggling agricultural areas are already turning to renewable energy production.”
he full discussion paper is available at http://www.environment.perth.anglican.org
Further comment: Dr David Mitchell, Chair of the General Synod Environment Working Group Adjunct Professor School of Environmental Sciences, Institute of Land, Water and Society, Charles Sturt University. Phone 0428 431 757
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