Call for unified national leadership on climate change

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The National Council of Churches in Australia urges Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese to convene a roundtable on climate change, shaping a bipartisan approach and drawing in civil society leaders

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The National Council of Churches in Australia urges Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese to convene a roundtable on climate change, shaping a bipartisan approach and drawing in civil society leaders.

National Council of Churches President Bishop Philip Huggins said that it is imperative that leaders across all sectors of society work together to address climate change.

“Let us draw the line now under what is past,” Bishop Huggins said.

“Let us just get on with working together to prevent global temperatures rising further.”

Bishop Huggins said it would be wonderful, if this could be done before the crucial next UN Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP25), next month, from December 2 to 13.

“I came back yesterday from the Annual Pacific Church Leaders meeting in Suva to the discourse here about the awful bushfires.

“In Suva, church leaders from all over Pacific shared their current experiences of climate change: the trauma for communities displaced and forced to relocate inland and away from a swamped coast; the anguish then for traditional cultures of ‘leaving ancestors behind’; the dread of more frequent and more violent cyclones; and, even the monthly anxiety for places not far above sea level at the time of a full and new moon’s impact on tides. Said folk from such places: ‘We don’t sleep so well those nights!’

“It is a global issue. Humankind must find a quite unprecedented and sustained level of cooperation.”

Bishop Huggins said the human family could do with some places of hope where there was a unified national response.

“We urge our PM and our Leader of the Opposition to meet together and shape a way forward, as soon as practicable.

“Let Australia be an island of hope! It is a matter now of intelligent and cooperative leadership.”

ACSQ Justice Unit Coordinator Jennifer Basham said that she is concerned about those on the frontlines of fighting fires, including family members, and that we need to respond to Bishop Huggins’ call and Synod commitments.

“I have family that work in fire management and response, and others who have been on the frontlines of these most recent fires – it is a deeply worrying time,” Ms Basham said.

“The scientific consensus is clear on global warming, but what our horrific start to summer is revealing, is that change is happening even more rapidly than expected – our rainforests have never, and just shouldn’t, be burning like this.

“This week, one of the most prestigious scientific journals in the world, Nature, warned that we are reaching critical tipping points in multiple biosystems much more quickly than scientists previously thought.

“These interconnected systems create feedback loops through each other and can become cascading, compounding, dramatic changes “undermining our life-support system” and releasing yet more carbon pollution into the air, further intensifying the effects.

“The Earth, in the eyes of much of our secular, modernist society, has no being, no voice, but we know it differently, as God’s creation, as good.

“Bishops Huggins’ call for a bipartisan approach that involves leaders from all sectors of society is timely.

“Our Diocese has repeatedly committed over the last several years at Synod to taking global heating seriously and taking action on climate change.

“It is really critical that Christians from all walks of life speak up at this time, that we examine our own impacts on the Earth, and passionately defend all of God’s creation – the very ecosystems on which all life depends.”

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