Since the first world summit on Climate Change in Rio in 1992 where counties agreed to limit the emissions of greenhouse gases there has been a growing development in the worlds understanding of the urgency and need to act to prevent the destruction of our planet. There is greater scientific certainty and more and more people are becoming aware of this threat to our world. This has come from governments, business and civil society Nine out of ten Europeans, for example; now think that climate change is a serious problem. Many countries have developed comprehensive legislation on climate. The UK was the first country, with its historic 2008 Climate Change Act, to set statutory targets for emissions reduction.
This understanding and concern has become part of Church thinking too and an appreciation of the theological basis of this topic has become of an integral part of its teaching. The Church recognizes that God has given us an abundant world to tend and share. Yet all over the world we can see how we have failed to protect our planet. This has been wonderfully spelt out in Pope Francis’ Encyclical “Laudato Si”. This has been addressed to all people and has been received worldwide with enthusiasm and deep interest We are inspired by Pope Francis who has spoken out about climate change, growing global inequality and the destruction of nature as the greatest threats facing the human family.
On 17 June thousands of CAFOD supporters descended on London to meet their MPs and lobby those about climate change at the Speak Up For the Love Of our Common Home. This included five of our Sisters.
Rt. Rev John Sherrington, Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster, took part in a moving ecumenical service at St Margaret’s church, in which Christians from different denominations gathered to give praise to God. They heard from CAFOD’s Caroline Swahili about the impact climate change is having on communities in East Africa. A parallel service took place in the Emmanuel Centre where CAFOD young climate bloggers took part in a symbolic action to show our commitment to care for creation.While over in Archbishop’s Park, a beautiful heart mural was created as people from all faiths and none left personal messages, prayers and commitments to lead greener lives.
The rally finished off the day in style with inspiring speeches from Olympic rower Andrew Hodge, young campaigners and Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders, punctuated by short films and music.
At least 9,000 people, including CAFOD supporters from every diocese, met their MPs to talk about climate change and the devastating impact it’s having on people living in poverty overseas. Almost half of all MPs were asked to tackle climate change and deliver 100 per cent clean, safe energy by 2050 by groups ranging from the Women’s Institute to Greenpeace.Cafod provided us with a clear briefing so we had clear accurate information.
The Basic information is as follows
- Current projections suggest that over the next 20 years up to 200 million people will be at risk of hunger if the planet sees the possible 2-3C rise in temperature.
- The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (the lead authority on climate change science) says with 95% certainty that human activity is the main cause of climate change.
- Pollution from fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas make a huge contribution to climate change.
The Sisters from Rosary Priory had contacted our MP Oliver Dowden to make an appointment. As he is a new MP and was making his maiden speech that day he agreed to meet us at his Constituency Office in Radlett on the following Friday. It was a very useful meeting and we felt he shared what we, his constituents, asked him to promote in the House of Commons. Sr Karen presented him with a copy of Laudato Si.
It is crucial that there will be a good outcome from the International Climate Change Conference in Paris in December, 2015.