More to be done on climate
As the COP26 meeting continues in Glasgow, Uniting Church in Australia President Rev Sharon Hollis is encouraging the Australian Government to go further and deeper in its commitment to reduce our impact on climate change.
Initial negotiations have led to a global pledge to cut methane emissions, an agreement Australia did not sign up for, and a commitment to end deforestation among other promises.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison brought to the meeting Australia’s commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 and announced “emissions in Australia will fall by 35 per cent by 2030”, a figure beyond the set commitment of 26-28 per cent made by Australia in 2015.
However, Rev Hollis said Australia must act faster and sooner to protect the planet and its life.
“We commend the Australian Government for its commitment to respond to the challenge of climate change and for its recently announced target of net zero emissions by 2050 – this is critical. But if the world is to limit the most disastrous impacts of climate change here in Australia and for our family in the Pacific and beyond, we must act urgently.”
“The science is telling us that next decade is critical, Australia must increase its 2030 target to at least 50 per cent, but preferably higher. This must involve a more ambitious plan to transition our economy away from fossil fuels towards renewable energies.”
Before COP26, Rev Hollis and Uniting and Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress National Interim Chair Rev Mark Kickett joined church leaders of other major denominations in signing an Open Letter to the Prime Minister urging the Government to be ambitious in its response to climate.
Specifically, the letter called on the Government to: “Scale up Australia’s 2030 emissions reduction target to at least 50% and ambitiously aim for 74% to help limit global temperature rise to less than 1.5 C.”
“We believe climate change is a moral imperative. One that requires urgent action in partnership with the international community and alongside our Pacific family,” the letter stated.
With negotiations continuing in Glasgow, Rev Hollis invited Uniting Church members to pray for the outcomes of the meeting.
“We pray for global leaders, and those tasked with the negotiations, to be bold, to have patience and to work collaboratively in paving a way to protect the planet for future generations.”
The President has shared the following prayer.
Prayer from the President
O God, bringer of justice and lover of creation,
we pray to You as COP26 continues.
We pray that voice of the earth
and those most vulnerable to the effects of climate change might be heard.
for the groans of creation to be heeded,
for a willingness to hear the cries of those currently suffering from climate change
for the wisdom of Indigenous peoples to guide us,
for leaders and negotiators to be bold in their commitment to change.
We pray for courage, for ambitious targets and for actions to back the pledges and promises.
Rev Sharon Hollis