faith leaders call for greenhouse pollution targets Media Release

Oct 02, 2007 - 9:58am

13 Australian faith leaders including Anglican Bishop George Browning, Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence from the executive council of Australian Jewry and Br Ikebal Patel (President of Australian Federation of Islamic Councils) have called for targets to reduce greenhouse pollution by between 60-90% by 2050 and a clean energy target of 25% by 2020.

The Interfaith Common Call to Action has been facilitated by the Climate Institute and builds on Common Belief which was released late last year and included statements by a wide range of Australian faith leaders about climate change and a shared belief that there is a moral obligation to care for the earth.

"The scientific and economic arguments for action to stop the worst impacts of climate change are very clear, but the most compelling argument is that which is put by these faith leaders – we have a moral and ethical responsibility to care for the earth and leave our children and their children a healthy planet.” Said Climate Institute Chief Executive John Connor.

“This Australian Interfaith call for action reflects an international movement by faiths calling for urgent action on climate change and doing what they can within faith communities to reduce carbon emissions. For example the Vatican under Pope Benedict XVI has committed to becoming carbon neutral and plans to cover it’s rooves with solar panels.” Said Mr Connor.

“All the indications are that the poor of the world will suffer the most, people in Africa, people in Bangladesh, people in the Pacific. It's a moral issue because we have a choice. I do not think that at the next election, any Australian can morally vote for a government that does not have a viable climate policy” Said Bishop George Browning.

“Particularly those of us who live in a fairly wealthy and technologically advanced environment have choices which poorer people don't have, and we should exercise those choices for the good of all.”

The Interfaith Common Call to Action calls on Australian political parties to adopt policies without delay that will:

  1. Ensure Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions peak and begin to decline in the next five years, set a long term reduction target of at least 60-90% below 1990 levels by 2050 and a pathway of strong interim targets to meet that long term target.
  2. Ensure all new electricity generation comes from clean energy and legislate a clean or renewable energy target of 25% by 2020.
  3. Set world’s best energy performance standards and establish a priority package of efficiency measures to cut energy waste and deliver all cost effective energy savings, particularly for low income households.
  4. Strengthen, broaden and deepen current greenhouse international agreements, help neighbouring countries make the switch to clean energy and prepare for climate change, and lead the world in a response that avoids dangerous climate change of global warming more than 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels.
There will be a ceremonial signing of a poster sized version of the declaration by faith leaders including Anglican Bishop George Browning, Father Frank Brennan and Br Ikebal Patel (President of Australian Federation of Islamic Councils) at the State Library at 10.15am this morning. Faith leaders will be available for interviews.
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