Churches tell world leaders to create low carbon economies

Churches are urging political leaders to lay out plans for low carbon economies at the Cancun follow-up to the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference.

The Methodist Church, The United Reformed Church and The Baptist Union of Great Britain have stressed the importance of new sources of finance in closing the global climate investment gap. They have called on the Cancun Conference in Mexico to support duties on aviation and shipping and to allocate revenue from carbon allowance auctions to an international climate finance depository. An international bank levy is also among the measures recommended to raise the $100 billion a year needed to tackle climate change.

Steve Hucklesby, Policy Adviser for the Methodist Church, said: "The Copenhagen Conference established that developing countries will need $100 billion dollars each year to help develop low carbon economies. This is a huge challenge but it is achievable. We need sources of grant finance which are predictable and sustainable. We can't rely on loans when so many countries are already struggling with debt. At Cancun we must start to lay down the financial architecture to support that goal."

Climate finance will also help countries adapt to the impact of climate change. Cyclone shelters, rising tube wells, floating gardens, raising and strengthening homes are among the climate adaptation measures being used in Bangladesh to cope with rising sea levels, melting Himalayan glaciers and increasingly powerful cyclones.

Commenting on the failure of the Copenhagen Climate Summit to agree globally binding emission targets, Frank Kantor, Secretary for Church and Society of the United Reformed Church, said: "Europe has a chance to rebuild trust with poorer countries at Cancun but this will require EU countries to deliver on their three year pledge of €7.2 billion fast-start finance to help developing countries cut emissions and adapt to climate change between 2010 and 2012.

"The EU has a unique opportunity to gain significant investment in renewable energy technologies by upping its carbon reduction target from 20 to 30 per cent by 2020. According to a new study compiled by think-tank e3g, a fall in carbon prices would reduce investment incentive in renewable energy projects. As Churches we urge EU leaders present at Cancun to increase the EU carbon reduction targets, and thereby send out a clear message to other developed countries that raising carbon reduction targets to more realistic levels will contain the rise on global temperatures to less than two degrees."

Revd Graham Sparkes, Head of Faith and Unity at the Baptist Union of Great Britain, said: "Developed countries have to recognise their role as historical polluters. They have to bear the burden and cost of building a clean-energy future."

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