Church leaders call on Governments for ‘credible and sustainable’ transition from fossil fuels

Senior leaders of four major UK Churches have welcomedthe Government's commitment to limiting climate change, and havecalled for more to be done to keep global warmingbelow 2°C.

Leaders of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Church ofScotland, the Methodist Church and the United ReformedChurch issued astatement today in the lead up to the COP21 summit inParis.

Next week representatives from more than 190 nations will gatherin Paris from 30 November 30 - 11 December with the aimto achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climatechange to keep global warming below 2°C.

Over the past year, churches, charities and agencies haveprayed, fasted and marched in solidarity for climatejustice. 

The statement reads: "Concern for the environment is central toa theology of care and respect for God's creation. It involvessolidarity with all the peoples of the earth, all other creaturesand with our planet itself. The impacts of global warming will fallincreasingly on the world's developing nations, in the form ofdroughts, famines and lands becoming uninhabitable.

"We welcome the UK Government's commitment to provide climatefinance to developing nations... and the UK has made the secondlargest contribution of $1.2bn."

In terms of the UK's own energy usage the statement says: "It isessential that the UK does not simply replace coal with increasedreliance on gas. Our Churches have called for the Government toensure that 60% of our electricity generation comes from renewablesources by 2030."


In comment on the statement, the Revd Jenni Entrican,President of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, said: "Wewelcome the UK Government's announcement that coal fired powerstations will be phased out by 2025. However the Government isproposing to roll back incentives for the renewable energy thathave helped churches and their members to play a part by investingin solar power. Our nation cannot simply replace coal with gas, asthis will make it impossible to decarbonise our electricitygeneration sufficiently by 2030. Our churches would be delighted tosee the UK take a leadership role in clean affordable renewableenergy."

The Revd Steven Wild, President of the Methodist Conference,added: "The words of the prophets remind us that we are called toacts of love and justice. Today's prophets might well include thevast body of climate scientists who in very measured language speakclearly of the situation that we face today. In Copenhagen in 2009,based on this science, Governments promised to take action toensure that global warming does not pass 2 degreescentigrade.  Over the next two weeks we look to Governments totake leadership and deliver on their promise. This will involvetrust between nations and the willingness to agree to binding andambitious climate targets.  Church members, policy makers andMPs each have a part to play in responding to the call for justiceand care for God's creation."

Mr John Ellis, Moderator of the General Assembly of the UnitedReformed Church, said: "The world continues to look to Paris as theClimate Summit gets underway.  We are conscious that peacecannot be forced but needs to be built. We have witnessed atremendous outpouring of concern for the victims of violence fromaround the world.  A fitting response would be a redoubling ofefforts to ensure that future generations are not displaced fromtheir homes by climate induced disasters. I pray that this provesnot to be just another governmental summit but a moment when weidentified with the suffering of others and took action."

The Right Revd Angus Morrison, Moderator of the General Assemblyof the Church of Scotland, said: "Scotland has led the way in theUnited Kingdom in the development of renewable electricity and theChurch of Scotland is very concerned progress is being put at riskbecause of recent changes in UK Government policy. Communityrenewable energy projects help us address fuel poverty and reduceour carbon footprint. At the time when governments are meeting inParis to tackle climate change we call for the UK Government tothink again and support community energy projects as a priority.Climate change is arguably the greatest long term threat facing ourplanet and we must all act to reduce the damage we are doing tofuture generations."


To read the full statement, click here.



  1. The Joint Public Issues Team combines the expertise of theBaptist Union, the Church of Scotland, the Methodist Church and theUnited Reformed Church in the area of public issues. The team aimsto enable our four Churches to work together in living out thegospel of Christ in the Church and in wider society. It aims topromote equality and justice by influencing those in power and byenergising and supporting local congregations. For moreinformation,  click here.
  2. For further details on COP21,  click here.
  3. For more information on the Church of Scotland's responses toclimate change,  click here.
  4. For other ecumenical responses to climate change and COP21 seethe  Pilgrimage2Paris and  Hope for the Future.