Church leaders welcome breakthrough at climate change talks - but warn of future dangers

Leaders of the UK's three largest free churches have welcomedthe breakthrough announced at the climate talks in Durban on Sundaymorning - 11 December - but warned that time is running out forclimate calamity to be avoided.

Commenting on the agreement of a roadmap towards a new climatedeal, the Revd Roberta Rominger, General Secretary of the UnitedReformed Church, said: "This eleventh hour consensus on chartingthe way towards a legally binding agreement on greenhouse gasemission by 2020 is good news for developed and developingcountries alike. Now all governments must follow it through andtake urgent action to cut carbon emissions significantly; failureto do this could have devastating consequences for the world's mostvulnerable communities."

Revd Dr Martyn Atkins, General Secretary of the Methodist Church inBritain asked, "Why should people with the lowest carbon footprintson earth have to bear the brunt of the increasingly frequent andextreme climate events? Climate change is now threatening the livesand livelihoods of millions of people who live in some of thepoorest countries in the world. We have a moral obligation tochallenge the voices of wealthier countries that place their owneconomic recovery ahead of the urgent call for climate action.Effective action to create low-carbon economies will requireinternationally agreed restraints on the production of greenhousegases."

Revd Jonathan Edwards, General Secretary of the Baptist Union ofGreat Britain, pointed out that taking climate change seriously wasalso a moral and spiritual issue. He said: "As Western nations weurgently need to address our individualistic, consumer lifestyleswhich are the major drivers of climate change - and recover anunderstanding of the richness that is related to sufficiency. Wesimply cannot celebrate the wonder of God's creation in one breathand then destroy it in the next."

Mr Edwards added: "Living more sustainably and simply to enableothers to simply live is a crucial part of our Christiancalling."

The three denominations have supported proposals to reduce thecarbon footprint of their churches, help members of congregationsto reduce carbon emissions, and engage politically to work fornational and international change. These proposals are part of thereport Hope in God's Future: Christian Discipleship in the Contextof Climate Change which examines the issue of Christiandiscipleship in the context of climate change.

It can be downloaded here.