Church urges Government to get serious on Climate Change

Action must not be overshadowed by fear of turmoil on financialmarkets

The Methodist Church in Britain has responded to the report of theCommittee on Climate Change by calling for concrete action and acommitment to long-term change.

The Church has welcomed the Committee's proposal of an 80% targetfor the reduction of carbon emissions by 2050. This will require agreater investment in energy efficiency and rapid 'decarbonisation'of the power and transport sectors. The Church has expressedconcern over an apparent lack of direction from the government asto how this is to be achieved.

Christine Elliott, Team Secretary for External Relationships, said:'This is a huge challenge. We cannot let the fear of turmoil on thefinancial markets paralyse us. In the Britain of the future the useof fossil fuels must become the exception rather than therule.'

The Methodist Church has raised particular concerns over the use ofcarbon offsetting by industrialised nations. In submissions toParliament the Church called for the use of carbon credits to bevery limited (offsetting no more than 10% of the UK carbonreduction effort). The Government has argued for industry to havethe flexibility to use carbon credits to buy out 50% of the carbonreduction effort required by the EU Emission Trading Scheme(ETS).

'It would be unethical to dodge our responsibility to cut emissionsin the UK by purchasing carbon offsets', continued Steve Hucklesby,Policy Advisor. "Investment in clean development projects overseasis vital but cannot be a substitute for reducing carbon emissionsin the UK. We are looking to the Government to provide strongleadership in mapping out the path to a low carbon economy'.

The Methodist Church, Baptist Union of Great Britain, ReligiousSociety of Friends (Quakers) and United Reformed Church submitted ajoint response on the Climate Change Bill in the course ofParliamentary scrutiny: www.jointpublicissues.org.uk/jpitenvironment.htm