Churches tell world leaders to create low carbon economies

Churches are urging political leaders to lay out plans for lowcarbon economies at the Cancun follow-up to the Copenhagen ClimateChange Conference.

The Methodist Church, The United Reformed Church and The BaptistUnion of Great Britain have stressed the importance of new sourcesof finance in closing the global climate investment gap. They havecalled on the Cancun Conference in Mexico to support duties onaviation and shipping and to allocate revenue from carbon allowanceauctions to an international climate finance depository. Aninternational bank levy is also among the measures recommended toraise the $100 billion a year needed to tackle climatechange.

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

Climate finance will also help countries adapt to the impact ofclimate change. Cyclone shelters, rising tube wells, floatinggardens, raising and strengthening homes are among the climateadaptation measures being used in Bangladesh to cope with risingsea levels, melting Himalayan glaciers and increasingly powerfulcyclones.

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

"The EU has a unique opportunity to gain significant investment inrenewable energy technologies by upping its carbon reduction targetfrom 20 to 30 per cent by 2020. According to a new study compiledby think-tank e3g, a fall in carbon prices would reduce investmentincentive in renewable energy projects. As Churches we urge EUleaders present at Cancun to increase the EU carbon reductiontargets, and thereby send out a clear message to other developedcountries that raising carbon reduction targets to more realisticlevels will contain the rise on global temperatures to less thantwo degrees."

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