Methodists commit to carbon reduction pledge

The Methodist Conference agreed that failure to acknowledge theurgent need for radical cuts in greenhouse gas emissions was"morally irresponsible" in a statement adopted by the Churchtoday.

The statement has been two years in the making. In 2009 a reportentitled "Hope in God's Future" addressed the need to look atclimate change within a theological context. Over the past year,British Methodists have been asked about their views on climatechange in a Church-wide consultation. Now that the statement hasbeen adopted, it will stand as the official view of the Church andbe referred to by key committees, such as the Faith and OrderCommittee, when deciding on related areas of doctrine.

Dr Richard Vautrey, former Vice President of the Methodist Church,said: "The scientific analyses of climate change and the role ofhuman greenhouse gas emissions are well-grounded. It is now morallyirresponsible to fail to acknowledge and address the urgent needfor radical cuts in greenhouse gas emissions in order to preventintolerable damage to human populations and mass extinctions ofmany plant and animal species."

This week the Church launched a webpage www.methodist.org.uk/co2on how to reduce the carbon footprint of small, medium and largechurches. The guidance will help to cut the Methodist Church'scarbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 in line with Governmenttargets. A report to the Methodist Conference last year revealedthat the Methodist Church in Britain has a carbon footprint ofaround 120,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum for approximately 8,000 ofits buildings.

The Joint Public Issues Team for the Methodist Church, the UnitedReformed Church and the Baptist Union is lobbying the government onits climate change policy and has called for emissions frominternational aviation and shipping to be taken into account ininternational targets. Churches are also encouraged to start upeco-congregations: an environmental programme for local churches inBritain and Ireland. Last week, Nailsea Methodist Church wasofficially named as an Eco-Congregation after four years of workingtowards a greener church.