By News Desk
Melbourne, 12 November : Faith leaders from across the religious spectrum have issued a joint call for G20 leaders to act on climate change, end fossil fuel subsidies and rapidly transition to a low carbon economy.
Clergy and leaders from Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist and Indigenous communities will hold a press conference in a Brisbane church close to where G20 leaders are meeting.
Organised by the multi-faith Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC), they are calling on country representatives to recognise the clear connection between economics and climate.
Prominent figures from a range of communities have signed a joint letter in which they describe fossil fuel subsidies as a “perverse incentive to destroy the biosphere”: Subsidies operate as a perverse incentive to destroy the biosphere, to deplete and pollute precious water sources, pollute the air and create significant health problems.
Bishop Professor Stephen Pickard of the Anglican Church said: “There is a moral imperative to act. A number of the G20 leaders claim to be people of faith yet their collective failure to act on climate change is morally reprehensible. The present situation demands that we transition quickly to lifestyles that respect the physicals limits of the natural world.”
Dr Mohamad Abdalla, Director of the Islamic Research Unit at Griffith University, said: “There must be a concerted effort, even in developing countries, to shift boldly to solar, wind and other forms of renewable energy. But this is being thwarted by government subsidies for fossil fuel companies, giving these companies an unfair advantage. Governments are essentially providing incentives for companies whose products are destroying the biosphere.”
Sister Geraldine Kearney, representing Catholic Religious Australia, said: “While wealthy countries are spending $50 – 90 billion USD annually on subsidies for fossil fuels, most are failing to put more than the most basic amounts on the table to meet their Climate Finance commitments. These leaders have a moral obligation to act.”
The fossil fuel lobby, including Peabody Energy and the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA), are resisting the call for change. In Brisbane they are actively promoting the message that fossil fuels are an indispensable necessity if developing countries wish to lift their people out of poverty.
Rabbi Jonathan Keren-Black from the Leo Baeck Centre for Progressive Judaism said: “This is a biased claim from an industry that is fighting for its own survival. Developing countries themselves recognise the wisdom of basing their development on renewables wherever possible. Their people are already suffering as a result of climate change.”
Aunty Togiab McRose Elu, Elder in Residence at Griffith University said: “Global warming isn’t just a theory in Torres Strait, it’s lapping at people’s doorsteps. The world desperately needs a binding international agreement including an end to fossil fuel subsidies. G20 countries should be leading the way.”
Professor Raja Jayaraman, Vice-Chair, Hindu Council of Australia, said: “Fossil fuels are causing significant health problems in places such as China and India as well as Australia. Meanwhile the price of renewables has come down dramatically and lend themselves to small-scale, decentralised energy delivery systems which are more accessible to impoverished communities.”
Mr Kim Hollow, President of the Federation of Australian Buddhist Councils said: “We know that the G20 leaders are pursuing greater prosperity. However, true prosperity cannot be created without care and respect for people and the environment. It is this integral vision for humanity and the earth which accords with the deepest roots of the world’s religious traditions.”
- SAT News Service.