Concluding on 30th September at Balatonszárszó in Hungary, the 10th Assembly of the European Christian Environment Network (ECEN) has called for churches to strengthen their voices and actions on global warming.
As evidence continues to mount that greenhouse gas emissions are dangerously disrupting the natural balances of the earth, Christians from Anglican, Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant traditions from 24 countries urged the need for greater responses from church and society.
In letters to the churches of Europe and the European Union (pdf), those attending pointed out the growing damage to people and places with an annual rise in global sea levels of 3mm resulting in higher sea levels, more extreme weather conditions and climate unpredictability. This is already hitting more vulnerable communities and countries, destroying wildlife, infrastructure, endangering health and leading to more than 250,000 extra deaths each year according to the World Health Organisation predictions.
In the face of such escalating challenges, the ECEN statement calls for more local action with a global outlook – caring for our neighbour, and recognising neighbours in the whole of God’s creation. Bishop James Jones (former Bishop of Liverpool) opened the Assembly outlining the need for prayerful, personal, congregational, political and international actions.
As the countdown begins to the UN Climate negotiations in Paris in December next year, churches are expected to campaign on disinvestment from fossil fuels and to further reduce their own carbon footprints. With pilgrimages to the French capital setting off from various starting points across Europe, church members will highlight the need for strong decisions from government leaders if we are to avoid a more than 2oC rise in temperatures in the coming decade.
Church of England delegate Martyn Goss from the Diocese of Exeter, who attended the Assembly, spoke of the urgency facing decision makers. “In their international accords since Kyoto in 1997, government leaders have failed to make the headway necessary to limit rising carbon emissions. It seems they are paralysed when it comes to making long-term decisions. However, the longer they prevaricate, the more difficult the situation becomes”. He added, “Climate Change threatens the ecology of the planet, the world’s economy and life in many of our human communities. This is an issue which can no longer be ignored. Time is limited if we are to live a habitable planet for our children’s children.”
Read the ECEN Letter to Church leaders and the Churches of Europe (pdf)
For further information and the full ECEN statement see ecen.org.
Contact: Martyn Goss, Director, Council for Church and Society,
Diocese of Exeter, The Old Deanery, Exeter, EX1 1HS
Tel: 01392-294924 email@example.com