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Church and business groups join climate change appeal


Religious groups including the World Council of Churches and the US National Council of Churches have joined international companies and civic groups in backing what has been hailed as a major statement on climate change.

"Global warming is an urgent problem that is not only affecting God’s planet but also God’s people," said the Rev. Robert Edgar, general secretary of the US church council, at a 20 February media conference in New York to launch the initiative.

Those endorsing the statement included companies and organisations such as Air France, Citigroup, General Electric and Volvo.

The statement, "The Path to Climate Sustainability", by the Global Roundtable on Climate Change, a coalition of more than 150 groups, called for governments to set "scientifically informed targets" for reducing greenhouse gases and carbon dioxide emissions.

The Rev. Samuel Kobia, general secretary of the World Council of Churches, described the statement as being "carefully drafted and urgently needed". He said the global ecumenical body would continue to bring "the concerns this statement addresses to the world".

The statement urged "a concerted effort to de-carbonise the global energy system", including an increase in the of non-fossil fuel energy sources. It also recommended a market price to be placed on carbon emissions in order to award energy efficiency.

The US national church council has worked with the round table to develop a consensus among business, academic, scientific and religious groups about shaping public policy responses to global warming.

"This initiative points the way to an urgently needed global framework for action," said Jeffrey D. Sachs, chair of the round table and director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University.

The complete statement is available on-line at: www.earthinstitute.columbia.edu/grocc/

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