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UN advisor says churches can help reduce climate change impact


The vice-chairperson of a United Nations climate panel has said churches can contribute to reducing the impact of global warming by proposing new lifestyles.

"The risks connected with climate change have dramatically increased since 2001. Nevertheless, there is no fatalistic view of the future," said Professor Jean-Pascal van Ypersele of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

"There are ways to reduce emissions, and churches can contribute to solutions by proposing changes in lifestyle and behaviour patterns," said Ypersele, a member of the institute of astronomy and geophysics at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium.

The IPCC shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with the former U.S. vice-president, Al Gore.

Ypersele was addressing the 24-28 September assembly of the European Christian Environmental Network, which gathers environmental activists and groups, and is linked to the Conference of European Churches.

CEC said in a press release that 100 delegates from 27 countries were taking part in the assembly.

Opening the gathering, the Rev. Letizia Tomassone, vice-president of the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy, noted that a gathering of European churches in 2007 had recommended that all churches in Europe should mark a special "creation time" each September, as a time of prayer and action for the "integrity of creation".

She said that all Italian denominations, including the Roman Catholic Church, are co-operating on environmental issues and marking "creation time".

CEC noted in its press release that the Swedish biologist Stefan Edman had challenged churches to "transform their gloomy moralism", and to link environmental questions to the issues of human rights and solidarity.

(c) Ecumenical News International