CLIMATE change is a moral issue.
Those least responsible for creating the problem will be the most affected.
Every scientific academy in the world says consumption using fossil fuels, which emit greenhouse gas (GHG), is causing extreme weather known as climate change.
The culture of the developed world assumes a right to ever higher standards of living and consumption.
By contrast, the aspirations of the developing world centre on basic needs for health, nutrition and education.
God has given us clear direction on how to live.
We are to care for his creation, the poor and our neighbour as ourselves.
The Uniting Church says we have a moral duty to act – and urgent action is needed.
We cannot ignore what scientific experts say, that if GHG emissions, in particular carbon dioxide, aren't quickly reduced, severe consequences of climate change will ensue: flooding, desertification, famine, water shortages, climate refugees and human conflict.
In Queensland, for example, the Great Barrier Reef and coastal settlements are at risk.
People need clear incentives to change.
A carbon price on fossil fuels is an incentive to invest in renewable energy, and is the most effective and cheapest way to cut GHG emissions, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
To assist poor countries tackle climate change a United Nations Green Climate Fund will begin in 2014.
And in further encouraging news, this year world investment in clean renewable energy has outstripped investment in fossil fuel for the first time, according to Australian Chief Climate Commissioner Tim Flannery, as reported in the Sydney Morning Herald on 4 August.
Christians know that when we obey God's commandments, God gives life abundantly.
Minimising climate change is an enormous challenge.
But Christianity teaches us with the story of David and Goliath that we can succeed even against huge odds.
What we can do:
1. Buy green power
2. Visit, telephone or write to your local Member of Parliament, the Prime Minister and the opposition leader.
Ask them to:
• ratify the Kyoto Protocol to reduce our GHG emissions to 5 per cent of 2000 levels by 2020
• reduce use of fossil fuels and increase use of non-nuclear renewable energy sources.
Marguerite Marshall is a Uniting Church member, Al Gore–trained environmental leader in The Climate Reality Project, and a presenter of Beyond Zero Emissions.
Australia emits more GHG than any developed country per head of population.
European Commission's Joint Research Centre and the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency:
Reuters 20 July 2012
For a safe climate, GHG emissions must peak by around 2016.
20 000 Number of jobs in Australia's fossil fuel industry
75 000 Number of jobs that would be created by developing the wind and solar power industries
$1 not spent before 2020 = $4.30 spent after 2020 on clean energy investment because of increased emissions
Photo : Left to right: Tony Windsor, Independent Member for New England, Santiago Arias, Technical Director of Torresol Energy, Professor Ross Garnaut AO, economist and author of the Australian Government commissioned Climate Change Review, Matthew Wright, Executive Director of Beyond Zero Emissions, and Jayne Garnaut at the Torresol Gemasolar plant (concentrated solar tower) in Spain. Photo courtesy of Beyond Zero Emissions