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President's reflection

Disciples of Jesus and the issue of "Climate Change" debate in Australia, 2021. 

The following dot points have been prepared by Bishop Philip Huggins, 18 June.

  • The love of God is revealed in the symmetry of Creation, Incarnation and Redemption.
  • In the love of God, we are drawn to notice and cherish all God has made. Jesus, our Incarnate Lord, often used parables and examples drawn from nature. Like Jesus, we cherish the beauty of creation. In nature, we are replenished. Love motivates us. Be it our love for the sea, the mountains, the koala, the coral of the Great Barrier Reef. Be it our love for our children and our grandchildren.
  • Love of God blends with our love of neighbours. Our neighbours are also the vulnerable species of our precious biodiversity.
  • We have heard the cry of the Earth and of the poor. Climate change impacts our neighbours of the Pacific and elsewhere. Many of these have had little to do with the carbon economy that has caused global warming.
  • Climate change does not respect borders. Hence the need for global cooperation. Global temperatures have already risen 1 degree above pre-industrial levels. If they rise 2 degrees, science predicts catastrophic consequences: more extreme events more frequently; more droughts and floods; further loss of biodiversity. Unless we reach a durable global agreement, temperatures will continue to rise. The next years are crucial.
  • The purpose of the Paris Agreement is to prevent global warming. It was negotiated at an earlier United Nations Conference of the Parties - UNCOP21. Faith leaders played a significant role.
  • The next UNCOP 26 starts in Glasgow on November 1. At a “Faith and Science” Media Conference at the Vatican on 17 June it was described as a key moment in the history of humanity. It cannot fail.
  • UNCOP 26 aims to get us back to a 1.5 degree rise in global temperatures by agreement. This requires each of the 197 nations to approach UNCOP 26 with the ambition to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement. Each nation shows this ambition in their Nationally Determined Contribution - their NDC. Some nations have already announced their scaled-up ambition. Australia has not as yet, but this is expected before November.
  • The goals of UNCOP 26 are fourfold: to ensure the sum of the NDC’s lead to net zero emissions by, at the latest, 2050; to help the most vulnerable populations to adapt; to raise $US 100 billion per annum to finance recovery from the “loss and damage” already caused by climate change in poorer nations and to finalise the rules of the Paris Agreement going forward, so that progress has transparency to all parties.
  • These are demanding goals and we have seen much more commentary on them, including at the recent G7 meeting.
  • The role of faith leaders internationally is to raise the ambitions of our political leaders. 84% of the world population have a religious belief. Just as faith leaders played a crucial role in building momentum for COP21 and the Paris Agreement, so we must make a similar contribution now.
  • The “Race to Zero Emissions” is not a race that Australian politicians are joining with bipartisan and unambiguous enthusiasm! We have had years of fractious debate but still do not have an agreed national plan for a safer environment in a prosperous and sustainable nation. How we might do this has been outlined by our writers such as Ross Garnaut and Tim Flannery.
  • The private sector is making major investments, as are State and Local Governments. Individuals are pursuing a net zero lifestyle in a global “count us in” movement. The missing link is a coherent national strategy. Since the G7 meeting, debate within the Coalition and Labor parties again shows how the next Federal election preoccupies responses.
  • Our task is to convince our Federal politicians that climate ambition at and after UNCOP 26 guarantees electoral success.
  • We therefore need to initiate a dialogue with Federal politicians, asking our leaders to offer inspirational leadership so as to ensure effective global agreement sustains our beautiful planet of God’s creation.
  • To facilitate dialogue, we are looking for an image and message which conveys our concern that UNCOP26 Stops Climate Change. Suggestions are welcome.

Bishop Philip Huggins

President National Council of Churches in Australia

Suggestions are welcome. Please email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  by 30 July 2021.

Refer to our previous article calling for suggestions -  https://www.ncca.org.au/ncca-newsletter/june-2021-1/item/2478-creation-care-messaging-competition-2021061 

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