As the G7 group of nations summit begins in Cornwall, bishops representing the Catholic communities of England, Wales and Scotland have written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to stress that we must work together to ensure a just and sustainable future for our global community.
This year the UK has the presidency and will gather leaders of G7 nations, the EU and guest countries for the summit.
“The urgency of the global ecological crisis, and the teachings of our Catholic faith implore us to speak out, take action, and make decisions that benefit our planet and the most vulnerable in society,” say the bishops.
They also emphasise that the social, economic, and environmental crises we face are inextricably linked.
“The emergency of the ecological crisis has a human face, recently highlighted by the Vatican’s guidance on climate displaced people.
“In our race towards our own technological and economic advances, we have caused the exploitation of people and the degradation of our planet.
“Energy and infrastructure are vital in supporting the poorest in our societies out of the pandemic and out of the ecological crisis, but we must look towards a future whereby we radically reduce our use of fossil fuels – something which the countries which you represent have a shared responsibility for, in ensuring fair outcomes for the benefit of all.”
The bishop signatories are Bishop Richard Moth, Bishop of Arundel and Brighton and lead bishop for social justice for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, Bishop John Arnold of Salford, chair of CAFOD and lead bishop for the environment and Bishop William Nolan, Bishop of Galloway and lead bishop for justice and peace for the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland.
The bishops accept that working towards a solution to these problems is far from easy but highlight what the Catholic Church is doing to play its part.
“Across England, Scotland and Wales, Catholic organisations and communities are already working hard to help respond to the environmental crisis, through transition to use of green energy, a major project to provide a template for how we can decarbonise our dioceses, working towards CAFOD’s liveSimply award in our parishes, and through education in our 2,600 schools.”
Whilst assuring the G7 leaders of their prayers, the bishops call upon them to…
- Provide economic support towards a sustainable recovery from the pandemic and to move quickly to halt the biodiversity loss the planet is facing.
- Act to support developing nations, ensuring that they are not left behind in decision making, and have fair access to vaccines.
- Ensure sustained action and accountability, to meet targets set out in the Paris Agreement and move as quickly as possible towards a zero-carbon economy, so that we do not exceed the 1.5C temperature rise, beyond which life on our planet will face dire consequences.
You can download a PDF of the bishops’ letter to Prime Minster Boris Johnson copied to the COP26 president, the Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP, below.