Climate Change – Call on Australian Governments

Movers Catt, P

A. Australia’s endorsement of the 2015 UN Paris Climate Change Agreement (COP21) and in particular the global framework to avoid dangerous climate change caused by emissions of greenhouse gases by limiting global warming to well below 2°C and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5°C.
B. Australia’s pledge to the 2021 UN Glasgow Conference (COP26) to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, and the endorsement of this pledge by both the Coalition government at the time of the Conference and the Australian Labor Party then in Opposition.
C. That all Australian sub-national governments have also endorsed the goal of net zero emissions by 2050 or earlier.
D. That all levels of Australian government apart from WA and NT have committed to interim reductions by 2030.
E. That urgent action to keep the 1.5C goal alive was called for at COP26 with 190 countries pledging to rapidly phase down their use of coal – a pledge that was not adopted by Australia.
F. That while Australian greenhouse gas emissions in the electricity generation sector are declining, in all other sectors including transport, agriculture and resource extraction emissions continue to increase consistent with a 3C warming scenario if other countries followed similar policies and emissions trajectories.
G. That climate change is the most pressing security issue for the Pacific Island countries, communities and peoples, and the latest IPCC report confirms the urgency for global, national and local climate actions; and
H. The Pacific Island countries are among the least responsible for global warming and biodiversity loss, and are amongst the world’s most vulnerable, facing the severest consequences that will continue to worsen in years to come. The impacts of disasters such as cyclones and contaminated groundwater due to flood risk and sea level rise inundation, are already taking a toll on the Blue Pacific, coral reefs, and fish stocks and in the households of families who lack the means to move to safer ground.
This Synod:
1. understands the theological value of the natural world as a divine blessing intended by God to flourish and to be shared in harmony by human communities, and recognises that this blessing has been spoiled and abused by human greed and carelessness;
2. recognises God’s sovereign and good superintendence of his creation and acknowledges human responsibility for our stewardship of it;
3. trusts Jesus Christ as the ultimate reconciler of all things in creation, through his blood shed on the cross and looks with hope to his promised renewed creation;
4. nevertheless, laments the suffering already being endured across the world by communities facing drought, water insufficiency, loss of arable lands, destructive fire events, cyclones, floods and rising sea levels, and the increasing challenges caused by rising global temperatures, air pollution and loss of biodiversity which will be borne disproportionately by the poorest of the world’s poor;
5. calls on the Australian Government, the community and all people of faith, to support Pacific and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in their call for urgent reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases by
(i) accepting that climate change is a pressing human security challenge;
(ii) recognising the long-term activism of both Pacific national and Christian leaders on addressing climate change globally;
(iii) requesting the largest emitters and contributors, including Australia, act immediately to meet the Paris global warming target; and
(iv) providing financial support to assist affected Pacific and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to adapt and protect their lands, islands, lives and futures.
(v) encouraging Australian research into, and generous foreign aid for, mitigation, adaptability and resilience measures, especially in developing nations, because many of the impacts resulting from the changing climate are locked in for centuries (as the IPCC notes).

The Very Rev’d Dr Peter Catt moving; the Right Rev’d Dr Murray Harvey seconding

Resolution year: 2022
Resolution number: 78/18