Thursday, 01 August 2019

Called to action on our “Climate Crisis”

UCA President Dr Deidre Palmer has urged all people of the Uniting Church to show support for the global climate strike on 20 September as Pacific nation leaders declared a climate crisis this week.

Leaders at the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) Leaders’ Summit meeting in Fiji expressed their deep concern for the lack of “comprehension, ambition or commitment” shown by developed nations to the grave consequences of climate change facing the people of the Pacific.

In a statement called the Nadi Bay Declaration, Pacific leaders called for immediate action on a ‘climate crisis’, joining the global movement declaring a global climate emergency.

The statement pointed to a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on what needed to be done to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees.

“The science warns of the real possibility that coral atoll nations could become uninhabitable as early as 2030,” the statement, read.

“By 2100, the coral atoll nations of the republic of the Marshall Islands, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Tokelau and the Maldives and many (small island developing states) could be submerged.”

Last week, UCA President Dr Deidre Palmer issued an invitation to members of the Uniting Church to participate in the global climate action on 20 September.

“We are connected to the Earth and are called to live with care and respect toward the whole Creation,” Dr Palmer said in her invitation letter.

“Climate refugees, widening deserts, polluted oceans, endangered animals and vanishing forests are signs of the suffering of our planet, and a cry for us to take compassionate action as disciples of Christ.”

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At the recent President’s Conference also held in Fiji, a statement was issued by the participants reiterating a commitment to stand with Pacific Churches, “our sisters and brothers, our friends, fellow members of the Body of Christ, the most vulnerable and most impacted, who also demonstrate great resilience, determination, hopefulness and commitment to work for change.”

Recognising the call to “costly discipleship” the Conference statement reaffirmed the need for Uniting Church members to be responsible for our own actions and to raise our voices to governments to act on climate change.

The Nadi Bay Declaration signed by nine leaders called for ceasing any new coal mining and a “decadal phase-out” for existing coal, as well as an end to fossil fuel subsidies. They also called for the provision of climate finance for vulnerable countries.

Fijian Prime Minister and chair of the Forum, Frank Bainimarama called on developed nations, especially, “our larger nations in the Pacific” to heed the call to more ambitious action ahead of another Pacific Islands Forum meeting to be held in Tuvalu from 13-16 August.

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