Churches challenge Government's green commitment

Churches in the UK are looking for more commitment to the environment from the Government.

The Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Church, the Quakers in Britain and the United Reformed Church have warned that the draft Energy Bill undermines the Government's commitment to meet the UK's carbon targets.

They say the Bill will encourage the construction of more coal and gas-fired power stations, which environmentalists oppose because they produce high levels of carbon emissions.

The Churches back recent recommendations from the Committee on Climate Change advising the Government to cut down on carbon-producing energy sources in order to reach the UK's carbon targets.

They pointed to a recent study by WWF-UK, which showed that the UK could achieve at least 60 per cent of electricity generation from renewable sources by 2030.

The Churches want the Bill to incorporate the Committee on Climate Change’s recommendation of a 2030 decarbonisation target.

"This Bill has far-reaching implications and puts the Government’s green credentials on trial,” said the Rev Dr Mark Wakelin, President of the Methodist Conference.

“The Government’s verbal commitments on climate change are undermined by the proposals in the draft Bill.

"It will encourage a new dash for gas, could allow new investment in coal and sets the UK up for failure on its carbon targets.”

The Churches argue that a greater commitment to sustainable, secure and affordable renewable energy will lead to the creation of more green jobs.

They have raised their concerns with Energy Secretary Ed Davey.

“A renewables-based energy system is realistic and achievable,” continued Dr Wakelin.

“But the draft Bill lacks the ambition needed to generate green jobs in the renewable energy sector.

"As Christians we believe that we are all called to protect and sustain our planet and eco-system for future generations.”