Climate campaigners want Church of England to bring forward zero emissions target

(Photo: Unsplash/Peregrine Communications)

Climate campaigners are holding a vigil outside the meeting of the Church of England's General Synod in London today. 

Members of Christian Climate Action (CCA) are holding the vigil in memory of "the children who have lost their lives to the climate emergency". 

The vigil coincides with a debate in Synod today to set a target for the whole of the Church of England to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2045.

"There is a climate crisis; indeed, a crisis for creation. Our response is driven by our call to mission, specifically to the fifth mark of mission," the motion states.

"This motion encourages all parts of the Church of England to recognise this and to take coordinated action toward a target of net zero by 2045.

"The urgency and significance of climate change and the degradation of the environment cannot be over-estimated." 

CCA said it wants to see the Church of England bring forward its net zero target to even earlier than 2045. 

Rev Sue Parfitt, an Anglican priest from Bristol, said, "This climate emergency will not wait for us. Every year that we delay reducing our emissions is a year that we are knowingly inflicting suffering on the world's most vulnerable people.

"As a Christian this breaks my heart. Isn't it our duty to speak out for the needy not force them into desperation?

"The fact the church is talking about improving their bare minimum 2050 target reveals they know it's not good enough and that they are currently on the wrong side of history.

"However, if they want to claim to be prophetic leaders on the greatest moral issue of the 21st century they will need to go further and faster."

Expressing his support for the vigil, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, said that "acting justly includes creating the conditions in which justice is possible".

"A world in which present generations make human well-being and equity impossible for future generations is grossly unjust: the Christian churches need to be clear in naming this for what it is and courageous in doing what can be done to set it right," he said. 

CCA has three calls to the Church of England.  One is to "be prophetic" and tell the "hard truth" in warning society "about the danger of this ecological collapse for the lives of young people". 

It also calls on the Church of England to divest from all investments in fossil fuel businesses and to "lead by example" by reducing its carbon emissions to net zero by 2025. 

"The Church at its roots is not made to merely follow the political status quo but to hold those in power to account and change society for the better," CCA said.

"We have the power to envision the leading of joyful, satisfying and just lives within the limits of our common home."