Tearfund challenges people to a Carbon Fast

Energy and Climate Change Minister Ed Miliband will join senior Church of England bishops in calling on people to cut down on their carbon emissions instead of chocolate this Lent, which begins today.

The call will be made at the launch of development agency Tearfund’s Carbon Fast, which asks people to pledge a cut in their personal carbon use for each of the 40 days of Lent.

“Scientists warn that climate change could hit all countries hard and fast but by taking part in this carbon fast we can all reduce the size of our carbon footprints and make a difference,” says Mr Miliband.

“This initiative shows that there are plenty of ways we can make a difference that might seem like a sacrifice to begin with but can easily become part of everyday life that will help tackle dangerous climate change. I hope it will inspire people to cut carbon for Lent and keep them on a low carbon path.”

Tearfund and other aid agencies are calling on governments to step up their commitment to tackling climate change ahead of a major summit on the environment in Copenhagen in December.

They warn of the “urgent” need to reduce carbon emissions and protect poor communities that have contributed the least to climate change, yet are feeling the impact more severely than developed areas with the largest output of carbon emissions.

The Carbon Fast asks people to carry out a simple energy saving action on each of the 40 days of Lent that will help them gradually lower their carbon footprint. One action challenges people to remove a light bulb from a prominent place in the home and live without it for 40 days as a constant reminder during Lent of the need to cut energy.

Taking part in the Carbon Fast will result in an estimated 25 per cent cut in average emissions over this period.

The Carbon Fast is the brainchild of the Bishop of Liverpool and Vice President of Tearfund, the Rt Rev James Jones.

He said: "God calls us to be stewards of the earth he created and to take care of the poor and vulnerable. With this in mind there is a moral imperative for those of us who emit more than our fair share of carbon, to rein in our consumption.

“The Carbon Fast is a fun and simple way to do this. Taking part in the Carbon Fast will hopefully lead to more permanent life adjustments for those who take part.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams said: "Let's try this Lent to walk more humbly, live more simply and cherish more deeply the creation of which we are only a part."

To find out more about the Carbon Fast 2009 go to www.tearfund.org/carbonfast