Catholic environmentalists have joined calls urging the Government to address climate change, amid warnings over the recent UK heatwave.
The Bishop of Salford, John Arnold, Ellen Teague of the the Columban Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation and Dr Edward Echlin, eco-theologian and Honorary Fellow at Leeds Trinity University, have backed calls from charity Plan B Earth urging the Government to do what is “necessary” to tackle climate change.
Plan B Earth is bringing legal action against the Government’s stance on the 2050 carbon target, set under the Climate Change Act 2008.
The charity wants to bring a judicial review against Business Secretary Greg Clark over the policy. Lawyers for the charity said the Government’s decision not to amend the 2050 target was influenced by its belief a “more ambitious target was not feasible”.
Jonathan Crow QC said: “The Secretary of State’s belief that he needs to have regard to what is feasible, rather than what is necessary, betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of the scheme of the 2008 Act and must be quashed.”
Plan B, which is supported by a crowd fund, claims that by failing to revise the carbon target in line with science and the Paris Agreement, the Government is defeating the purpose of the law, which is to commit the UK to making a fair contribution to the global challenge.
Backing the call, Bishop Arnold insisted that bringing the date closer would be good for all. “Reducing the date by which we aim to meet our carbon target would have a benefit for everyone,” Bishop Arnold told The Universe. “Climate change has serious implications for our health, well-being and livelihoods. No-one will be exempt from the consequences of our failure to care for our planet, our common home. The sooner we reduce the known causes of damage the better.
“Our response to these challenges should be treated with urgency and as a priority by the Government.”
Dr Echlin warned that a continuing refusal to amend the 2050 climate change target is “deplorable and irresponsible”. “The Government should commit the UK to a leading role in the global carbon challenge. Not to do so would be injurious to younger generations” he told The Universe.
Mrs Teague said the current heatwave should not be celebrated, but viewed as a foreshadowing of the looming spectre of climate change.
“I think I’ll scream when anyone else talks about the ‘glorious’ weather,” she told The Universe. “The exceptional UK dry heat are signs of accelerating climate change. Action on climate change needs to speed up, addressing the structural and political changes that have to happen at institutional and state levels to deal with the underlying problems.”
Picture: The dry banks of March Haigh reservoir near Kirklees in West Yorkshire. (Danny Lawson/PA).