Campaigners light blue touch-paper for Copenhagen talks

03 December 2009

by Bill Bowder

Home from home: Canon Hereward Cooke, aged 70, the environmental officer for Norwich diocese, in Copen­hagen Way, in Norwich. He is to set off next Tuesday to cycle the 150 miles to Copenhagen (via the Harwich ferry), hoping to raise £2000 for Christian Aid CHRISTIAN AID

Home from home: Canon Hereward Cooke, aged 70, the environmental officer for Norwich diocese, in Copen­hagen Way, in Norwich. He is to set off next Tu...

IN THE last few days before the critical United Nations climate-change summit in Copenhagen, which starts on Monday, expect a flurry of activity — comment, sermons, marches, and exhortations to combat global warm­ing — and an occasional dissident voice.

Tomorrow, The Wave hits London, a gathering of those concerned about climate-change. All are encouraged to wear blue for what has been billed as the biggest climate protest to date. For the young, ActionAid is running “Bollocks to Poverty”; and for the fit, the London Cycling Campaign is organising bike rides.

The Archbishop of Canterbury and the RC Archbishop of West­minster, Mgr Vincent Nichols, are leading an ecumenical service with other church leaders at Westminster Central Hall at 11 a.m. And there are special services at the West London and the New London Synagogues, and a message from the Chief Rabbi.

“Flash dances aka Splashdances” will greet marchers gathering near Grosvenor Square at noon before they move off at 1 p.m. to the Houses of Parliament, where, at 3 p.m., they will surround the building “in a circle of blue”. The Mothers’ Union has offered tea at its HQ in Tufton Street to marchers at the end of the rally.

On Wednesday, the Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd John Pritchard, called on world leaders at Copen­hagen “to set aside defensive strategies and focus on leaving a world fit for our grandchildren”.

“In common with many Chris­tians, I will be praying for the par­ticipants to be brave rather than cau­tious, prophetic rather than defens­ive. There is simply no time to waste.”

The Bishop of Reading, the Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, who planned to join The Wave, said generations to come would suffer if they did nothing. “These talks in Copenhagen offer the world the chance of a better future. That is why they matter.”

Christian Aid said that now “unavoidable” climate change would cost Africa $26 billion a year. Bapt­ists, Methodist and United Reformed Church leaders said that the Government should do “everything in their power to persuade their American counterparts” at Copen­hagen to commit themselves to carbon-dioxide cuts of 40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020.

The Alliance of Religions and Conservation issued a “Statement of Faith”, and Operation Noah said that it would run daily video up­dates from the conference, featuring all the religious leaders.

Nevertheless, a survey re­leased this week suggested that about half the UK population still doubted a link between human activity and global warming.

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