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UK should lead on climate action, Truss told

08 September 2022

Bishop of Norwich among signatories of open letter to the new PM

Diocese of Norwich

The Church of England’s lead bishop for the environment, the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham Usher

The Church of England’s lead bishop for the environment, the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham Usher

RELIGIOUS, charity, and environmental leaders have urged the new Prime Minister, Liz Truss, to uphold her duty “to create a secure, fair and green future” for the UK.

The Church of England’s lead bishop for the environment, the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham Usher, and the Bishop of Dover, the Rt Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin, are among the more than 100 signatories to an open letter to Ms Truss published by the Climate Coalition on Tuesday in partnership with the Wildlife and Countryside link.

They write: “Our vision is for a country and a world where children walk to school breathing fresh air instead of dangerous fumes, and their parents think about the future with hope instead of fear. We want brilliant engineers, builders, farmers, and local people across the UK to be supported to roll out the solutions to make our homes warmer, our transport cleaner and cheaper, and to restore our natural environment to once again be full of life. We want the UK to lead and invest in real climate action around the world.

“This vision is not the reality we are experiencing.”

The letter points to water shortages caused by record-breaking heatwaves during the summer (News, 22 July), which were fatal for some, and placed “overwhelming strain” on fire and rescue, health, and transport services, it says.

Soaring energy bills and spiralling gas prices threaten to push more people into poverty, the letter continues. “Millions of people around the world are facing catastrophic food crises and developing countries are having to divert expenditure from basic public services to respond to more frequent and intense floods, storms, wildfires, and droughts.”

Other signatories to the letter include the Archbishop of Wales, the Most Revd Andrew John; the Roman Catholic lead bishop on the environment, the Bishop of Salford, the Rt Revd John Arnold; and leaders from other denominations and faith communities, including Quakers, United Reform Church, Muslims, and Jews. The Christian charities A Rocha, Tearfund, and CAFOD, are also represented, alongside Oxfam, the Fairtrade Foundation, Save the Children, and the National Trust.

They write: “As our new Prime Minister, you have the opportunity — and duty — to create a secure, fair and green future for the United Kingdom and to ensure the UK plays its part on the world stage.”

This means “ramping up immediate support” for people who are struggling to pay their energy bills; “at least tripling well-sited renewable energy by 2030 and moving away from our expensive and unreliable dependence on gas”; reversing the decline of wildlife and protecting 30 per cent of the land and sea for nature by 2030’; and increasing support for farmers and coastal communities to transition to climate and nature-friendly farming and fisheries.

It also means securing a “nature positive global deal for biodiversity at COP15” — the United Nations biodiversity conference due to be held in Montreal, Canada, in December — and supporting communities most vulnerable to the climate crisis around the world.

These goals have the backing of both the signatories and the British public, the letter continues. “Polls show that taking action against climate change is a core concern not only for Conservative Party members, but for the overwhelming majority of the public, and that people have never been more hopeful about our power to tackle it.”

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