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Carbon emissions of churches in Wales to be calculated

14 April 2023

CHURCH IN WALES

An auditor carries out an energy audit at Newport Cathedral, last August

An auditor carries out an energy audit at Newport Cathedral, last August

THE Church in Wales will be launching the Energy Footprint Tool during its Governing Body meeting in Llandudno next week. The tool is an online calculator designed to help churches to estimate their annual carbon generation.

By entering their utility bills on the tool, churches can find out their carbon footprint, based on the energy used to heat and light their buildings, and thus work to reduce it. The tool was developed in the Church of England, after a General Synod vote in February 2020 to achieve net zero carbon by 2030 (News, 14 February 2020). The first milestone for its churches in 2023 was to start using the tool if they had not done so already (News, 3 September 2020).

Five thousand churches in England entered their information last year, yielding an estimate that the carbon footprint for church buildings was about 110,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases in 2021.

The Church in Wales has the same commitment to reaching net zero by the end of the decade. “God’s Earth is crying out for our care,” its statement of commitment says, “and if we do not urgently limit greenhouse gas emissions and the destruction of species we will permanently disfigure our common home, preventing billions of God’s children from flourishing.

“The Church in Wales recognises responsible stewardship of creation is integral to Christian discipleship and, given the urgency of the situation, commit to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions to zero as quickly as practically possible, embedding care for the natural world into all aspect of church life from worship and teaching to the sustainable management of buildings, land, and financial resources.”

The tool will be demonstrated by Dr Julia Edwards, a climate-change champion, next Thursday, the second day of the meeting.

The Archbishop of Wales, the Most Revd Andrew John, said: “Our Energy Footprint Tool is vital to us in reaching our net zero ambition as a Church. Not only does the tool instantly calculate the carbon footprint of any church building when its energy use data is entered, it will also enable us to identify and target our high energy use buildings more effectively.

“I urge all clerics and volunteers with responsibility for utility bills to use [it] to demonstrate that, collectively, we care about our use of our God-given resources.”

The meeting will include a keynote address by the Archbishop; a presentation on educational developments in Wales, in collaboration with the National Society for the Promotion of Education; another on the work of the St Padarn’s Institute; and the launch of the fourth part of new liturgy, Times and Seasons.

Also, the election of the Rt Revd Mary Stallard, Assistant Bishop in the diocese of Bangor, as the next Bishop of Llandaff will be confirmed (News, 20 January).

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