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Bishop Poggo signs letter calling for Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty

06 June 2023

Anglican Communion Office

Bishop Poggo signs the faith leaders’ letter, flanked by the Principal of St Patrick’s Theological College in Toliara, the Very Reverend Berthier Lainirina, and the Bishop of Toamasina, the Rt Revd Jean Paul Solo.

Bishop Poggo signs the faith leaders’ letter, flanked by the Principal of St Patrick’s Theological College in Toliara, the Very Reverend Berthier Lain...

THE secretary-general of the Anglican Communion, the Rt Revd Anthony Poggo, has joined other faith leaders in signing a letter calling for a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Bishop Poggo signed the letter on Monday, after being requested to do so in a resolution passed during a plenary meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in February.

The resolution also encouraged Anglican provinces and dioceses to sign the letter “[on] behalf of the Churches and dioceses of the Communion”. So far, the only Church of England dioceses to have signed the letter are Carlisle and Sodor & Man.

Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, and Muslim groups are also among the signatories of the letter, which states: “We hail from many faiths and beliefs, but together we can remedy the decades of negligence to safeguard our coexistence with this earth.”

In total, more than 2000 civil-society organisations and 620,000 individuals, including more than 100 Nobel laureates, have endorsed the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative, which calls for a halt to all new fossil-fuel projects.

The Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative also advocates for a “fair phase-out” of existing fossil-fuel production that does not disadvantage developing economies.

The campaign was started by political leaders of the Pacific islands of Vanuatu and Tuvalu, which are under existential threat from rising sea levels.

Bishop Poggo signed the letter while in Madagascar, where he was attending the Provincial Synod of the Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean.

He said that he was “delighted” to support the campaign, and highlighted the importance of climate action for Anglicans: “Throughout the world, inspired by stories of Anglicans living in the most vulnerable states, Anglicans are active in direct action to protect the environment and also in lobbying governments and inter-governmental bodies. In doing so, we are protecting the Earth that the Lord has made.”

Last summer, during the Lambeth Conference, the Communion Forest project was launched, which aims to foster habitat renewal around the world (News, 3 August 2022).

The Anglican Alliance reports that dioceses in Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and Ireland have all launched reforestation projects under the umbrella of the Communion Forest project.

On Friday, in a speech to the Synod, Bishop Poggo said that the Anglican Communion Office should not be seen as “head office” for the Communion: “The reality is that authority within the Anglican Communion is dispersed,” he said.

“There is no centralised power base within the Anglican Communion. There is, indeed, a historic link to the Church of England; however, the Church of England is just one of the 42 provinces, and is treated in the same way as all the others.”

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