People from around the Circuit met at Heworth to hear more about the issues, to discuss and to pray in advance of the UN Climate Change Summit in Paris at the end of November/ beginning of December.
The aim of the Conference is to agree binding targets that will keep global warming to 2oC. At the moment pledges (if delivered) only seem sufficient to limit the rise to 3oC. Some fear that the consequences of even a 2oC rise will be disastrous for the global environment. (We have already seen a 1oC rise since industrialisation of the world began, most of that rise being in very recent times.)
There was a particular emphasis on our responsibility towards those who have the fewest resources to cope with the changes and tend to be hit hardest by storm, flood, drought and rising sea levels.
There was some lively debate during and after the meeting as to the best ways of tackling Global Warming, especially on the relative merits of nuclear and renewable energy sources, on the continuing use of fossil fuels but with Carbon Capture, and on the priority of reducing consumption of energy and other resources rather than focusing on alternatives. One contributor reminded us that it would take two-and-a-half worlds to provide everyone with the same level of consumption as that of the average westerner, rising to three worlds in the near future – the point being that we cannot bring everyone up to 'our' level of consumption: the long-term goal has to be the other way around.
Many people expressed disappointment at the lack of a clear lead by the UK government: at inconsistent support for renewable technologies, and lack of investment in research and development. Other nations are far ahead of us in this.
Please continue to pray for the Conference: November 30th – December 11th 2015.
You can view or download a copy of the presentation shown at the meeting here.
Other useful information about climate change and the Church's response can be found online:
The Methodist Prayer Handbook includes prayers on this topic on Day 1 and Day 25.
A prayer for our earth
All powerful God,
you are present in the universe and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love, that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with your peace, that we may live as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
O God of the poor, help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth,
so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives, that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.
Touch the hearts of those who look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united with every creature
as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle,
for justice, love and peace.
From Laudato Si.