The Lead Bishop for the Environment, Bishop John Arnold, has written to the leaders of the main political parties as they start campaigning for the 4 July election to ask them to take environmental issues seriously in their planning. Bishop John writes:

A general election is a very important time for reflection about the future direction of our country. I want to thank you for your service in public life which is, I know, a challenging vocation.

I would like to use this opportunity to bring to your attention the views of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales about the environment.

Pope Francis has inspired Catholics, and many others, to take action on the environment, and many people will be taking environmental issues seriously in this election. In a recent document, Pope Francis repeated his very clear message to those who have the responsibility of political leadership: “What would induce anyone, at this stage, to hold on to power, only to be remembered for their inability to take action when it was urgent and necessary to do so?”

The challenge of climate change is urgent, and its effects are already being felt across the world, often affecting the most vulnerable communities who have contributed least to the crisis.

It is a challenge that can only be addressed by global co-operation, together with support for countries that are less able to afford a transition away from carbon-intensive fuels. The urgency is amplified by the realisation that previous estimates about global warming and its consequences are proving inadequate and the warming, and its effects, are accelerating faster than predicted. If this is not addressed, policies on the economy, housing, poverty will all be undermined by the physical impact of climate change.

In addition, there are other important environmental challenges for which national government shares responsibility with local government and civil society and which will be important issues for the next government.

I would like to ask whether, if your party forms or participates in the next government, you will adopt credible policies to reduce net carbon emissions to zero by 2050 and also ensure that the UK government assists poorer countries to meet their targets and obligations. And will you work with other institutions in society (such as schools and faith communities) to help them make their contributions to reducing carbon emissions and promoting a better environment?

In addition I would like to ask whether a government led by your party will provide clear international leadership in the global endeavour to reduce carbon emissions.

Please be assured of my prayers at this important time for our country.

Right Reverend John Arnold
Lead Bishop for the Environment, CBCEW
Bishop of Salford

Source :CBCEW