2 March 2024

‘This can’t wait’ churches say to Australian leaders

Action against climate change calls from Melbourne Anglicans ahead of COP26.

Members of St Oswald’s Glen Iris joined people worldwide to call for climate action.

By Elspeth Kernebone

19 October 2021

MELBOURNE Anglicans have reiterated calls for urgent government action against climate change, warning Australia and its neighbours will bear the brunt of heat, flooding and sea level rise.

Members of St Oswald’s Anglican in Glen Iris unfurled banners on Sunday pushing for political action to care for creation, ahead of a major international climate summit.

Slogans such as #Thiscantwait, and #SacredPeopleSacredEarth communicated parishioners’ message on the global interfaith day of action.

Church member Barbara Loh said St Oswald’s acted out of concern about the world’s climate emergency, saying urgent action to fight emissions was vital.

Ms Loh called on Australian political leaders to divest from coal immediately.

She said greenhouse gas emissions would be devastating for Australia, and its Pacific neighbours, who would bear the brunt of sea level rising and extreme weather events.

“Kiribati, and places like that, are just losing their country. And they’re our neighbours, our nation states, and they’re going to be gone,” Ms Loh said.

“There’s no way we can say, ‘Oh we’re only a small player’, we’re absolutely not. The effect of our coal around the world is so massive.”

Ms Loh said St Oswald’s parishioners were joined by members of other faiths as they unfurled the banners, in a small COVID-safe event.

She said all agreed that creation was sacred, to be cherished rather than destroyed.

An August United Nations body the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report warned climate change was widespread, rapid and intensifying.

It said many recently observed changes in climate were unprecedented in thousands, even hundreds of thousands, of years.

It said strong and sustained reduction of emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases could limit climate change. This would improve worldwide air quality quickly, and mean global temperatures would stabilise in 20 to 30 years.

It warned that without immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, it would be impossible to limit warming to 1.5 or 2 degrees.

Intense rainfall and flooding, monsoonal changes, changing ocean ecosystems, and urban heat are among the effects warned of by the report.

The global day of action St Oswald’s participated in came ahead of the annual United Nation Conference of the Parties known as COP 26, at which countries update their plans for reducing emissions. It will be held in Glasgow, in the United Kingdom, from 31 October to 12 November.

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