2 July 2022

Australian government draws ire at Christian climate summit 

Bayswater power plant in Australian Upper Hunter Valley generating electricity from fossil fuel black coal, emitting carbon dioxide. Picture: iStock

Stephen Cauchi 

25 February 2022

A SENIOR Anglican leader has condemned the “moral and political vacuum” on climate change and the lack of Australian government leadership in an international Anglican seminar. 

Dean of Melbourne the Very Reverend Dr Andreas Loewe told the 2021 COP26 Climate Change and Christian Universities seminar that Australia had paid a heavy price for its lack of action on climate change. 

He said the current climate emergency needed a 180-degree change in direction in its approach, calling for divestment from fossil fuels. 

Read more: PM cops 600 hand-written letters from religious people on climate

Dr Loewe cited the increasing destruction of the Great Barrier Reef, the 2020 bushfires, and the severe flooding of 2021 as the price Australia was paying for its inability “to walk away from coal.”  

He said churches were one institution stepping up to defend God’s creation, in the current moral and political vacuum. 

Dr Loewe said that Jesus clearly showed that God expected those who were stewards to earn a return on what they stewarded. He said that in the parish of the talents, the servant who merely safeguarded what he had been given was punished. 

“Simply returning what has been entrusted to them is not good stewardship, Jesus’ story tells,” Dr Loewe said. 

“We are good stewards when we take care of what has been entrusted to us and make it flourish and grow.” 

Dr Loewe said that Genesis gave clear instruction to humankind that they should “fill the earth and care for it”, saying care for creation as stewards was built into the fabric of the Christian faith. 

But Dr Loewe said that humans had not been good stewards of the earth and not taken good care of it, let alone making it flourish. 

He said in the current climate emergency, humanity needed to completely change direction. 

Read more: Myths vital to understanding ‘Climate Change’

Dr Loewe said people should replace fossil fuels with power from the gifts God gave when he made the world: solar, wind, geothermal and hydro. 

He urged Christians to not only cut their own personal carbon emissions but advocate for climate action, saying Christians should vote accordingly, and contact their political representatives about the issue. 

“We need to make sure that our government acts as well. By stopping [reliance] on coal and gas for our energy, and instead harvesting solar, hydro and wind energy,” he said. 

Dr Loewe said cutting carbon emissions was also an issue of gospel justice. 

Speaking at the summit, former vice-chancellor of the University of Winchester, environmental geochemist Professor Joy Carter warned the climate crisis was very bad. 

The co-chair of the Climate Commission for UK Higher and Further Education, Professor Carter argued in favour of universities that valued truthfulness, engagement and imagination ahead of revenue.  
  
Chemist Dr Paul Wilson, the principal of Madras Christian College, India, spoke about how his school was an “innovation park” which taught “21st century survival skills” such as critical thinking, cooperation, creativity, innovation and empathy. 

He said it had also implemented  down-to-earth initiatives like a plastic-free campus, a bottle collection drive, tree planting, “green” infrastructure, restoration of native plant species, undisturbed forest patches, solar power on campus (seen at right), using biophilic (nature inspired) design in new buildings, and reducing wastewater. 
 
The seminar was held on 30 November 2021 and was featured in the February edition of the CUAC online publication Compass Points. 

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