25 September 2022

Faith-based activists push for climate justice

The Australian Religious Response to Climate Change wants purposeful measures. Picture: iStock.

Jenan Taylor

1 September 2022

A multifaith climate advocacy group wants the federal government to commit to a range of meaningful climate actions in the lead up to COP 27.

The Australian Religious Response to Climate Change’s new campaign Faiths 4 Climate Justice comes ahead of the climate conference in Egypt in November.

It aims to pressure the government to rule out new coal and gas projects and restart contributions to the UN Green Climate Fund, among other measures.

ARRCC community organiser Tejopala Rawls said under the Green Climate Fund developed nations had pledged to donate US$100 billion annually to poorer countries to help them cope with the realities of climate change and shape their economies.

Despite being a key part of the 2016 Paris Agreement, the financial pledge has not yet been met, Mr Rawls said.

The Paris Agreement, a legally binding global treaty on climate change, had been adopted by 193 countries plus the European Union.

But Mr Rawls said since former Prime Minister Scott Morrison had specifically ruled out making any contributions to the pledge in 2018, Australia’s reputation had been tarnished.

Read more: ‘God is on our side’: Hope and renewal in a climate crisis

He said the ARRCC also wanted the Albanese government to support environmental justice for Indigenous Australians.

“We’re asking them to respect First Nations peoples in Australia when they try and stand up against big gas and coal, and to put more effort into the transition for communities where they’re currently dependent on coal and gas,” Mr Rawls said.

He said Faiths 4 Climate Justice was also part of a global initiative to push governments to sign a treaty to phase out fossil fuels.

The Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty would be an agreement by nations to cut their greenhouse gas emissions as well as the coal, oil and gas that they actually extracted from the ground, Mr Rawls said.

The ARRCC has also asked senior faith leaders across Australia and the Pacific to sign an open letter to Prime Minister Albanese.

As a final step before COP 27, it has also organised multifaith services around Australia and the Pacific, including at St Paul’s Cathedral and Christ Church Geelong, on October 13.

Mr Rawls said the multifaith group had started in Melbourne in 2017 and had grown to eight local groups around the country with more than 200 people organising actions within their own congregations.

The number of faith leaders who have also become involved with the ARRCC has quadrupled since it began, he said.

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