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Eco ChurcH

Eco Blog by Chris Marshall (Member of our church)

As I write this, we are fast approaching the end of 2023, indeed, by the time you get to read it you will probably have seen in the New Year.

When I look back at the year it feels a long time ago that we had those hot sunny, feel good days as it seems to have rained continuously since the beginning of July, except for a lovely weekend at the beginning of October. But our weather patterns here have been nothing compared to the stark and devasting contrasts that have occurred across the world. We really are entering a period of change that has never occurred in human history. Scientists can determine changes in the climate through carbon dating and fossil records dating back thousands of years and it has been confirmed that 2023 was officially the hottest year since the end of the last Ice Age, and unfortunately global temperatures are still on the rise.

Many of the world’s poorest countries were pinning their hopes on COP28 to come up with a financial settlement to help them combat the worst effects of climate change caused by the world’s wealthiest nations and to see a commitment to phase out the use of fossil fuels. Whilst the agreement acknowledged, for the first time, the role of fossil fuel emissions in driving up temperatures, and in the biggest step forward since the Paris agreement of 2015, the hope of ‘phasing out’ their use was watered down to a ‘transition away’ from fossil fuels specifically in the energy systems but not for plastics, transport nor agriculture. The deal also does not compel countries to take action and no time scale for any of the actions has been specified.

Countries like Nigeria, Uganda and Columbia argued they needed to use revenues from the sale of coal, oil and gas to ensure they could pay for the transition to greener energy; indeed, Columbia stated that by moving away from fossil fuels credit agencies would downgrade their credit rating, meaning international loans to go green would cost them far more.  When spokespeople from even the wealthiest countries, such as Dubai, ask for compensation if they are expected to switch to alternative energy sources, where does that leave those communities in the poorest regions who have so little to start with but are paying the highest price of all.

Closer to home, The British Museum has just come under fire from environmentalist groups for signing up to a new 10 year £50 million deal with oil giant BP. The donation has been condemned by campaigners who accuse the energy company of trying to greenwash its reputation. The British Museum has said it will help make the 170 year old institution more sustainable and it will be one of the most significant cultural redevelopment projects ever undertaken. But opposers to the deal say how can you partner with a major polluter in 2023 and say you are sustainable – this really is climate denial.

Tackling climate change is so complicated and there are no easy answers. There are valid arguments on both sides but the science and data is clear, we are pushing our world to a tipping point. It seems industry and companies are looking to find sustainable solutions to many aspects of our lives so we can just carry on living as we are, depleting the world of its resources and destroying vital habitats, but maybe our thoughts, challenges or our New Years resolutions should be based around on cutting down on our wasteful consumerism and focusing on the small individual changes we can make, because it we all join together to make our voices heard we can all have a far more hopeful 2024.

Eco Church - An A Rocha UK Project

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