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Faith Leaders seek Climate Action

Faith leaders from across Scotland’s religious traditions have joined forces to urge the Scottish Parliament to strengthen its Climate Change Act to help stem the tide of a growing climate crisis wreaking havoc on the world’s poorest countries.

Scotland's Environment and Climate Change Secretary Roseanna Cunningham met faith leaders including SCIAF’s Bishop President Bishop Joe Toal of Motherwell at an event in Edinburgh last night (18th April) and was presented with their hard-hitting statement calling for tougher action on climate change as the Scottish Government finalises its new Climate Change Bill due to be unveiled in the summer.

The ‘Faith Communities and the Climate Change Bill’ event was hosted by Claire Baker MSP and organised by SCIAF, Christian Aid, Tearfund Scotland and Islamic Relief in Dynamic Earth’s Ozone Suite, near the Scottish Parliament, to get the message across to politicians that Scotland must do more to save the world’s poorest people from further devastation.

SCIAF and the other charities behind the event constantly see first-hand the harrowing effects climate change is having on the poorest communities overseas and are delighted that faith leaders across the country have backed their calls urging Scotland to remain a global climate leader.

The statement, signed by around 20 leaders representing Scotland's faith communities' including our Bishop President Joseph Toal, former SCIAF President and Treasurer Archbishop Mario Conti, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland Right Rev Dr Derek Browning and Scottish Ahlul Bayt Society Engagement Director Ameed Versace, was unveiled at the event.

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It urges the Scottish Parliament to pass a “strong and ambitious Climate Change Act; one which reflects Scotland’s fair share of global efforts and one which puts Scotland firmly on the path towards an inclusive, low-carbon future in which we can all flourish”.

“As faith communities we recognise that at the sharp end of climate change are our poorest sisters and brothers, who despite doing least to cause the problem, bear the brunt of the suffering. Without urgent action, vulnerable communities are likely to be pushed further into poverty and insecurity. Future generations too will be left to suffer the consequences of our inaction,” it adds.

The statement concludes: “As faith leaders we urge politicians of all parties to show the courage needed to pass an ambitious new Climate Change Act and in doing so provide an example of strength and hope to the rest of the world.”

Our Director Alistair Dutton said he was proud to see faith leaders across the country coming together to push for a strong and ambitious Climate Change Act and hoped their intervention would spur politicians into action.

He said: “I am proud to see faith leaders come together to push for a strong and ambitious Climate Change Act. Our responsibilities to care for the planet and be good stewards of creation are essential elements of all our traditions. This way we can care for the poorest people who suffer the most, despite doing the least to cause it.”

Claire Baker MSP welcomed the “strong statement from Scotland’s faith communities”.

She added: “As the Scottish Parliament begins its scrutiny of the new Climate Change legislation we must work together to make sure it is as ambitious and focused on delivery for countries around the globe as it is for Scotland.  We must make clear our commitment to fully playing our part in ensuring climate justice for the world’s poorest countries who are most vulnerable to climate change and the devastation it can bring.’