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Brisbane Archbishop backs call for urgent action on climate change

Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge: “That’s why it’s important for Australians, including our political leaders, to hear the voice of the Pacific peoples.”

ARCHBISHOP Mark Coleridge has supported an open letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison calling for urgent action on climate change.

Archbishop Coleridge, who was among Pacific religious and political leaders who signed the letter, said “climate change in the Pacific is a matter of life and death”.

“That’s why it’s important for Australians, including our political leaders, to hear the voice of the Pacific peoples,” he said.

“As Pope Francis has said in his new encyclical letter, ‘We are all brothers and sisters’. The fate of the Pacific is our fate too.”

The letter was released in the lead-up to Mr Morrison’s participation in the virtual Climate Ambition Summit 2020, co-convened by the United Nations, United Kingdom and France in partnership with Chile and Italy.

It’s being held this weekend (December 12) as a step “on the road to the UK-hosted COP26 (UN Climate Change Conference of Parties) next November in Glasgow”.

The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age reported last weekend that Mr Morrison was about to announce that Australia would no longer rely on the use of Kyoto carryover credits from previous carbon emissions reduction targets to achieve its 2030 target.

They reported that the Prime Minister would announce the change at next weekend’s summit “(paving) the way for a reset of his government’s climate change policies”.

Up until Tuesday Mr Morrison hadn’t been allocated a speaking slot at the summit.

Cardinal John Ribat of Port Moresby and Archbishop Peter Loy Chong of Suva were among other Catholic leaders who signed the letter to the Prime Minister, along with the regional leaders of the Missionaries of the Sacred, Columbans, Passionists, Sisters of St Joseph, Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart and the Christian Brothers.

National Council of Churches president Anglican Bishop Philip Huggins supported the letter, saying Australia committing to net zero emissions by 2050 would be “a perfect Christmas gift” from Mr Morrison “in love of God and neighbour”.

Former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd and former federal Liberal leader John Hewson, former Kiribati president Anote Tong, former Tuvalu prime minister Enele Sopoaga and former Marshall Islands president Hilda Heine also were signatories.

Among other things, they asked Mr Morrison to commit to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and to abandon the plan to use Australia’s Kyoto credits.

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