Climate change resolution 2008

The NSW/ACT Synod Standing Committee passed a climate change resolution on Saturday 22nd November 2008.  Among other things, it commits the Synod to:

  • Conduct a feasibility of reducing greenhouse gas emissions at the Synod offices, with a view to setting an emission reduction target in 2010
  • Integrate ‘creation care’ into all aspects of its life
  • Advocate to governments for action on climate change
  • Support and provide resources for congregations to reduce their carbon footprint and integrate ‘creation care’ into their worship, witness and service

The full resolution:

That the Synod Standing Committee, on referral from the Synod,

(i) note

(a) the overwhelming scientific consensus that human activity is responsible for rapid climate change

(b) that climate change is already occurring at an accelerating rate

(c) that climate change is already impacting severely on communities in low lying regions across the globe, as well as in drought-prone and storm-prone regions

(d) that rapid climate change will have devastating effects on the world’s ecosystems and that the world’s poorest people will continue to bear the brunt of those effects

(e) that any increase of more than 2° above pre-industrial temperatures carries a significant risk of catastrophic, runaway climate change that cannot be reversed

(f) that Australia is the industrialised nation with the highest per-capita greenhouse gas emissions and also one of the world’s wealthiest nations, both of which morally require Australia to urgently address its disproportionate responsibility for the climate crisis

(g) previous Synod and Assembly resolutions relating to ecological sustainability and climate change

(h) that a commitment to ecological sustainability is an essential part of the church’s discipleship

(ii) commit to

(a) Mapping a baseline for green house gas emissions of its 222 Pitt Street operations and undertaking a feasibility study of cuts of 20%, 40% and 60% by 2020, with the view to setting an emission reduction target at the 2010 Synod meeting in light of the 2°c limit

(b) integrating ‘creation care’ into all aspects of its worship, witness and service

(c) advocating to governments for rapid and just transitions to a post-carbon economy, with specific emissions cuts guided by the 2°c limit

(d) reporting back to the Synod in 2010 on progress regarding 2a, b and c

(iii) request

(a) all the boards, agencies and schools

* establish current carbon emission levels
* establish targets for carbon emission levels in light of relevant legislative, regulatory guidelines and targets (noting particularly the 2°c target)
* identify the cost of achieving the determined targets and ensure that these costs are included in individual budgets
* acknowledge that the desired target for the Synod of New South Wales and the ACT is a reduction of 40% by 2020
* boards, agencies and schools report to each Synod on achievement towards these targets

(b) Uniting Resources to coordinate simple and cost-effective procurement options for congregations to take up energy efficiency and green electricity

(c) request Uniting Resources Uniting Care Social Justice and Communications Unit to develop an information programme and evaluation template to be provided to all congregations so they might consider how they can reduce their carbon footprint and integrate ‘creation care’ into all aspects of their worship, witness and service, and all Presbyteries to support them in this journey

(d) Uniting Resources to revise standards for buildings to achieve a minimum four Green Star rating for all new buildings.