A group of 154 multi-faith religious leaders is urging the federal government to stop new coal and gas projects, starting with the controversial Adani coal mine.
The Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC) is committed to tackling what it calls the “climate emergency”.
In a letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, the leaders declare a climate emergency. They want a national target of 100 per cent renewable energy, such as solar power, by 2030.
Representing diverse faith communities from across Australia, the group says climate change is a “profoundly moral” issue. It says the nation also a “courageous leader” to create jobs in the renewable sector.
Australia has “moral responsibility” to act
The ARRCC asks the re-elected Liberal-National Coalition Government to act on three major issues.
The multi-faith leaders want the Morrison Government to:
- Stop the proposed Adani coal mine in Queensland.
- Not support any new coal and gas projects.
- Commit to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030.
Australia faces a particularly urgent task, the ARRCC claims. That’s because Australia is the world’s largest coal exporter.
We therefore have a “moral responsibility” to tackle damaging climate change driven by greenhouse gases from coal-fired power stations.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says global thermal coal use must fall by close to 60 per cent over the next 11 years to avoid dangerous 1.5 degree warming.
Renewable job potential far outweighs coal
The Morrison Coalition Government was re-elected in the May 18 federal election. Its success in Queensland was interpreted as a sign Queenslanders want the jobs promised by the proposed Adani coal mine.
However, multi-faith leaders, through the ARRCC, say a “courageous leader” could promote jobs and growth in the burgeoning renewable sector. This would then offer a viable alternative to coal-fired power.
Serious investment in solar panels and commercial solar would yield many more jobs than Adani, the group claims. It will also protect the 60,000 jobs now dependent on the health of the Great Barrier Reef.
Pushing ahead with Adani will create further drought, the ARRCC claims. That’s because the mine would take scarce water from underground aquifers, including the Great Artesian Basin.
Multi-faith leaders back school climate protests
The ARRCC also supports the thousands of school students who took part in Australia’s School Strike 4 Action campaign.
A ReachTel poll in March showed more than 50 per cent of Australians backed the students’ demands for a transition to 100 per cent clean energy by 2030.
ARRCC leaders include Christian denominations – Anglican, Catholic and Uniting Church, among others, as well as Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist leaders.
Multi-faith leaders who are signatories to the letter to the PM include Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammed, The Grand Mufti of Australia, Dr Deirdre Palmer, President, Uniting Church in Australia, and Bishop Phillip Huggins, President, National Council of Churches, Anglican Diocese of Melbourne.