Friday, June 17, 2016

Divesting from fossil fuels: Open letter from religious leaders

Letter seeks to draw attention to ‘the degradation of the Great Barrier Reef … principally due to global warming’

To those in public office or aspiring to it:

As leaders in a range of faith traditions, we draw attention to the wake-up call which the degradation of the Great Barrier Reef provides.

The reef is a wonder of the natural world and, to people of faith, a sign of the spiritual dimension of life. It also supports many jobs and economic benefits.

It is therefore with great sadness that we witness the irretrievable loss of parts of the reef, principally due to global warming.

Yet, within weeks of our government signing the Paris agreement, it had approved enormous new coalmines in the Galilee basin, linked to a giant coal export terminal on the reef’s doorstep. Such decisions are seriously irresponsible. They reflect an overly close relationship between our political representatives and fossil fuel industries.

So far, the election debates have failed to assign due priority to global warming. While Labor’s policies are more ambitious in some areas, Labor remains supportive of subsidies to fossil fuel companies. Neither of the major parties currently plan to wind back coal and gas mining.

We urge all those holding public office to hold in proper focus our responsibilities as signatories to the Paris agreement. There can be no more postponement of the transition to a low carbon economy. Now is the time to act.


Rt Rev Prof Stephen Pickard, executive director, Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, Charles Sturt University (Anglican)

Kim Hollow, secretary, Federation of Australian Buddhist Councils

Prof Nihal Agar, chairman, Hindu Council of Australia

Bishop George Browning, retired bishop of the Anglican diocese of Canberra-Goulburn The Great Barrier Reef: a catastrophe laid bare Read more

Julian Robertson, presiding clerk, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) Australia

Sheikh Riad Galil OAM, West Heidelberg mosque

Rabbi Jeffrey Kamins, chair, Council of Masorti Rabbis of Australia

Rabbi Jonathan Keren-Black, environmental adviser, Council of Progressive Rabbis

Rabbi Shoshana Kaminsky, former chairperson, the Rabbinic Council of Progressive Rabbis

Prof Neil Ormerod, professor of theology, Australian Catholic University

Fr Tom McDonough, deputy president, Catholic Religious Australia

Fr Claude Mostowik, Justice Network Coordinator, Catholic Religious Australia

Jacqui Remond, director, Catholic Earthcare Australia

Source: The Guardian

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