Church of England launches climate justice fund

Count the cost of your carbon footprint for the sake of the developing world is the message from the Church of England’s Climate Justice Fund launched last week with support from the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Government’s Department of Energy and Climate Change, DECC.

The web-based resource is managed by aid agency Tearfund and has been launched to help churches and individuals to calculate their carbon footprint and compare it with what is considered to be their ‘fair share’ of emissions.

Any additional carbon usage will be calculated into a financial equivalent. Churches and individuals can then opt to pay this amount into a unique fund supporting Anglican churches in developing countries to help their communities adapt to the effects of climate change.

The Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Rev James Jones, said: “The Climate Justice Fund gets its income from those saving money by reducing their carbon footprint and gives it to those who are struggling to cope because of climate change.

"Instead of waiting for Governments to come up with an international agreement we can take power into our own hands and start making a difference.

"In a world where some emit 20 tons of carbon into the atmosphere each year and others emit less than a tenth of a ton there is no climate justice. We can make the world more just by joining the Climate Justice Fund.”

Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Ed Miliband, said: “Communities around the world know that climate change isn’t an issue for future generations, it’s an issue for now. At the heart of the Climate Justice Fund is the knowledge that every one of us can make a difference, whether from helping individuals or demanding an ambitious agreement when the world gathers in Copenhagen this December.”

The Fund will support Anglican dioceses in Africa to respond to disasters caused by climate change, such as flooding. It will also support work to develop sustainable agricultural methods in areas where changes to the climate have affected crops, as well as funding reforestation and development of environmentally sustainable cooking methods.

The Bishop of London, the Rt Rev Richard Chartres, chair of Shrinking the Footprint, said: “The launch of the Climate Justice Fund as part of Shrinking the Footprint, the Church of England's national environmental campaign, is yet further evidence that for the Church environmentalism is more than just about saving money by changing a few light bulbs, welcome though that is, but a living out of that most basic Christian vocation to love our neighbour justly and sustainably in the 21st century.

"The Climate Justice Fund shows the capacity of the Church to behave and communicate symbolically in a way that will hopefully enlarge the room for political manoeuvre and heighten public consciousness as to the challenges that we face by an ever changing climate."

The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd John Pritchard, welcomed the launch of the Fund: “Climate change is something we have been discussing a great deal in Oxford Diocese. The launch of the Fund is a significant statement in the run-up to the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit in December. It’s easy to take part and the effects on the ground will be real and long-lasting: it is another brick in the wall that says we must stop climate chaos.”