Rowan Williams adds name to letter from celebrities addressing climate change 'hypocrisy'

Dr Rowan Williams, seen here leading climate protesters in a vigil outside St Paul's Cathedral, has been an outspoken campaigner on climate change issues(Photo: Christian Climate Action)

The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has endorsed an open letter from celebrities to the media addressing their participation in climate change protests

High profile figures to have signed the letter include Benedict Cumberbatch, Mel B, Bob Geldof, Jude Law, Ian McEwan, Sienna Miller, Daisy Lowe and Mark Rylance. 

In it, they say that journalists are "right" to call them "hypocrites" for demanding action on climate change while continuing to contribute to the problem of carbon emissions.

"Dear journalists who have called us hypocrites, you're right," the letter reads.

"We live high carbon lives and the industries that we are part of have huge carbon footprints. Like you – and everyone else – we are stuck in this fossil-fuel economy and without systemic change, our lifestyles will keep on causing climate and ecological harm." 

Despite this admission, they go on to say that they will continue to speak out on the issue. 

"The stories that you write calling us climate hypocrites will not silence us," they said.

"The media exists to tell the public the truth. Right now there has never been a more urgent need for you to educate yourselves on the CEE (Climate and Ecological Emergency) and to use your voices to reach new audiences with the truth." 

Steve Coogan, who also signed the letter, said: "Extinction Rebellion is a grassroots movement that should be applauded for putting this issue at the top of the agenda where it belongs.

"I stand in full support of these brave, determined activists who are making a statement on behalf of us all."

Sarah Lunnon, of Extinction Rebellion, welcomed the letter. 

"We are so impressed by these personalities for coming forward. It's easy to call people out for being hypocrites but that's really a distraction from the much bigger, and perhaps more confronting conversation we need to have about the unworkable system in which we live," she said.

"None of us is perfect. What matters is that more and more people are ready to talk about transforming how we relate to the planet, and we are prepared to put our liberty on the line to do so."

Christians have been taking part in the Extinction Rebellion protests in London by holding baptisms, and prayer and worship sessions in Trafalgar Square. 

Some Christians have been among those arrested

Sam Wakeling, a 34-year-old web designer and father of two from Sheffield who was arrested while protesting at City Airport, said he had to follow his conscience.

"I must follow my Christian faith and conscience to rebel," he said.