Archbishop of Canterbury’s video message on climate change

December 20, 2007 at 9:45 am | Posted in Archbishop of Canterbury, Christianity, Christians, Climate action, Climate change, Justice, Lambeth Palace, Moral case, Rowan Williams, Videos, YouTube | Leave a comment

Archbishop calls climate change action a moral imperative for justice
December 19, 2007
Lambeth Palace

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, has said that the case for action on climate change is a moral as well as a practical one, challenging the world’s rich and powerful nations to act with justice toward future generations and to the world’s poorest.

In a Youtube video message, delivered to religious leaders meeting in the margins of the December 3-14 United Nations Bali Climate Change conference, Williams said that a purely acquisitive approach to the physical world goes against Christian ethical principles.

“The more we see the created order simply in relation to our own wants, our own needs, let alone our own greed and acquisitiveness, the further away we are from God,” he said, noting that justice needed to be addressed across the generations.

“[I]t’s possible for us to act unjustly in relation to future generations; to privilege our own interests and concerns over those of our children and grandchildren,” he added. “The crisis that is threatened by climate change at the moment is a crisis of that kind. We are being shown, more clearly perhaps than we could have imagined ten or twenty years ago, we are being shown how easy it is to be unjust, unfair to our children and grandchildren.”

Williams said that measures to combat climate change that impact primarily on poorer societies raise questions of global economic justice.

“The biggest challenge that faces us in terms of global policy at the moment is how we are to find ways of reducing and controlling climate change without eating into the economic aspirations, the proper aspirations of our poorest societies towards prosperity, respect and dignity,” he said, adding that such a change would involve real sacrifice.

“[T]his will mean real challenges to developed and prosperous societies; real challenges to let go of some of their security and some of their prosperity, we should be under no illusion that this will be an easy task,” he added. “We have to persuade people, and of course we have to persuade ourselves, that sacrifice is necessary and important and, at the end of the day, life-giving.

“When we meet to discuss these matters, we are reminded that we do have choices, that we can make a difference.”

The video is (also) available here.


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