Faith leaders sign open letter to Prime Minister on Climate Change

28 June 2019
(L-R) Rabbi Jonathan Keren-Black, ARRCC President Thea Ormerod, President of Buddhist Council of NSW Dr Gawaine Powell-Davies, Secretary of Council of Imams of NSW Imam Ahmed Abdo, Loreto Sister Libby Rogerson. Image: ARRCC.


More than 150 religious leaders from across Australia have issued an open letter calling on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to recognise Australia’s moral responsibility to avoid climate catastrophe and halt all new coal and gas projects.

The religious leaders span the spectrum of faiths and include the heads of the National Council of Churches, Muslims Australia, the Uniting Church in Australia and the Federation of Australian Buddhist Councils as well as the Grand Mufti of Australia, Bishops, senior Rabbis and leading theologians.

The letter was organised by Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC).

“Australia is facing an unprecedented climate crisis, and stopping new fossil fuel projects like the Adani mine is a moral imperative,” said Thea Ormerod, President, ARRCC.

“Australia is the largest exporter of both coal and gas globally and one of the largest per capita polluters. We have an urgent duty to change this, and protect all life on earth”.

“As one of the world’s sunniest and windiest countries, Australia has the means to address the global climate crisis by building a strong, renewables-powered economy that benefits Australia and our overseas brothers and sisters, and cares for our common home.

“Faith leaders are so concerned about this moral challenge that they have come out in unprecedented numbers to call for climate action. Some are even willing to face arrest to stop the Adani mine,” said Ormerod.

“Climate change is hurting people in Australia and beyond, and we have a moral responsibility to put a stop to this” said Loreto Sister Libby Rogerson.

“By burning fossil fuels, and supporting new coal and gas projects, we fuel worsening extreme weather, crop failures and sea level rise, among other disasters; and we move further away from loving God and God’s Creation, and loving our neighbour.

“We have a sacred responsibility to care for the Earth and all living beings, especially the vulnerable people on the frontlines of climate change. This is why we feel compelled to publicly urge our leaders, who are failing in their own duty to protect Australia’s people and places, to do better,” said Sister Rogerson.

Dr Gawaine Powell Davies, President, Buddhist Council of New South Wales, said: “True leadership means keeping all people healthy, safe, and secure; not speeding up the decline towards a more unstable future. As the world’s largest coal exporter, Australia has a great responsibility, and great power, to address the climate crisis.”

The religious leaders also backed the demands of the school strike movement, which called on Australian leaders to stop the Adani mine, commit to no new coal or gas projects and move to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

“We appreciate that an energy transition will be challenging, and recognise the importance of ensuring that coal communities are not left behind,” said Rabbi Jonathan Keren-Black.

“But the only moral way forward is helping workers and coal communities access alternative livelihoods and access new economic opportunities. Refusing to plan for the transition from coal to renewable energy is a leadership failure that hurts us all,” said Rabbi Keren-Black.

With thanks to the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC).


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