The Diocese of Manchester passed a motion at its March Synod declaring a climate emergency and calling for all churches to work towards achieving net zero emissions by 2030.
In passing the motion, Synod recognises the overwhelming scientific evidence that climate change is proceeding at a rapid rate, laments the devastating human and societal impacts of climate change (especially on people in the global south including our partner dioceses of Namibia and Lahore), and seeks to build on a motion passed by the General Synod of the Church of England that calls for progress towards net zero.
Some of the steps endorsed by Synod are:
- Encourage parishes, chaplaincies and other ministries to integrate Creation care into their liturgy, worship and teaching
- Plan to achieve year-on-year reductions in emissions and achieve net zero by 2030
- Encourage every church to achieve eco church accreditation and every church school to establish an environmental policy and achieve eco school accreditation
- Prioritise the use of and investment in renewable energy
- Encourage all Christians to consider their individual responsibilities and how they may change and engage in actions that safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth.
Contributors to the debate recognised that the Diocese of Manchester needs to continue to build on the progress it has made in being awarded Bronze Eco Diocese status. As it works towards achieving Silver and Gold awards, the diocese needs to take practical steps to adapt its church buildings, be well informed about climate change, and speak out about its impact.
Synod recognised the clear missional necessity of reducing our carbon footprint and paid special attention to the voices of the young people who contributed to the debate. Young people from different denominations responded to the question: “How can your church help with the climate emergency?”.
There was a clear recognition by members about the fundamental importance of striving to meet the net carbon zero target. There was also a strong sense that by acting locally and collectively we can influence others – including local and national government and other key bodies – to take more radical action.
Bishop Mark Ashcroft, the Bishop of Bolton, who leads on environmental issues for the Diocese of Manchester, said “I am thrilled that Manchester Diocesan Synod overwhelmingly supported the far-reaching motion that was put before us on the climate emergency.
“Now the hard work begins to put our words into action beginning with clear plans, a good understanding of what our carbon footprint actually is, and encouraging all churches, schools, chaplaincies and other diocesan bodies to join in the journey to net Carbon Zero. COP26 in Glasgow provides an extra incentive to step up our game on our God-given responsibility to care for the environment.”
A special Climate Sunday Service will be held at Manchester Cathedral (9 May 2021) at which participants will hear directly from people impacted by the climate crisis, and will be invited to respond by making a commitment to greater action.