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Christian Aid welcomes game-changing Papal Encyclical

Christian Aid also praises Lambeth Declaration signed by Justin Welby

June 17 2015 - Christian Aid has praised Pope Francis for his call for a radical rethinking of humanity’s relationship with the earth and urged both people of faith in all walks of life, and especially politicians,  to heed his appeal for action to address climate change.

Christian Aid’s Director of Policy and Public Affairs, Christine Allen, said the intervention was a natural extension for his ministry for those in poverty.

She said: “The hallmark of Pope Francis’ ministry has been his care for the poor. You can’t claim to care for the poor and ignore climate change. Climate change is not just a scientific phenomenon, or a political football, it is a moral issue which demands an ethical response.

“To those suffering the effect of climate change and those who feel politicians are letting them down, this is a message of hope. People of faith must hear the call to stand alongside people of every nation and work together, not letting narrow self-interest or national politics block our common need. Even more than that the vision of faith calls everyone to recognise our dependence on the natural world and calls us to reassess all our actions that damage our fellow creatures.

“We’ve heard the scientists, and the economists and the politicians, it’s now time for faith leaders to speak up.  Not only is the Pope speaking to Catholics, he’s addressing the whole world.  My hope is that faith leaders of every kind will follow Pope Francis’ example and recognise that they have a crucial role to play in putting humanity back on track towards a sustainable and prosperous planet.

“What is most welcome about the Pope’s contribution is its timing.  We are the first generation to feel the effects of climate change and the last that can do something to stop it.  In a few months, nations meet in Paris to strike a global climate deal which will begin to put us on the road to a low carbon world.  It is vital that leaders respond to this by reducing carbon emissions and delivering support for vulnerable communities already suffering.

“Hopefully the Pope’s game changing intervention will light a rocket under politicians who need to show the same kind of urgency being demonstrated by the Vatican.”

Ms Allen added that Pope Francis is joining a growing movement of people concerned about the impact humans are having on the environment. 

She said: “People from all walks of life, from all political and religious persuasions, all around the world are raising these concerns.  On Wednesday thousands of people queued up outside Westminster to lobby their MP and urge them to make tackling climate change a priority.

"We need politicians to shift public investments out of fossil fuels and into low carbon energy and to encourage private investments to follow suit.”

Ms Allen also praised the intervention of Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who, along with other UK faith leaders, signed the Lambeth Declaration calling for governments to limit global warming to less than two degrees Celsius above pre industrial levels.

She said: “Climate change is our common enemy and tackling it will require people coming together to strive for the common good.  The Lambeth Declaration demonstrates just the kind of unity that will be needed on a global scale.  Politicians could do well to follow this example as they work to bring about a low carbon world. 

“Justin Welby and the other faith leaders are right to highlight the disproportionate impact climate change is having on the poor and to identify this as a matter of injustice.”

If you would like further information please contact Joe Ware on 0207 523 2418 or the 24 hour press duty phone – 07850 242950  

Notes to editors:

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 40 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.

2. Christian Aid’s core belief is that the world can and must be changed so that poverty is ended: this is what we stand for. Everything we do is about ending poverty and injustice: swiftly, effectively, sustainably. Our strategy document Partnership for Change explains how we set about this task.

3. Christian Aid is a member of ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development. 

4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter

5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid visit http://www.christianaid.org.uk

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