“We have higher goals!” – Statement from The Church of Norway Bishops` Conference gathered at Svalbard, Norway, June 15th 2012.
The Church of Norway Bishops` Conference has visited Svalbard and experienced both the greatness and the vulnerability of nature. The Arctic is a barometer for the world`s climate. The dramatic climate changes are evident. During this journey the broad academic agreement regarding the consumption of fossil fuels has been confirmed as one of the causes of these changes. It is an urgent matter to reduce the world`s total greenhouse gas emissions.
The climate changes affect the poor of the world the hardest. The most vulnerable have the least of responsibility for today`s situation. The fight against the climate changes has to be balanced by the right to a worthy life. The climate crisis and the lack of energy have to be solved as one problem. The industrialized countries have to take responsibility to cut in emissions significantly.
A new international climate agreement has to come in place. While we are waiting for such an agreement, Norway has to use its economic and technological advantages to set an example.
The Norwegian government`s white paper of 26th of April, 2012, on climate efforts, confirms the severity of the situation. It was important that the Norwegian Parliament (Stortinget) the 7th of June, 2012, adopted a climate agreement with binding and specific measures.
However, the Church of Norway Bishops` Conference agree that the goals are not ambitious enough, and is critical of Norway not cutting more of the domestic emissions of green house gases. Short term, national prospect of economic gain seem to overshadow the long term and global perspectives. We have to take bolder steps than the white paper on climate efforts and the climate agreement envisages, even though it will cost more.
The Creation is a gift from God. It is to be managed, not consumed. The Bible warns us against greed and selfishness. As part of Creation human beings constitute a fellowship where we all have the right to a safe and worthy life. It is our moral obligation to strive for a just distribution.
The situation is demanding. Our Christian faith gives us hope for the future and courage to fight. God is a God of hope. The knowledge of the climate crisis carries a spur of change. If we really want change, we have the resources to find the alternatives. Together with all people of good will, we have to seek new and bold solutions. Our common commitment matters.