St Paul’s Cathedral commits to net-zero as soon as possible

The Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, the Very Revd Dr Andreas Loewe, has written to Prime Minister Scott Morrison urging the Government to act more urgently to respond to climate change and committing St Paul’s Cathedral to reach net zero carbon emissions as soon as possible.

In a letter sent last month, Dean Andreas, writing on behalf of the Cathedral congregation and staff, said it was a matter of “gospel justice” to act decisively now in order to save the planet.

“I am writing to you on behalf of the members and my colleagues at St Paul’s Cathedral Melbourne, to express our concern at the lack of government action to address the current climate emergency,” the Dean wrote.

“During the past years, the physical effects of climate change – floods, droughts, bushfires – have increased. Not only here in Australia but also overseas. We believe that it is a matter of gospel justice to act decisively now in order to save our planet.

“At St Paul’s we have set ourselves a target to reach net zero carbon emissions as soon as possible, and certainly by 2050. We already have a good track-record in reducing our carbon footprint. Our investment in sustainable technologies to light and heat our building has reduced our carbon footprint by 14 metric tons a year. We aim to reduce our own footprint further year on year, and are encouraging our members to do the same. While we each can choose to reduce our individual carbon footprints, we can’t put a halt to the government’s investment in energy generation from fossil fuels, nor can we set Australia’s emission targets. But you can.”

Dean Andreas cited biblical references in which God places responsibility on His people to be good stewards of the planet – Jeremiah, chapter two, verse seven; Matthew 6:7 and Luke 16:19-21. He strongly encouraged Mr Morrison, who worships in a Pentecostal church in Sydney, to adopt the COP26 goals set by the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow later this year.

“These are ambitious but realistic and necessary targets. From these targets flow direct, positive outcomes. I would urge you to work with your fellow global leaders, and your cabinet, to put in place strategic and measurable goals to transition swiftly from power generation by burning fossil fuels to creating power from renewable sources.

“We not only have a duty to care for our planet but also for our fellows. Any climate policy therefore needs to take into account the most vulnerable global communities to make sure that no one gets left behind. Some of the most endangered communities, such as the Pacific Islands, are our immediate neighbours. And some of the most priceless habitats threatened by the effects of climate change, such as the Great Barrier Reef, are on our own shores.”

Dean Andreas concluded with an appeal that in order “for the last window we have to prevent irreversible damage not to close on us, we need to see wise and decisive leadership that works across national and party lines”.

“Together we can keep 1.5 degrees within reach. We are committed to working to be better stewards of God’s good creation. With your leadership and action, Australia and its global partners can do the same.”

You can read the Dean’s letter in full here.

Article originally published in the September Edition of The Melbourne Anglican.