The National Justice and Peace Network of England and Wales (NJPN) has joined with the Climate Coalition, in which it has members in common such as CAFOD and Columban missionaries, in refusing to support shale gas extraction in the UK. It has issued a Fracking Briefing which supports the Climate Coalition in saying: “The government has failed to demonstrate convincingly that fracking will not compromise the UK’s legally binding climate change targets, or its broader commitment to limiting global climate change to two degrees. Britain should be leading the world in shifting away from fossil fuels and towards clean and sustainable energy, rather than trying to extract ever more inaccessible fossil fuels.”
The Fracking paper was produced by the NJPN Environment Working Group, particularly by Paul Kelly from Lancaster Faith and Justice Commission, which has been involved for several years in raising awareness about plans for fracking in Lancashire. “In making this recommendation” says the statement “we are taking a moral decision that we believe is most likely to favour the common good and meet our Christian obligations founded on love of God and respect for God’s creation”.
The paper says Britain has to reduce CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050 to have any chance of preventing catastrophic climate change. “We believe following a carbon-based fuel strategy, which includes fracking, will indeed make it more difficult to reach our climate change commitments and potentially our renewable energy targets”. In the view of NJPN, fracking is distracting energy firms and governments from investing in renewable sources of energy, and encouraging continued reliance on fossil fuels. “We need a 21st century energy revolution based on efficiency and renewables, rather than increased burning of fossil fuels that will add to climate change” says the statement.
NJPN also reminds that the Catholic bishops for all continents said in a statement prior to the Paris Climate Talks: “Put an end to the fossil fuel era, and provide affordable, reliable and safe renewable energy access for all”. The NJPN supports the divestment movement which is growing in the Catholic and other Churches. It also calls for simpler lifestyles and recommends campaigns such as CAFOD’s Livesimply and renewable energy initiatives and ‘Joy in Enough’ of Green Christian.
NJPN calls on the Government at the very least to adopt the 10 key recommendations of the Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering to address the technical risks of fracking. Preserving fresh water must be a priority. The NJPN Environment group is committed to supporting reasoned faith-filled debate about fracking.
Full Fracking Briefing Paper statement available at:
NJPN Conference 21-23 July 2017 - 'A Sabbath for the Earth and the Poor - The Challenge of Pope Francis'
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