Ecumenical News International

Churches urge Europe's leaders to build a greener economy

December 8, 2008

In advance of the EU summit this month, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Archbishop of the Church of Sweden and the Presiding Bishop of EKD have written to the President of the Council of the European Union, HE Nicolas Sarkozy, urging him to ensure that "that climate considerations are not marginalised in the search to find short and medium term solutions to immediate economic pressures."

Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop Anders Rejryd and Bishop Huber express their concern that some governments are looking to increase their allowance of carbon credits that can be bought from developing countries, rather than looking at how to decrease carbon output from within the EU. Instead, the Church leaders call for governments in the EU to take a more holistic approach to economic growth:

"The challenge of resuscitating economic growth cannot be treated in isolation from the challenges of promoting sustainable development. The choice is not between economic growth and environmental protection. ....  Our economic and environmental fortunes are inextricably linked. Working sustainably for the global common good and respecting the integrity of God's creation are not alternatives - they are one and the same. To think and act otherwise is neither 'common' nor 'good'."

The Church leaders also advocate the EU taking the opportunity of the economic downturn to build up a new, greener, economy: 

"The current financial crisis and economic recession represent less a threat and more an historic opportunity to bring about tomorrow's low carbon economy today. We are encouraged that US President-elect Barack Obama has responded to this challenge by pledging to invest $75 billion to create 5 million new 'green collar' jobs by 2020 as part of a wider package of measures on climate change. Although this pledge has yet to be realised, Europe's leaders must not retreat from taking similar action."




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