- Published on Saturday, 10 December 2011 09:07
Catholic social justice activists have taken part in a London march urging world leaders to act decisively to tackle climate change before it is too late.
Thousands of people marched from Blackfriars Bridge along the embankment to Parliament where a rally was held ahead of this week's climate change talks in Durban, South Africa.
Members of Christian Ecology Link then walked to St Paul's Cathedral to join members of the Occupy London camp and others for choral evensong, which included prayers dedicated to the success of the Durban talks.
Climate activists camped on the foreshore of the Thames to mark rising sea levels and the millions of climate refugees being created and the Coalition Government's economic policies were criticised.
"This Government talks about being the greenest ever, yet Chancellor George Osbourne seems happy to put the planet second in his increasingly desperate efforts to bring some growth to the economy," said Ellen Teague, Catholic environmental writer and editor of the Columbans Vocations for Justice magazine.
"He threatens to slash support for renewable energies and scrap plans to increase fuel duty and provides tax subsidies for our most polluting industries – on the grounds that 'endless social and environmental goals' will cause businesses to fail.
"The Chancellor should be investing in Green technology as the governments in Germany and Japan are doing - this is where growth and jobs can be found, as well as the the overidding need to save the planet. It's time for the Government to look forward not keep going back to the type of policies that created the climate crisis in the first place."
Mrs Teague said organisations such as the Royal Society, Nasa and the Met Office, along with around 97 per cent of global scientists, believe that carbon emissions are raising global temperatures.
"If humanity cannot get its emissions to peak by 2020, there is little chance of holding down temperature rises to under 2C by 2100. Major changes to our planet will then occur, particularly severe weather which will first of impact on the poorest communities and countries around the world," said Mrs Teague.
Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, the Catholic Archbishop of Durban, said the world's political leaders were in danger of failing humanity.
"We express our displeasure with local and international political leadership which has failed to take decisive steps to make the changes required for the survival of humanity and life on earth," he said.
"We as the religious community demand that our political leaders honour previous commitments and move towards ethically responsible positions and policies."