Thursday, 30 April 2009

Over 500 people in Stop Climate Chaos Scotland Rally

Hundreds of people gathered on Wednesday 22 of April outside the Scottish Parliament to lobby their MSPs over a strong Climate Change Bill. Over 30 MSPs came out to meet people and participate in a sharing of ideas. Demonstrators planted small men with wishes and ideas for a cleaner environment.

Ewan Aitken Secretary of the Church and Society Council was representing The Church of Scotland at the rally as well as Adrian Shaw, from Eco-Congregation Scotland.
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Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Keep updated on Climate Change News

If you want to keep up to date with Climate Change news on a daily basis then the following web site may just be for you . You can sign up and receive a daily round up of global climate change news. The newsletter comes with various sections including one headed Faith and Environment.

Alternatively, you can read their updates, right here on our Eco-Congregation Scotland blog, since we are syndicated to Environmental Health News.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Climate change: Why should the church be interested?

The Presbytery of Gordon ~ Church and Society Committee is sponsoring a conference on climate change entitled MAKING A DIFFERENCE ~ YOUR CHURCH AND CLIMATE CHANGE. The event will take place on Saturday 25TH April 2009 9.30 am – 1.00 pm
In Kemnay Church Centre.

Adrian Shaw from the Church of Scotland, and the climate change project officer will talk about the need for congregations to understand their involvement as Christians in addressing and acting on issues of climate change. This will be followed by Alison Wisely from the SCARF/Energy Saving trust. Finally, Ruth Radcliffe, Chair of Kemnay Parish Church Green Group will talk about becoming an Eco-Congregation; calculating your church building's carbon footprint and what is required of a Christian community.

Adrian Shaw, Climate change project officer was involved yesterday at a climate change conference organised by the Presbytery of Dundee and the Church and Society Committee. The event took place in Meadowside St Paul’s Church Hall. There were further presentations by SCARF on the economic advantages of reducing your fuel consumption and by The Rev’d Valerie L Allen, Arbroath, Old and Abbey who spoke on the issues surrounding becoming an eco-congregation.

Over 50 people attended this event. The audience was able to review and comment on Draft version of Module 13 Managing your Carbon Footprint.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Know, Care, Act

The looming environmental crisis requires that Church members KNOW about Climate Change, CARE about it and then ACT to do their little bit to reduce their CO2 footprints.

The Church of Scotland’s web site is a good place to begin to build Knowledge about Climate Change. Other organisations have also very userful materials. In particular have a look at this link and all the short films in it. If congregations with the technology could be encouraged to show one film a week the their Climate Change knowledge base would increase considerably.
Thanks to Malcolm Rooney for suggesting this post.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Responding to Climate Change: Congregational committment in Scotland

Involvement in the national and international debate

To support Eco-Congregations it is proposed that the Church of Scotland engages more fully in the national debate; particularly on the implementation of the Scottish Climate Change Bill and its implications for all aspects of life in Scotland. Ministers and MSPs have welcomed the growing role of the Church and we should not be shy to develop this.

The Church is a member of the Stop Climate Chaos coalition which also includes other faith groups and environmental NGOs. The Church brings another ethical perspective to the coalition that complements the environmental and scientific expertise of groups such as WWF Scotland or RSPB. Scientists and campaigners have welcomed the growing role of the Church and, in conjunction with the SRT project, there are great opportunities to engage further with both groups.

The Conference of European Churches and World Council of Churches have identified climate change as a priority. The Church of Scotland can make a significant contribution to this international debate. The practical steps underway in Scotland and the experience we are developing means we can offer practical help and support to others and support the growing role of churches worldwide.

The first year of the project Responding to Climate Change has demonstrated the commitment and the potential that exists in the Church. Among congregations there is a concern and commitment to tackle climate change. However this is only the beginning of the work that will be needed if the Church is to fulfil its mission. It now has the opportunity to reassert its national role in leading change; in challenging and supporting congregations and communities to respond to climate change.

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Monday, 20 April 2009

Responding to Climate Change: Church of Scotland General Assembly 2009

Climate change is an ethical issue

The project Responding to Climate Change began in November 2007. Its purpose is to help the church develop an effective response to climate change, both in its own actions and in its contribution to the wider debate. The project reflects the Church’s ethical concern about climate change. This was summed up at the outset of the project by the Convener of the Church and Society Council:

The Church of Scotland is concerned that climate change poses a serious and immediate threat to people everywhere, particularly to the poor of the earth; and that climate change represents a failure in our stewardship of God’s creation. We accept the need to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases urgently to avoid dangerous and irreversible climate change; and to promote a more equitable and sustainable use of energy.

This ethical concern has informed the development of the project and remains its main driving force.

Key achievements

The work of the project is not confined to one council or committee. There has been progress across the Church. While it is not possible to cover all this work, the following paragraphs list some of the main achievement of the project to date.
Eco-Congregation Scotland

Central to the development of the project is the growth in the number of Eco-Congregations across Scotland. In November 2008 the 200th congregation in Scotland registered as an Eco–Congregation (Strathfillan in the Presbytery of Argyll). The movement also received warm congratulations from MSPs and government ministers in a debate held in the Scottish Parliament on 17 December 2008. Congregations across Scotland were encouraged by MSPs both to continue their work and to tackle climate change as a priority. The debate was a milestone and an affirmation of the importance of Eco-Congregations.

How big is your congregation’s carbon footprint?
With a grant from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) a pilot project was carried out to develop and test a simple carbon footprint tool for congregations. By keeping a close check on fuel bills and using a simple calculator congregations can now easily work out their carbon footprint. The pilot was highly successful and has led to a larger and more ambitious application to the Scottish Government Climate Challenge Fund which is described below.

Governance and finance

Eco–Congregation Scotland has developed as an informal association of congregations. This arrangement served the movement well in its early years but as the number of congregations has increased it has become clear that it is no longer adequate. For this reason the Eco-Congregation Scotland Steering Group, with the support of the Church and Society Council and the Church in Society Committee of the Scottish Episcopal Church agreed that the time was now right to establish Eco-Congregation Scotland as an independent legally constituted voluntary organisation. This is major step for any organisation and involves considerable challenges for all stakeholders. At the same time it offers the opportunity for Eco-Congregations to grow and develop to play a greater role in the life of congregations, the churches and in their local communities.

The future

It is now clear that climate change will be one of the defining global challenges of the twenty first century. Climate change represents a massive failure in our stewardship of the earth and a major contribution to poverty and social dislocation. For these reasons the Church must contribute to national and international action. By demonstrating our commitment and by taking action the Church of Scotland can take a leading role across Scotland.

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Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Reduce emissions within a sustainable development framework

Achieving climate change is truly a global endeavour. A reduction in emissions should be achieved without endangering the environment or livelihood of others. Reductions cannot be achieved by putting vulnerable people's livelihoods at risk (e.g. through replacing oil with second generation biofuels).

Mitigation and adaptation efforts must avoid negative social, economic or environmental impacts in the devloping world. Scotland could lead the world in this area by explicitely stating that it will achieve ambitious emission reduction targets whilest maintaing a committment for sustainable development.

The UK Act refers to the need to have regard to sustainable development in parts, but does not have sustainable development mainstreamed into the legislation.

Scotland should be able to demonstrate its willingness to ensure its mitigation efforts do not impact negatively on other countries.

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Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Do we need to purchase carbon credits?

What is the role of domestic consumption in cuttting down carbon emissions? Scotland can lead the world by ensuring that at least 80% of the effort to reach targets is achieved through reductions in domestic emissions rather than through the purchase of carbon credits.

It is important to really examine whether we are meeting our targets by reducing consumption, or merely through the purchase of carbon credits. Targets met through reduction of consumption means that people are really addressing issues of energy consumption in their lifestyle. If Scotland sets out a limit on the number of international credits that can be used to meet its emission reduction targets it would be the first industralised nation to do so by making evident its willingness to make deep cuts at home. A limit on the use of international credits would also help reduce the scepticism amongst developing nations that rich countries are unwilling to examine overconsumption issues prevalent in the lifestyle of their populations.

A reliance on international credits to cosmetically help us reach our emission targets merely shows our ability to buy ourselves out of a problem instead of collectively shouldering our resposibility with all other nations.

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The cartoon was done by Radu Stoita

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Edinburgh Castle joined the Earth Hour

The second posting of this blog, was about joining the Earth Hour project. Well. here is a lovely video of Edinburgh Castle, pitching in. Great to see the castle going dark. I hope you like it.

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The photograph of Edinburgh's castle was taken by Alex Morrice


Why are we doing all this? Some lovely videos

Sometimes it is easy to get so caught up in statistics, emission targets, lobbying groups, reading your meter and thinking about reducing your carbon footprint, that we might loose the plot. I found this beautiful video of nature in all its glory and I could not help but admire what we have, and renew the committment to work towards preserving our planet for the future.

The video was the opening statement at the Nature Conference in Barcelona.
Have a look at the video here.

The second video is about the connect2earth programme where young people submit environmentally orientated films for a film competition. Check out the connect2earth video here. Enjoy!

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Early statutory targets on reduction of gas emissions are a necessity

Scotland could lead the world through the establishment in statute of annual emission reductions of at least 3% year-on-year from the start not from 2020. Early and deep emission cuts are essential to meet the 2050 target. This is crucial to keep global temperatures below a 2 degrees centigrade rise. If we fail to act early, more people will suffer as a result of climate change and face possible hunger, water shortages, disease and displacement from their homes.

To establish a 3% reduction year-on-year embedded within statutory annual targets would put Scotland on an equitable trajectory, giving a certainty to early action. It would also place Scotland as the first country to recognise the importance of early action by establishing statutory annual targets.

If this early target is accepted within the Climate Change (Scotland) Bill, Scotland would be demonstrating that some developed countries recognise the urgency of deep, early cuts and would set the challenge that an ambitious 2020 target is indeed achievable by all developed nations.
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Tuesday, 7 April 2009

International Aviation & shipping emissions

The second way that Scotland could lead the world is by including in its emission targets the emissions stemming from international aviation and shipping.
It is important for each country to account for all of its emissions. All emission sources should be included in each country's targets from the outset. In Scotland, aviation is one of the fastest growing sources of emissions. If aviation and shipping emissions get included in the Climate Change Bill, Scotland will demonstrate a willingness to take responsibility for all its emissions.
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The photo of the airplane traffic jam was taken by Fuzzy Gedes

Monday, 6 April 2009

Reduction of at least 80% of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

We mentioned in our previous post that a reduction of 80% of greenhouse gas emissions from Scotland by 2050 done within the context of the Climate Change (Scotland) Bill would be the first way that Scotland can lead the world in the area of climate change. If the biil is passed it would be the first piece of climate change legislation to tackle climate change on a long term action.

It is really important that Scotland can achieve this target because it would ensure that Scotland does its fair share to tackle climate change and meets the IPCC recommendations. It is also very important becuase Scotland would therefore be actively contributing to prevent global temperatures from rising above 2 degrees centigrade.

Finally, Scotland would be demonstrating that some developed countries are willling to cut their emissions and commit to long term action on climate change. Scotland's committment would challenge other developed countries to set their own ambitious targets.

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CreditsThe Walk against Warming photograph was taken by Pierre Pouliquin

Friday, 3 April 2009

Scotland can lead the World in Climate Change

2009 is a crucial year for action on climate change. The Climate Change (Scotland) Bill has the potential to lead the world. MSPs must aim to pass the most ambitious piece of climate legislation and set a precedent for other developed countries ahead of the international talks in Copenhagen in december 2009.

The UNFCCC talks in Copenhagen are widely regarded as the last opportunity to put in place a global agreement to avoid dangerous climate change.
Scotland can lead the world through the
1) Establishment of a framework to achieve at least 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
2) Include all emissions in the targets inluding those from international aviation and shipping.
3) Establish in statute annual emission reducxtions of at least 3% year-on-year from the start, not just from 2020
4) Ensure that at least 80% of the effort to reach the targets is achieved through reductions in domestic emissions (rather than the purchase of carbon credits)
5) Be explicit that sustainable development is key to the intention and delivery of the statute.

For more information, see Stop Climate Chaos website.
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Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Managing your carbon footprint: Climate Change Module

To respond effectively to climate change congregations need to know their carbon foot print.

We have developed a new Eco-Congregation Scotland module entitled Climate change : managing your carbon footprint. It is designed to facilitate congregations to understand, calculate and manage their carbon foot print.

We need congregations to test the module and give us feedback. Please join our OPShare document network and download the document. Just send me an email to join and then you can dowload the document from our network. Alternatively, you can contact Adrian Shaw for a copy.

Will the module help you work out the carbon footprint of your church buildings? Will it encourage you to take action to manage and reduce your carbon footprint? Download our document from the OPShare network to find out.

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