Christian leaders urge Prime Minister to stop oil field

400 UK Christian and charity leaders urge PM Rishi Sunak to halt Rosebank oil field, echoing Pope Francis' climate urgency. Writer Ellen Teague stresses the moral imperative and immediate need for climate action.

Columbans lobbying against fossil fuels at Westminster
Columbans lobbying against fossil fuels at Westminster

More than 400 Christian and charity leaders from around the UK have called on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to cancel the Rosebank oil field. Located off the Scottish coast, critics said its possible production of up to 300 million barrels of oil will harm climate change targets. 

Signatories to an open letter of 5 October include Archbishop William Nolan of Glasgow and former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams. Church leaders and Christian charities say they are taking moral leadership for Rosebank, “will not provide energy security, uphold our obligations to care for our global neighbours or create sustainable jobs fit for the green energy future we need”. Rowan Williams said: “We need to remember that postponing action on the climate is not a neutral matter but makes the problem more acute. Do we want to leave the next generation with a challenge even more hard and costly than the one we face today?”

Other signatories include Bishop Terence Drainey of Middlesbrough, Dr James Trewby of the Columban Missionaries, Columban Sister Kate Midgley of the Laudato Si Animators, Fr Chris Hughes, Chair of the Hexham and Newcastle Diocesan Environmental Group, and Jennifer Larbie, Head of UK Advocacy and Campaigns at Christian Aid. 

The letter of 5 October came a day after Pope Francis issued a papal document, pushing back against climate denial, defending climate protestors and calling for decisive action as ‘the world in which we live is collapsing and may be near breaking point’. The open letter states, ‘Your government will know that both the International Energy Agency and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have been clear that we cannot afford to burn all the oil and gas from existing fossil fuel developments, let alone from new ones, and still limit global heating to 1.5°C’. 

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