The aim of the Bill is to enshrine the Paris Agreement in domestic law, by reducing global emissions to keep planetary heating within 1.5 degrees, with this country doing its fair share. This includes treating climate and nature together and ensuring that global justice is built into the solutions. A Citizen’s Assembly would have a central part in bringing in detailed policy.
This is a Private Members Bill, and supporters are hoping that it will travel the same journey as the 2008 Climate Act, which started as a Private Members Bill before being picked up by the Government. Activists from St Francis are asking Chloe Smith, MP for Norwich North, to back the Bill.
It is already ahead of expectations in that it has support from over 100 MPs, from eight different political parties. The banner drop was meant to coincide with the Second Reading, which was due to be on 26 March but the pandemic meant that Friday Parliamentary business was canceled, but the action went ahead anyway.
The idea to support this at St Francis came through the Eco Church steering group, which realised that while there needs to be a change in church and individual lifestyle, that is not going to be enough without decisive government action.
Sue Green, co-ordinator of the St Francis Eco Church Steering group, said: “I am encouraged that my local church is backing this Bill because I believe this country needs to cut carbon emissions much further and faster than is currently planned. In addition to this, the equally serious ecological crisis needs to be addressed. The CEE Bill does both of these things, making it a legal requirement that the Government act urgently.
“I am also pleased to hear of other churches and Christians in the UK doing banner drops (as well as people representing other organisations) in order to try to gain more support from MPs across the country. Christians and Churches can be hugely influential in bringing about the changes we want to see happen.”
St Francis vicar, the Revd Janet Wyer, said: “We are deeply grateful to Jim Green for getting to grips with making the banner and finding a way to display it safely – although a labour of love it’s been a lot of hard work. But to reverse the effects of climate change, much, much more hard work lies ahead for all of us – that’s why it is so important to get things moving now.
“Here at St Francis we are fully committed to doing all we can – and we want to give the Heartsease community the opportunity to join us in the push for change. We are hoping they will see the banner and the other initiatives we are launching and get involved. Together we can make a difference.”