Faiths 4 Climate Justice

St Mary's North Sydney


9 AM

 Plenary article 17 Oct Gill

ARRCC Banners at St Mary’s North Sydney

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What is the FAITHS 4 CLIMATE Justice Day of Action?

Faith communities across Australia from diverse traditions are engaging in two days of related events on Sunday-Monday 17th and 18th November as part of a global multi faith Day of Action for the climate. This will be two weeks from COP26 in Glasgow, early in November, when countries are expected to come to the climate negotiations with increased ambition for reducing their greenhouse pollution.

On the Sunday in Australia, communities will hoist banners challenging the federal government to do better. To the extent that COVID-safe rules allow, they will hold ‘sounding the alarm’ prayer and meditation events, with churches ringing their bells, Rabbis sounding the shofar, Imams calling the Azan and some groups holding silent Vigils to draw attention to a series of demands for climate justice. 

Early on the Monday, there will be multi-faith peaceful Vigils outside the offices of Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Special Envoy for the Great Barrier Reef Warren Entsch and many others.

So far:

  • There are 388 actions worldwide
  • People are involved from 39 countries
  • Of these actions 134 are in Australia - 14 actions on Monday outside federal politicians' offices on Monday and 120 places of worship or faith communities on Sunday. These are spread across every state and territory.



Faiths 4 Climate Justice

The Global multi-faith Year of Action for the climate has been initiated by GreenFaith International, a network spanning 14 countries including ARRCC in Australia.

Our overarching goal is to incentivise swift and ambitious action for climate justice and to challenge the influential actors.

Our commitments are expressed in a bold multi-faith statement called Sacred People, Sacred Earth. It has been signed by very prominent religious leaders including the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, and the Vatican Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, Cardinal Turkson. 

The signatories demand much stronger emissions reduction targets for wealthy countries by 2030; post-COVID economic recovery money to be spent on low carbon industries including renewables rather than fossil fuels, and that governments “must not perpetuate an outdated economic system that relies on fossil fuels and the destruction of the very forests, waters, oceans and soils that make life possible.”

The decisions and decision-makers targeted for change are different in each country, depending on which corporate or government actors are most damaging to the climate.

In Australia we are focussed on federal MPs including the PM. 


There is a widespread expectation across the climate movement that the Prime Minister will announce a target of net zero by 2050 in the next two or three weeks.

While the 2050 date has been the source of debate within the Government, the entire climate movement has been working for some months to move the debate onto action in the next decade and targets for 2030. 

This is because without much bolder targets for 2030, any action by 2050 will be well and truly too late.

The primary danger at the moment is that the PM will try to be seen to be acting while in fact delaying meaningful action by announcing a target of net zero by 2050 without a stronger 2030 target. 

There has been considerable and careful thought as to how to ask for something that is within the realms of the possible politically while still being sufficiently in line with the science so as not to be too late.

This is not at all easy to get right.

That is why after months of work the unified ask of the climate movement is for " a commitment from the Federal Government/major parties for a national plan to slash climate pollution this decade with strong targets that at minimum match our key allies the United States, the United Kingdom and trading partners such as the European Union and Japan." These targets are around the 50% mark by 2030, compared with Australia's current 2030 target of roughly half that.

The international pressure on Australia from the US and the UK has also been for this kind of bolder action by 2030. That is why our key message is about this stronger target for 2030.

Other things happening around the same time as the Day of Action

Stegall Bill back to the House

On Monday October 18 Independent MP Zali Stegall will try to re-introduce her private member’s Bill on climate policy. This has now been amended to include a target of a 60% reduction on 2005 levels by 2030. 

Environment Minister appeals against having a duty of care for children

On the same day the landmark legal case that eight children and one nun won back in May that stated that the Federal Environment Minister has a duty of care to protect future generations from harm from the climate when making decisions about environmental approvals for such things as new coal mines will return to the court. Minister Sussan Ley is appealing the decision. 

School Strike

On the Friday prior to our two days of action there will be a school strike for the climate as well.


What does the Year of Action look like in Australia?

Our long-term goal is robust federal climate policies that have bipartisan support, and our short-term goal is stronger leadership on climate change from the Prime Minister.

Actions to date

  • A Day of Action held on 11th March which involved 137 faith communities around Australia, and over 420 faith communities internationally
  • A campaign of people of faith hand-writing letters to the Prime Minister. These were sent to his office mid-September

Current Day of Action

  • A second Day of Action on 17th and 18th October called Faiths 4 Climate Justice. This will involve around 100 places of worship displaying banners with strong messages as well as vigils outside of the offices of 12 MPs and one Senator, many of them key to the climate debate (see below for the full list of elected representatives concerned). 

Ongoing until federal election

  • Multi-faith groups in a range of sensitive electorates putting pressure on their federal MPs and raising awareness in those electorates

What are we in Australia calling for?

Much bolder emissions reductions by 2030

A commitment from the Federal Government for a national plan to slash climate pollution this decade with strong targets that at minimum match our key allies the United States, the United Kingdom and trading partners such as the European Union and Japan. 

There will be around 100 churches and other places of worship hanging banners on the day and at least 70 of them will have the 2030 message on them (with the words 'Bold Climate Action by 2030 starting now'. The others will have other messages about things like renewable energy.

Investing in clean jobs

The use of post-COVID recovery spending to boost renewable energy and low carbon industries rather than funding a “gas-led recovery”. Dollar-for-dollar, investment in clean technologies creates 2 - 3 times as many jobs than investment in fossil fuel-intensive industries.

The health effects of pollution are avoided, as are threats to Indigenous sacred sites and spiritual connection to Country, Australia’s water resources and farmlands. (For references see A post-COVID Recovery for people & the earth - ARRCC).

Jobs for people in coal and gas communities
There need to be plans for regional communities, created in consultation with those communities, so that they can diversify their local economies away from their dependence on coal and gas.

Without an orderly, planned, just transition, the global decline in coal and gas industries leaves the communities with a troubled, uncertain future. Clean technologies can create thousands of jobs and these communities need to be at the front of the queue.


Fairness as a world citizen
It is fair that Australia provides substantial amounts of finance for the UN Green Climate Fund to resource neighbouring countries on the frontlines of climate impacts, in addition to the aid budget.

These countries have contributed little to the climate crisis, yet they pay the highest price for the historical pollution created by wealthy nations like Australia. Currently we are the only Annexe I (wealthy) country not contributing anything to this Fund, part of the Paris Accord.

A rapid transition to 100% renewable energy

Prime Minister Scott Morrison needs to show leadership – and that means bolder targets for 2030
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is currently hesitant to commit to a target of net zero by 2050. This in itself is badly out of touch.

The science shows us that what really matters is what we do between now and 2030, not the far-off date of 2050. The Prime Minister needs to show leadership and face this challenge.

If Australia is to do our fair share as a country, our pledge must be to have an emissions reduction target for 2030 in line with comparable countries like the US (50%) and the UK (68%) and a clear plan for reaching this target.

While a target for 2050 would be a welcome initial breaking of the political impasse within the Coalition, it will still be far too little, too late to aim only for a 2050 target without a bolder target for 2030.

The Climate Council has calculated that, on present policy settings, we will reach net zero by 2295.

We need a “Greta Thunberg level of ambition” to protect the climate.


What Australia does matters around the world

Australia is the world’s largest exporter of coal and Liquified Natural Gas and, per person, we have one of the highest carbon footprints. 

We need a plan that will contribute to global solutions, not hold the world back. 


Climate action means jobs
As President Biden says “When I think of climate change, I think of jobs.”

People in Australia need work. Investing in clean technology creates more jobs than money spent on coal or gas.  “The World Bank estimates that U.S. wind and solar creates about 13.5 jobs per million dollars of spending, and that building retrofits — energy efficiency — creates 16.7 jobs per million dollars of spending.

This is more than three times the 5.2 jobs per $1 million for oil and natural gas, and more than two times the 6.9 jobs per $1 million for coal.” See

This is an excellent guide from the Climate Council for better understanding the climate and the current economic situation. Have a good read.

We need our government to lead on creating jobs in the industries where investment creates a lot of employment - solar, wind, batteries, energy efficiency, electric cars, conservation, as well as service industries and education. 

Intensifying climate instability requires ambitious, urgent action

The intensity of climate-fuelled disasters is increasing world-wide, causing extreme human suffering. As people of faith we are united in saying that we cannot walk on the other side, worried about the cost of taking action.

The costs of not taking action are being paid by the world’s poor and younger generations. The costs will rise in lives and livelihoods, loss of habitable places to live, growing insurance costs, lost biodiversity and increasing damage to the climate.

Australian targets are considered low internationally and we are not “meeting and beating” them as the Government claims we are.

Research by Professor Hugh Saddler shows ‘most of Australia’s emissions reductions since 2005 have been due to farming activities, mainly a large fall in the amount of land-clearing.  … if the land-clearing change was excluded from national emissions accounts, Australia’s emissions have actually increased by 7% since 2005.’

People of all faiths are speaking with one voice
Even though your own tradition teaches something particular, this is a moral challenge we all share. We are speaking together because we must act together. There are over 100 faith communities involved on the Sunday.

If you'd like to join us please:

Register at

and confirm with:  
Vicky: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 
Gill: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.