Category Archives: Climate Change

Catholics Encouraged To Join Environmental Advocacy network

Monday 26 October 2009 

CJPC Climate Action 2009

CJPC Climate Action 2009

 Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission staged a public promotion for action on climate change in the centre of Brisbane as part of an International Day of Climate Action last Saturday 24 October.

Commission members and supporters held up a banner bearing the number ‘350” in Reddacliff Place in the heart of Brisbane and distributed information sheets on the importance of reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.

The number on the Commission’s banner refers to the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide which scientists say is necessary to prevent serious environmental consequences.

The Commission’s Executive officer, Peter Arndt, said that world leaders must take action to reduce the current carbon dioxide level of 389 parts per million to the safe level of 350 parts per million proposed by climate scientists. “

We are already seeing dramatic changes caused by global warming and the whole world must take decisive action to stop even more dramatic damage and change in the next few decades,” Mr Arndt said.

“We have joined with millions of other people around the world today to tell our leaders that they must agree to action which will bring about a rapid reduction in the emission of carbon dioxide into the air,” he said.

“When leaders gather in Copenhagen this December, we want them to be clearly focussed on taking action which protects the lands and homes of low-lying countries and which limits the environmental degradation and change which future generations will face,” he said.

The Commission also used the event as an opportunity to invite Catholics in the Brisbane Archdiocese to join a network committed to action and advocacy on important environmental issues such as climate change.

Mr Arndt said that the Commission wanted to support Catholics who were already active in environmental advocacy and to connect them with other Catholics who wanted to do something to promote a sustainable future for the world.

“There are many Catholics who already believe that our faith requires us to do what we can to protect the Earth and its resources,” Mr Arndt said.

“We would like to see how we can support what is already happening on the ground and develop new initiatives in which Catholics can participate,” he said.

Catholics interested in joining the Commission’s environmental advocacy network are asked to contact the Commission by e-mail at arndtp@bne.catholic.net.au, by phoning (07) 3336 9173 or by writing to the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, GPO Box 282, Brisbane Q 4001.

For further information, please contact Peter Arndt on (07) 3336 9173 or 0409 265 476.

NB This release is issued with the approval of the Commission or its Executive under the provision of its Charter which enables it to speak in its own right. The views expressed in it do not necessarily represent the views of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.

Appeal for Commitment to Stronger Climate Change Action at Pacific Island Forum

Monday 3 August 2009

Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission has called on Australia’s Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, to make a commitment to stronger action on climate change at the Pacific Island Forum meeting which will take place in Cairns this week.

The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that Australia has to take stronger action to cut greenhouse gas pollution because it has a moral responsibility to respond to the plight of its Pacific Island neighbours who are facing the consequences of global warming now.

“Many Pacific Island nations are threatened by rising sea levels which are mostly caused by the carbon pollution of developed nations like Australia,” Mr Arndt said.

“We cannot turn a blind eye to the plight of neighbours like the Carteret Islanders who are already leaving their homes because they are going under the sea,” he said.

“The Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change recommended that we cut greenhouse gas emissions by 25 to 40 percent of 1990 levels by 2020, but our Government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme commits us to much less than this,” he said.

“The Government’s scheme makes too many concessions to the biggest polluters in the country and makes it much more likely that both Australia and our Pacific neighbours will all face the most awful consequences in decades to come,” he said.

“The Prime Minister should be telling Pacific leaders meeting in Cairns this week that we will make a full-blooded commitment to making deep cuts in our greenhouse emissions within the next ten years and beyond,” he said.

“Mr Rudd should be telling them that we will encourage a rapid shift towards renewable energy,” he said.

“And he should be telling them that, as one of the countries which has been responsible for their problems, we will help them to deal with the problems they are now facing,” he said.

“The Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme will be voted on in the Federal Parliament a week after Pacific leaders meet in Cairns and it should be drastically changed to ensure that our response to the climate change crisis is adequate and realistic,” he said.

Mr Arndt said that the Commission has also urged Catholics to look for ways to respond to climate change in their own communities.

“Many parishes in our Archdiocese hosted World Youth Day pilgrims who come from Pacific Island nations seriously affected by the consequences of climate change,” Mr Arndt said.

“The Commission hopes that Catholics here will not forget their plight and take action to cut carbon pollution in their homes, parishes, schools and offices,” he said.

“We applaud what is being done by Brisbane Catholic Education and many individual schools in the Archdiocese to become more environmentally responsible,” he said.

There are also many great examples of religious congregations, parishes and individual Catholics taking action too,” he said.

“Australia’s Bishops have given us a great resource to help us in Catholic Earthcare Australia and Archbishop Bathersby, who was its inaugural Chair, has encouraged us all to be passionate about taking responsibility for the environment,” he said.

“Pope Benedict has also given us a lead by using renewable solar energy in the Vatican,” he said.

“There is much good work being done in our country and the Church, but much more needs to be done quickly if our Pacific neighbours are going to be able to deal with the consequences of climate change,” he said.

For further information, please contact Peter Arndt on (07) 3336 9173 or 0409 265 476.
NB  This release is issued with the approval of the Commission or its Executive under the provision of its Charter which enables it to speak in its own right.  The views expressed in it do not necessarily represent the views of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.

Catholics Encouraged to Take Action on Climate Change

Monday 1 June 2009

World Environment Day 2009

World Environment Day 2009

Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission has encouraged Catholics to take action on climate change as part of their faith commitment.

The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that caring for the Earth and its resources is an important part of our Christian responsibility.

The call was made with the approach of World Environment Day on 5 June.

“We must take the threat of dangerous climate change seriously,” Mr Arndt said.

“It is very easy to create doubt in people’s minds and, unfortunately, that is exactly what a number of very vocal climate change skeptics have been doing,” he said.

“It is simply not sensible to embrace the views of a handful of scientists challenging the reality of accelerated climate change  and to dismiss the collective views of several thousand climate scientists from around the world who have assessed all the data and say that climate change is happening and is a serious threat,” he said.

“Too often, we hear the skeptics pointing to limited evidence to support their case and we do not hear the substantial counter arguments from eminent climate scientists,” he said.

“With so many eminent climate scientists supporting the case for accelerated and dangerous climate change on the basis of a wealth of scientific evidence, it is prudent for us to take action now as individuals, as a country and as a global community,” he said.

“If the  scientific evidence is right, there is no time to waste,” he said.

“We have a moral responsibility to take action now to protect the interests of future generations and the whole planet,” he said.

“To ignore these predictions, based on so much scientific evidence and supported by so many climate scientists, risks leaving our grandchildren and great- grandchildren with a truly awful legacy,” he said.

“one of the greatest obstacles to action on climate change is that it requires significant changes in the way we do things as individuals and as a society,” he said.

“But we know that we can deal with change if it is needed,” he said.

“Look at the magnificent way in which people in South-East Queensland accepted the need for change when we faced a serious water crisis in the last few years,” he said.

“We cannot afford to wait for ten or twenty years to see if the climate change models of scientists start to come true because we will have gone too far down the track by then,” he said.

“We encourage Catholics to make an effort to look at all the scientific evidence and not just the limited information put forward by a handful of scientists or by others who deny the reality of  climate change,” he said.

“When people see the overwhelming evidence presented by so many respected scientists, we believe that they will seek out information on what can be done by individuals to address the threat of dangerous climate change,” he said.

“And more and more people will add their voices to those calling for governments to act quickly and effectively on climate change,” he said.

For further information, please contact Peter Arndt on (07) 3336 9173 or 0409 265 476.

NB  This release is issued with the approval of the Commission or its Executive under the provision of its Charter which enables it to speak in its own right.  The views expressed in it do not necessarily represent the views of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.

Earth Hour Should Be Followed Up

Earth Hour

Earth Hour

Monday 30 March 2009

Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission has urged Catholics to continue taking action to promote effective Government climate change policies.

The call was made following Earth Hour on Saturday 28 March when households and businesses were encouraged to turn off their lights for an hour to send a message about the need for strong and urgent action on climate change to Governments around the world.

The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that many Catholics would have joined community members around Australia by turning off their lights during Earth Hour.

“Pope Benedict, Pope John Paul II and Australia’s Bishops have encouraged Catholics to understand that caring for the earth is an important part of our faith,” Mr Arndt said.

“So, it is natural that many Catholics would have participated in Earth Hour as a way of acting to promote responsible management of our environment and earth’s resources,” he said.

“We hope that Catholics will try to continue to impress on our political leaders the need for strong action on the environment,” he said.

“Many Catholic parishes, schools and households are taking steps to reduce their contribution to the greenhouse gas pollution which has caused greatly accelerated climate change,” he said.

“Reducing use of electricity and other forms of energy, more responsible use of water and better waste management are some of the ways in which this is being done,” he said.

“We applaud these actions and encourage Catholics to continue their efforts to live more sustainably,” he said.

“However, we need Governments at all levels in Australia to develop policies which commit our nation to deeper cuts in greenhouse emissions so that our children and grandchildren will not have to deal with very serious environmental problems,” he said.

“We hope that the many Catholics who took part in Earth Hour will find the time in the coming months to keep sending messages to local MPs and the Federal and State Governments urging that strong and urgent action on climate change be taken,” he said.

“Serious long term problems like accelerated climate change will not go away but get much worse if we put them to one side to focus attention on serious short term problems like the current financial crisis,” he said.


“Governments must keep doing what is needed to effectively respond to the critical global warming problem while they are also helping people who have been caught up in the problems associated with the global financial crisis,” he said.

Mr Arndt said the Commission’s sustainability task group was working on initiatives to help parishes in their efforts to respond to the climate change crisis.

For further information, please contact Peter Arndt on (07) 3336 9173 or 0409 265 476.

NB This release is issued with the approval of the Commission or its Executive under the provision of its Charter which enables it to speak in its own right. The views expressed in it do not necessarily represent the views of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.

Garnaut ClimateChange Review Confronts Government and Church

Media Release


Monday 10 March 2008

The recently released interim report of Professor Ross Garnaut’s Climate Change Review confronts Governments and the whole Australian community with some serious challenges, according to Peter Arndt, the Executive Officer of Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission.

He said that the Church cannot ignore what the report says and that it must respond quickly and effectively along with governments and the community generally.

“Professor Garnaut tells us that the threat of dangerous climate change is much more significant than most of us realize,” Mr Arndt said.

“I think much more needs to be done to raise awareness of this in the community and amongst decision makers in all sorts of organisations in every sector of the community,” he said.

“His report also urges our Federal, State and Territory Governments to commit this year to a long-term greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of at least 60% by 2050,” he said.

“While the report suggests that even greater reductions than this may actually be necessary, Professor Garnaut believes that commitments must be made right now,” he said.

“We should all be making it clear to the Prime Minister that we want him to listen and act on this recommendation,” he said.

“The report also stresses the importance of our Federal, State and Territory Governments developing and implementing an effective emission strategy for the nation and we should also be telling Mr Rudd that we want urgent action on this too,” he said.

“Ratifying the Kyoto Protocol was a very important first step in Australia joining the international effort to effectively address the challenge of climate change, but Australia will have much more credibility in arguing for substantial global action if we practice what we preach,” he said.

“The same has to apply to the Church and individual Christians too,” he added.

“We have to add our voices to those of others in the community calling for urgent and substantial action, but we must try to get our own house in order if we are to be taken seriously,” he said.

“Church organisations, schools and parishes around the country are making an effort to become ecologically responsible communities and we need to continue to increase this commitment so that everyone in the Australian community understands that the Church is fair dinkum when it talks about the need to act urgently on climate change,” he said.

For further information, please contact Peter Arndt on (07) 3336 9173 or 0409 265 476.

NB This release is issued with the approval of the Commission or its Executive under the provision of its Charter which enables it to speak in its own right. The views expressed in it do not necessarily represent the views of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.

January 1 2008

Pope Benedict Benedict XVI’s message for the 41st World Day of Peace, to be celebrated Jan. 1, 2008.  “The Human Family, a Community of Peace,

The family needs a home, a fit environment in which to develop its proper relationships. For the human family, this home is the earth, the environment that God the Creator has given us to inhabit with creativity and responsibility. We need to care for the environment: it has been entrusted to men and women to be protected and cultivated with responsible freedom, with the good of all as a constant guiding criterion. Human beings, obviously, are of supreme worth vis-à-vis creation as a whole. Respecting the environment does not mean considering material or animal nature more important than man.

Commentary  By JOHN L. ALLEN JR. National Catholic Reporter

John Dear SJYou might also like to take some time out to read and reflect on the Prayer for Peace from John Dear SJ. John Dear is a Jesuit priest, peace activist, and the author of more than 20 books, most recently, Transfiguration (from Doubleday, with a foreword by Archbishop Tutu). Other books include You Will Be My Witnesses, Living Peace, The Questions of Jesus and Mohandas Gandhi. He has served as the director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the largest interfaith peace organization in the U.S., and after 9/11, as a coordinator of chaplains for the Red Cross at the New York Family Assistance Center. From 2002-2004, he served as pastor of four churches in New Mexico. He has traveled the war zones of the world, been arrested some 75 times for peace, and given thousands of lectures on peace across the country. He lives in the high desert of northeastern New Mexico. For information about his books, articles and speaking schedule, see: www.fatherjohndear.org

Commission Encourages Parishes to Follow Grovely Climate Change Example

Media Release

Monday 10 September 2007

Commission Encourages Parishes to Follow Grovely Climate Change Example

The Catholic Justice and Peace Commission of Brisbane has commended the Grovely Parish Social Justice Group for its Walk to Mass Sunday initiative.

The Grovely Parish Social Justice Group’s initiative, which aims to encourage parishioners to become more aware and active in relation to climate change, will take place this Sunday 16 September.

Parishioners are being encouraged to walk to Mass on the day and to take other actions in their daily lives to reduce greenhouse pollution.

The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said the Commission is very happy that parishes are continuing to take up the call to ecological conversion.

“In 2003 and 2004, parishes in Brisbane, the Gold Coast, the South Burnett and the Fraser Coast took up the challenge to respond to the climate change crisis as part of our Cool Communities Project and it is pleasing to see continuing interest in this important matter,” Mr Arndt said.

“Catholics from many parishes and schools in the Archdiocese participated in the Climate Change Conference we held in collaboration with the Social Action Office earlier this year and it is a sign that many more Catholics are starting to understand that the environmental challenges of our times are a faith issue,” he said.

The Grovely Parish Social Justice Group has produced a brochure to both explain why climate change is a faith issue and what Catholics can do in their daily lives to respond to the climate change crisis.

Why should Climate Change be a Catholic Social Justice Issue?

Mr Arndt said that the Commission is presently working on initiatives to assist parishes to become more environmentally conscious and responsible.

“In time, the Commission hopes that the call to ecological conversion will be taken seriously in practice in every part of the Archdiocese,” he said.

For further information, please contact Peter Arndt on (07) 3336 9173 or 0409 265 476.