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Climate change now a 'huge moral issue' for every religion, Irish priests say

Climate change is now a "huge moral issue" that every parish in Ireland should be helping to tack...
Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

10.36 17 Aug 2021


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Climate change now a 'huge mor...

Climate change now a 'huge moral issue' for every religion, Irish priests say

Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

10.36 17 Aug 2021


Share this article


Climate change is now a "huge moral issue" that every parish in Ireland should be helping to tackle, according to a group of Catholic priests.

They say all religions should work together to give moral leadership, find solutions and take action.

It comes in the wake of the landmark IPCC report on climate change, which was released last week.

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While experts say some of the changes are already irreversible, they say the effects can still be limited if there are "immediate, rapid and large-scale" reductions in emissions.

The Association of Catholic Priests says the report shows the need for every parish in the country to set up a climate change committee.

They say the Catholic Church should also "work with other Christian Churches and other religions to address this critical issue of our time".

Fr Seán McDonagh, co-founder of the ACP, told Newstalk Breakfast climate change is now a central issue for everyone on the planet - and religions need to play their part.

Climate change now a 'huge moral issue' for every religion, Irish priests say

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He said: “We’re now 1.1 degree warmer than we were before the industrial revolution. It’s important we address this issue - and the way to address it is for people to come together, talk about it, and decide ways of dealing with it.

“Almost every church, synagogue or mosque in the country is heated by oil - how do we change that, and get the resources to do it?

"Retrofitting houses... how many houses in this country now follow climate guidelines? Transport… how do we move that from diesel and petrol to electricity?"

Fr McDonagh stressed that changes - such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 - need to be done very quickly in order to prevent the more severe impacts of climate change.

He said: "We need to start it immediately, and do it at local level as well as national level. Having something in each parish would be a great help, I think, in that area.

“It's not just the Catholic Church… every religion. It should be done ecumenically and with other religions. I think that’s very important. This is now an important moral issue as well as an issue for our climate."

Fr McDonagh said we're already seeing the impacts of climate change - from devastating forest fires in Australia and the US to recent catastrophic flooding in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and China.

He added: "The changes are having a profound effect, and it’s important for everyone to take them seriously.”

Main image: A view of damage caused by floods in Liege, Belgium in July. Picture by: Bourguet Philippe/BePress/ABACA/ABACA/PA Images

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