Letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper from Anglicans concerned about climate change

 Prime Minister Stephen Harper
February 18, 2013

Dear Mr Harper

We are writing as people of faith (we are all members of the Anglican Church of Canada) and environmentalists (in several groups), concerned about climate change.

We see President Obama’s State of the Union address as a wake-up call for your government to act, and to act seriously. Thus we do not argue for some measures for environmental protection as a step to justify the Keystone XL Gateway Pipeline, or any expansion of the tar sands. Expert opinion, notably NASA atmospheric scientist James Hansen, warns that full exploitation of the tar sands could add so much to the load of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as to result in runaway global warming. 

Acidification of the global ocean is another dire consequence of excess CO2, as on deposit in the ocean it becomes carbonic acid, thereby affecting plankton, the source of every other breath we take. Yet the ocean continues to become more acidic, for which there is no remedy beyond geological time. 

So also we oppose the logic of looking for alternative routes to market bitumen, if the pipeline is not approved by the Americans. Instead we should move to a different energy strategy completely, featuring the safe renewables and conservation. Fossil fuel resources should be spun out in the meantime until we get there.

As Christians we believe that we have a duty of care for creation, along with the right to use the earth’s resources responsibly. “The Earth is the Lord’s” and we are tenants, not owners. 

All of us, of any faith or none, have responsibilities to future generations. We have no right either to cause the damage to the atmosphere, oceans and land that we are, or to use up a scarce, fast depleting resource, a one-time gift of Nature, not replaceable short of geologic time. 

Yours sincerely,

Phyllis Creighton, Barbara Falby, John Hill, Diane Marshall, Lynn McDonald