Don’t forget about the environment ahead of election, says Bishop John Arnold

After writing to the leaders of the main political parties earlier this month urging them to make environmental issues a priority, Bishop John Arnold, Lead Bishop for Environmental Issues for the Bishops’ Conference, has again expressed concern that the environment is not high on party leaders’ agendas.

He said: “Our political leaders need to demonstrate that they have grasped the urgent need to address the climate crisis by demonstrating how they will reach net zero by 2050. This and other environmental issues such as energy and food security, biodiversity and sustainability are vital not just for our communities here in England and Wales, but also for the common good globally and for future generations.”

He added: “The climate crisis has not gone away. Indeed, warming seems to be accelerating faster than previous estimates suggested.”

“Pope Francis has reminded us, time and time again, that ‘we are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental.’ I therefore urge party leaders to commit to environmental pledges, especially reducing carbon emissions, as failing to address this crisis will not only have dire consequences for the environment but also disproportionately impact poorer communities who have contributed the least to this crisis.”

Bishop Arnold also encourages voters to question their chosen candidates on environmental issues: “As Catholics, we have a duty to care for our common home. When deciding who to vote for in this election, please ask your local candidates about their plans to deliver net zero, promote biodiversity and the natural environment ensure that our common home is protected.”

The General Election is scheduled to take place on 4 July. The Bishops’ Conference has provided General Election information and guidance on seven key topics.