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Religious leaders urges Australian PM to show moral leadership on climate change issue

SYDNEY: Religious leaders have called upon Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to demonstrate moral leadership on climate change.

More than 150 religious leaders – including the heads of the Uniting Church in Australia, the Federation of Australian Buddhist Councils, Muslims Australia and the National Council of Churches – gathered in Sydney and issued an open letter to Mr Morrison.

They have urged the Prime Minister to make the climate change issue his number one priority.

“The climate situation is much more than a political or even a scientific issue. It is a profoundly moral one,” the letter says.

Under the banner of Australian Religious Response to Climate Change, the group calls for a ban on new coal and gas projects. They called for stopping Adani’s controversial coal mine in central Queensland and moving to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

“Despite the differences in our faith, we all regard addressing the climate emergency as our shared moral challenge. We stand together for our common home, the Earth,” the letter says.

“Will you and your government have the courage to agree to this simple threefold agenda? We pray that you will.”

Imam Ahmed Abdo, secretary of the Council of Imams NSW, said the letter was one of a number of initiatives to “make sure that we’ve got a planet that is going to be there for future generations”.

He noted that hundreds of solar panels have been installed on the roofs of mosques and Islamic centres, with recycling programs also in place.

Buddhist Council of NSW president Dr Gawaine Powell Davies said religions collectively look beyond the short term to what is of enduring importance.

“It’s very clear to all of us that what we’re seeing at the moment is a focus on the short term and the selfish rather than the longer term, and what brings true satisfaction and an enduring earth,” Dr Powell Davies told reporters.

Loreto Sister Libby Rogerson said there is a sacred responsibility to care for the earth and all living beings, especially the “vulnerable people on the frontlines of climate change”.

“This is why we feel compelled to publicly urge our leaders, who are failing in their own duty to protect Australia’s people and places, to do better,” she said in a statement.

The Grand Mufti of Australia, Ibrahim Abu Mohammed, along with senior Rabbis, bishops and theologians have also signed the letter.

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