Archive: April 2020 - Operation Noah

April 2020 Newsletter

Posted in: Newsletters
Date posted: 25 April 2020

Read our April Newsletter

In this newsletter we pay tribute to the late Sir John Houghton, a keen supporter of Operation Noah from our inception. You are also invited to ask your church or Christian organisation to make a decision to divest from fossil fuels ahead of the next global divestment announcement for faith organisations and we have news of a new Bright Now report.

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The Church Still Needs to Lead on Action on Climate Change

Posted in: Articles, Blog, News
Date posted: 23 April 2020

A new poll has found that almost half the public believe the Government should respond with the same urgency to climate change as it has with Covid-19. Forty-eight per cent of those polled agreed with this statement, with only 28 per cent disagreeing.

The poll, which was carried out by Opinium and commissioned by the Compassion in Politics Podcast, provides a green light to the Government to take strong action to tackle the climate crisis, even as we also tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

At the same time, a YouGov poll commissioned by The Royal Society of Arts, found that only nine per cent of the population want life to return to normal after lockdown. The overwhelming majority, 85 per cent, would like us to learn from lockdown and retain some of the personal and social changes we have gained, such as cleaner air, stronger communities and seeing more wildlife.

Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the RSA, said: ‘Amid the awful news and general doom, we must use this time to imagine a better future. This poll shows that the British people are increasingly aware that the health of people and planet are inseparable and it’s time for radical environmental, social, political and economic change.’

At Operation Noah we believe the Church, as stewards of creation, needs to lead on taking drastic action on climate change. The pandemic, and subsequent lockdown in many countries, is estimated to reduce global carbon emissions by 5.5 per cent in 2020, yet scientists are calling for cuts of 7.6 per cent every year to keep global average temperatures from rising above 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Clearly, we have a long way to go. We have joined a number of other organisations in calling for a ‘Just Recovery’ from Covid-19 which puts the welfare of people and planet at its heart. Individuals can also sign up to this call – will you join us?

Sir John Houghton (1931-2020)

Posted in: News

The eminent meteorologist, climate change expert and Christian, Sir John Houghton, has died at the age of 88 of suspected Covid-19. Sir John was a Patron of Operation Noah.

Among many achievements, he was co-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) scientific assessment working group and lead editor of the first three IPCC reports. In December 2007 he received the Nobel Peace Prize as part of the IPCC delegation, alongside the former vice-president of the United States of America, Al Gore. He was also professor in atmospheric physics at the University of Oxford and Chief Executive of the Met Office.

Sir John firmly believed that faith and science belong together. He founded the John Ray Initiative (JRI), an organisation connecting environment, science and Christianity, in 1998.

Paul Bodenham, Operation Noah founder, recalls: ‘John spent many hours, over many years, touring churches in Britain and the United States, making the case for Christians to act on climate change. It was a ministry in which he was quietly tenacious, and I was struck by the integrity with which he spoke, fully both a scientist and a disciple. He was opening speaker at the launch of Operation Noah in 2004, while it was still a project of Green Christian, and featured in the campaign video which followed. It is no exaggeration to say that John was instrumental in the churches in the UK finding their voice on climate change.’

Sister Louisa Poole, an Operation Noah Board Member, said: ‘We owe him a lot in being the first scientist who took a public stand. He supported Operation Noah hugely, often mentioned us, and tirelessly appeared to speak to groups large and small.’

In a moving tribute on Twitter, Sir John’s granddaughter, Hannah Malcolm, quoted him as saying of his time at university: ‘Science was a voyage of discovery to the way the universe worked, and it was God’s universe, then it was studying the works of God, and that’s something that stuck with me.’

She also said: ‘My… consistent memory will be his deep faith that he was doing work in service of the God he loved, and in service of the world he loved.’

The Church Times has republished an interview with Sir John, which took place in 2013 at the time of the publication of his autobiography In the Eye of the Storm.

Here at Operation Noah our thoughts and prayers are with Sir John’s family at this time.

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