Dear Friends,

COP26 continues on. It is as if the world – minus Russia, India & China – has descended on Glasgow. It is all too easy to regard such events as pure theatre; stage managed down to the last detail, mere ‘grandstanding’ on the part of politicians, business leaders, pressure groups, charities, religious organisations & celebs of every kind, all queuing up trying to achieve their proverbial ’15 minutes of fame’. But the reality is very different. What is being discussed is deadly serious, literally so. Solemn pledges have been made, targets have been set, all awaiting the necessary policy frameworks to ensure prompt delivery. What makes this whole agenda so intriguing is it requires action at both the global and the local level. Everyone of us has a part to play if what has been promised is to be achieved. More than that, it will require a consensus to be reached which transcends traditional political rivalry in order to ensure there is the necessarily whole-hearted and wide-ranging commitment…For us as a church, there is a huge challenge. Our building stock is heated by gas. To ‘convert’ to a heating source that is at least carbon neutral, if not carbon free, is likely to require substantial financial investment. Carbon free generated electricity is easier to obtain but likely to cost more. Given that in recent years we have sought to expand the use of our buildings by making them available nearly but not quite 24/7 it means that during the winter months the heating has to be on 24/7. Then there is the possibility of installing ‘charging points’ for electric vehicles in the church car park. To be used by attendees but also offered to other local people. And then again, what about solar panels on the South facing roof of the church, and on the hall roof…And the questions we ask as a church, are questions we have to ask and answer for ourselves. How far are we prepared to go to ensure that we play our admittedly small part in the overall project. And we have to be mindful that while many of us are sufficiently well-off financially to be able to take the inevitable hit re prices etc, there will be some of us, and many others, who just won’t be able to afford to do what is being asked of them. The recent introduction of the ULEZ charge is a sign of what is yet to come re the cost of making the goal of 1.5 degrees happen as far as global warming/climate change is concerned…And as is always the case with policies which do not deliver an immediate and direct benefit, indeed policies that are unlikely to benefit any of us in our lifetime, it is all too easy to try and deflect attention away. While ‘climate change denial’ is now as outlandish as believing the earth is flat, nevertheless the point is made, why should we pay the price when others are not prepared to do so, especially when those ‘others’ are nations such as Russia, China and India? What will our contribution actually achieve? We should not, we cannot afford to allow our commitment to be compromised by the seeming short-comings of others. If we believe that this is the right, indeed the only way forward then we have to deliver, and in so doing believe that what we do is an example sufficiently challenging to change the minds of others. Naïve maybe, but it has to be.