Climate Change Champion appointed
An academic who spent eight years researching and advising on climate change in the Pacific is the Church in Wales’ first Climate Change Champion.
Dr Julia Edwards (left) worked with communities directly affected by global warming in both Fiji and Papua New Guinea and advised on disaster-risk reduction strategies, as a mission partner with the Methodist Church.
In her new role as Climate Change Champion, Julia will help the Church in Wales progress its climate change agenda, working towards net zero carbon emissions. She will develop an action plan to help all parts of the Church have a framework for action.
Julia’s appointment as the Church’s first Climate Change Champion comes at a crucial time for the environment. This year the UK will co-host the UN COP26 climate conference in Glasgow when world leaders from 197 countries will set a pathway to tackle global carbon emissions.
Next week, members of the Church’s Governing Body will be asked to declare a climate emergency and to plan for the whole church to have net zero carbon emissions, ideally by 2030. They will also be asked to approve a motion for the Church’s funds to be divested from fossil fuels in an update of its Ethical Investment Policy.
Announcing Julia’s appointment, Alex Glanville, the Church’s Head of Property Services, said, “I am delighted Julia has been appointed as our new Climate Change Champion. From heating and lighting our buildings to protecting wildlife in our graveyards, environmental sustainability is now a priority for the Church. We have made progress in recent years with all of our dioceses now registered with the A Rocha UK’s ‘Eco Diocese’ scheme and many of our churches achieving its ‘Eco Church’ awards. But there is still much to be done and Julia’s role will be crucial in helping us reach our net zero carbon target.”
Julia said, “The Climate Emergency declaration and commitment to net zero carbon demonstrates the Church in Wales is serious about climate change. I am very pleased to be joining in this new role in the crucial COP26 year and at such a pivotal time when we are all being challenged to reduce our impact on the environment and live more sustainably.
“By caring for God’s creation and acting now, we are in solidarity with the most vulnerable in society who are already affected by climate change, here in Wales and elsewhere in the world.
It’s in all our hands to make a difference and I am really looking forward to supporting the Church on its net-zero-carbon journey.”
Prior to her work in Pacific, Julia was an environmental academic at universities in Wales and Edinburgh. Over the past year, she has been helping refugees as a case worker and education officer at the Welsh Refugee Council, based in Cardiff.
Governing Body Climate Emergency motion