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Commission highlights plight of environmental refugees

Brisbane's Catholic Justice and Peace Commission has said an estimated 25 million people have already been forced to leave their homes because of environmental crises such as rising sea levels.

Executive Officer Peter Arndt said the rising number of environmental refugees due to climate change and environmental degradation demands a commitment to action by Christians.

"Climate change produced by global warming is emerging as an enormous problem which will force millions of people in our Pacific neighbourhood to leave their homes and we must try to do something now to limit the impact of the problem."

The Commission says the number of environmental refugees could swell to 150 million by 2050.

"By the middle of this century, the Pacific island nation of Tuvalu (pictured) is likely to sink beneath the sea because the developed world has not learned to reduce the burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil," he said.

"We are urging Christians to change their household and transport behaviours to reduce their reliance on energy derived from fossil fuels," he said.

Mr Arndt has been part of a team presenting workshops to over 100 Catholics in the Queensland cities of Maryborough and Kingaroy.

"We are teaching people about global warming and climate change and how they can reduce their use of energy at home and in their transportation," he said.

Environmental Refugee Crisis Demands Personal Commitment (Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, Archdiocese of Brisbane 29/3/04)

States have responsibility to promote right to development (Vatican Information Service 30/3/04)
Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, Archdiocese of Brisbane
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Christians Respecting Earth And The Environment
Cool Communities Project

31 Mar 2004