In July 2022, General Assembly adopted an updated Environmental Policy in response to the urgency of the climate emergency. The focus of the policy is on reducing carbon emissions across the whole of church life, with the aim of reaching net zero emissions of green house gases by 2030. The most significant contributors to the URC’s carbon footprint are buildings, energy use, travel and how investments are used.
While a net zero target may seem ambitious, practically it would have a huge impact if all churches switched to renewable energy, every congregation and synod was engaging in Eco Church, plans were in place to improve the environmental performance of buildings in the Church’s care, funds were not invested in fossil fuels and, as a last resort, there was carbon offsetting of necessary travel and unavoidable fossil fuel use.
The Environmental Policy asks each part of the Church, including local churches, to develop plans for reaching net zero by 2030. The Synod environmental steering group has produced a short and accessible guide to help churches identify the key steps and actions they can take, immediately and in the longer term, to reduce their carbon emissions and to implement a path to net zero. The guide can be downloaded below. A Widgit version is also available to ensure universal accessibility.