Archbishop reveals personal sacrifices in combat against climate change

The Archbishop of Canterbury has said he eats less meat and no longer has a diesel car to help combat climate change as he urged global leaders to “choose life” ahead of the upcoming Cop26 conference.

The Most Rev Justin Welby said he had adjusted his own habits to live more sustainably, including also cutting back on travel.

On Tuesday Mr Welby, along with Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the leader of the Eastern Orthodox Church, released a joint statement ahead of the climate summit, saying it is a “critical moment” for the future of the planet.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Thursday, Mr Welby said: “I’ve cut back on travel.

“We, like so many people, are very involved in and committed to recycling and all that.

“I used to have an official diesel car, I no longer have that.

“We’ve cut right back on meat.

“I’d like to pretend that was entirely virtuous, it’s also something to do with health and money.”

As well as individuals, he also called on global leaders to take action.

He said: “The key phrase in this is a phrase taken from near the beginning of the Bible, The Book Of Deuteronomy: choose life.

“This is a choice between choosing life or choosing death.

“Most people in the world are behind them on this.

“This is not something that goes against public opinion.”

He added: “The Church of England in its parishes and right across the land has committed to being net zero on carbon by 2030.

“Every parish is working on this.”

Church leaders have united to call for action on climate change (John Walton/PA)
Church leaders have united to call for action on climate change (John Walton/PA)

However Mr Welby, who used to work as an executive in the oil industry, explained that the goal of the church is not pure divestment from fossil fuel companies.

He said: “In terms of our investment, we believe in engagement and not just divestment.

“Christians believe in conversion.

“We want to see companies change their behaviour.

“We’ve divested of coal because there’s no clean way forward.”