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World News

Ash Wednesday: Activists launch 10-day climate vigil outside Parliament

by Heather Preston

Christian climate activists began a ten-day prayer vigil outside Westminster on Wednesday, to declare "no faith in fossil fuels."

To mark the start of Lent, members of Christian Aid, Arocha, Cafod, Christian Climate Action, Green Christian, JPIT, Operation Noah, the Salvation Army, and Tearfund took to the Houses of Parliament to host ten days of 24-hour prayer for climate justice.

The vigil gives Christians the opportunity to pray for creation and our global neighbours and bear witness to the climate crisis, highlighting the negative impact of fossil fuels.

Jennifer Larbie is Head of UK Advocacy and Campaigns for Christian Aid, she told Premier immediate action is required: "Richer, polluting nations need to stop fossil fuel extraction - that is to keep fossil fuels in the ground. We need to be able to consign oil and gas to history and that will require no more exploration of oil and gas around the world."

Larbie says wealthier polluting nations have a responsibility to financially support developing countries who are on the "front line of the impact of climate change", to help them adapt and repair the damage caused by rising temperatures and other climate factors.

Naming Britain as one of the largest historical emitters of carbon, campaigners are calling on the UK government to uphold its moral and historic duty to tackle climate change and take action in three main areas:

1. Make the UK's biggest polluters pay for climate action.

2. Deliver and build on the UK's international climate finance pledges and pay into the UN's Loss & Damage Fund

3. Ban new UK-based fossil fuel projects.

Speaking to Premier, Larbie says she hopes the ten-day vigil will stir policy makers to take action: "[The Vigil] demonstrates the strength of feeling amongst the Christian Aid community and the general public, that something needs to be done right now, to stop the worst impacts of climate change affecting communities around the world.

"We are hopeful that by taking really committed and extreme action, policy makers and government ministers will finally wake up, hear what we're saying and implement the policies that we are advocating for."

The event began with an interdenominational Christian service at St John's Church, Waterloo before attendees made their way to Parliament to start the vigil.

Christians can register a prayer slot at the ten-day event or join in prayer from home.

The vigil will conclude with a service on 24th February.

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