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Church in Wales appoints first climate change role

Dr Julia Edwards, Church in Wales - Banner image

The Church in Wales has appointed a 'climate change champion' to help the church work towards net zero carbon emissions. 

Dr Julia Edwards spent eight years researching and advising on climate change in the Pacific and has worked with communities affected by global warming in Fiji and Papua New Guinea. She's also advised on disaster-risk reduction strategies and as a mission partner with the Methodist Church. 

In her new role, Dr Edwards will help the Church in Wales progress its climate change agenda. Next week, members of the Church's governing body will be asked to declare a climate emergency and plan for the 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.

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. 

Announcing the appointment, Alex Glanville, the Church's head of property services, said:  "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."

Dr Edwards said: "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, she 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.

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