Climate change is one of the most important and pressing issues facing our society and how we address it will affect how we live, work and travel. As Christians we believe that the Bible sets out a strong theological argument why Christians should care about climate change and creation care, perhaps more than any other group.

The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” Genesis 2:15

As Christians we believe that there is a clear biblical mandate to care for creation. God has given human beings a unique responsibility to act in a way that looks after and looks out for His creation. We are called to be stewards and take care of the earth that God has given us. 

The second is this: You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Matthew 12:31


Christians also believe that there is a clear biblical mandate to love our neighbours. We know that our neighbours are not just the people living on our street but people across the world. Thinking about the impact of our actions, such as what we buy, what we eat or what we wear, on our neighbours in other parts of the world is an important part of our responsibility to act compassionately towards others and respectfully towards future generations. 

Whoever claims to live in Him must live as Jesus did.” 1 John 2:6

And finally, as Christians we believe that there is a clear biblical mandate to strive to be more like Jesus, embodying His characteristics and compassion for God’s people and God’s earth. Jesus was not greedy, nor selfish, nor wasteful, and these are not characteristics that we should be adopting in our lives today. 

What does this Climate Change Bill hope to achieve?

The Climate Change Bill that has recently come before the Northern Ireland (NI) Assembly was introduced by Claire Bailey of the Green Party and supported by a wide range of MLAs from other parties and organisations from Tearfund to the RSPB. It sets out a framework to mitigate the effects of climate change in the coming years.

This includes declaring a climate emergency, reducing the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere and balancing the amount removed by our industries and through energy use.

The Bill proposes several mechanisms to help achieve its aims including establishment of climate action plans across various sectors and regular reporting to monitor progress in terms of delivering a net-zero target by 2045.

What was in our response?

We submitted a response to the public consultation which closed on Friday, 16 July, in which we broadly welcomed government action to deliver on the new decade, new approach’, which promises to tackle the climate crisis. In the response, we outlined what we welcomed within the Bill and some of our concerns concerns, and we highlighted some of the ways that churches and Christian organisations are responding to climate change.

What we welcomed within the Bill:

  • We welcome the sense of urgency to redress damage caused to our climate.
  • We welcome the introduction of government policy that meets the commitments of the international Paris Agreement in 2015 and the national New Decade New Approach promises of 2020.
  • We welcome the commitment to radical change in consumptive lifestyles and the duty to live less wasteful and more sustainable lives.
  • We welcome the introduction of a climate commissioner to monitor and report on the issue which will keep the Executive accountable for making good on its commitments.

Some of our concerns:

  • There is a real risk that the Northern Ireland Assembly is confusing matters by proposing two Climate Change Bills – one proposed by MLA Claire Bailey and one by the minister for environment, Edwin Poots.
  • It would be helpful to provide more detail and costings to assess whether this ambitious Bill is practically achievable.
  • As agriculture is the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases here, this Bill may disproportionately impact on the agricultural economy and farming community. It is clear that many agricultural practices are changing and will need to change in the years ahead to become more sustainable (as they were for thousands of years before the past century) but it is important to work closely with this sector. The Ulster Farmers Union opposed this Bill and it would be important to understand its concerns and where common ground could be forged if real change is to be made.
  • It would be helpful to understand why this Bill set a net zero target by 2045 when the Committee on Climate Change NI recommends an 82 per cent cut by 2050.

Some ways that churches and Christian organisations are responding:

Finally, the Evangelical Alliance has recently carried out research on Christians, creation and the climate, which asks, how do attitudes to climate change vary between church members and church leaders across the UK? The full research will be published later in 2021 in the run up to COP26 (United Nations Climate Summit in Glasgow in November 2021). The research found that the majority of Christians believe that creation care should be part of our worship and that many churches are acting but we could do more. Keep an eye out for the full report later in the year.

As Christians we have no doubt, that the Bible encourages us to take care of God’s creation, and for that reason we think it was essential to respond to this consultation on behalf of our members and the wider Christian community. We are encouraged to see that many churches are taking the initiative in creation care, and we’d love to hear about any ways that churches in Northern Ireland are looking after the world around us. Get in touch at nireland@​eauk.​org to tell us about all the ways you are choosing more eco-friendly policies and how your church is going green.