Midday Prayer During COP26

Wednesday 10th November 2021

We come with faith: 

and we seek understanding.

We come with doubts: 

and we seek understanding.

We come with griefs: 

and we seek understanding.

Of our own hearts and misdesirings: 

we seek understanding.

Of your ways and will: 

we seek understanding.

For pre-empting the dangers of this present darkness: 

we seek understanding.

(From https://ourcommonprayer.org/2021/05/06/climate-emergency/)

Reading: The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord. The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?” “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.” Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.

Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.” Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. 

Jonah 1:1-3, 11, 12, 17; 2:1,10; 3:1-3

On this the ninth day of COP26 the focus is on transport, so let us pray:- 

We pray for all the participants,

the decision-makers and the protestors,

the bureaucrats and the prayerful,

influencers and bankers,

for producers and consumers, 

that they may recognise the importance of transport

for linking people and nations,

 and for the sharing of resources.

May they recognise the importance of enabling 

equitable access to carbon free transport

and of rapidly removing transport modes 

that pollute and destroy life

Loving and patient God,

may your will be done.

All: Amen.

How long O Lord? 

How  many heat waves?

How many droughts?

How many floods?

How many lost coast lines?

How many before we admit our error?

Before we recognise the crisis?

How many lost penguins?

How many missing polar bears?

How many extinct butterflies?

How many disappearing swifts?

How many before we admit our error?

Before we recognise the crisis?

How many car journeys?

How many air miles? 

How many beef steaks?

How many tonnes of cement?

How many before we admit our error?

Before we recognise the crisis.

Creator God, we admit our error

and recognise the crises we have caused. 

Grant us the wisdom and determination to make amends:

To change the way we live,

To change the way we see things,

To have care for the future.


Count Down

Action 32: Rail electrification – compared with 100% in Switzerland, 55% in  France and 48% in Germany, only 38% of Britain’s railways are electrified. Trains across non electrified tracks are pulled by diesel engines enlarging Britain’s national carbon footprint.  Why not contact the Department for Transport and ask what plans there are for increasing the amount of electrified rail track in the UK? To contact the Department use this link: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/ZVVFD6/ 

Green Tau: issue 13

Reducing carbon emissions: Transport

21st August 2021

Transport in the UK (the getting from a to b and back rather than the transporting of goods) accounts for about 20% of the average person’s carbon footprint. If we are to achieve net zero by 2050, reducing – or actually zeroing – transport emissions is critical.  

There are two key means of transport which are already carbon neutral: walking and cycling. Whilst long distance walking or cycling may not be the most practical ways of getting around, they are ideal means of making all those short journeys. Approximately 60% of journeys of less than 2 miles are currently made by car. Walking and cycling are not just good for the climate, they are good for our health too!

As well as walking and cycling ourselves, we can also be active in pressing our local authority and the government to do more to support cycling with the provisions of cycle lanes, cycle parking, cycling courses, subsidised cycles for those with disabilities and for those on low incomes. Living Streets is a charity that promotes and enables walking. One of its aims is to increase the number of children walking or cycling to school. A generation ago, 70% of pupils walked or cycled to school; now it is less than 50%.

There are 32,697,408 cars on the road in the UK – and most are quite literally on the road – parked that is! Only 0.5% meet the ultra low emissions standard, ie hybrid vehicles that produce less than 75 grams of CO2 per kilometre from the tail pipe and electric vehicles that produce zero emissions. In other words most cars in the UK are heavy polluters both in terms of greenhouse gas emissions and in terms of air polluting chemicals and particulates. Air pollution caused the deaths of 15,000 people in 2019.

Reducing or eliminating the use of fossil fuel cars will substantially reduce the UK’s carbon footprint. Where journeys cannot be made on foot or by cycle, public transport offers a more carbon efficient alternative, whilst at the same time reducing congestion on roads. Most of Transport for London’s bus fleet are either electric or meet the ultra low emissions standard. Ideally similar policies should be  implemented in other parts of the country. This is dependent upon Government disposition and funding. Levelling up should include levelling up access to frequent, reliable and affordable public transport. 

Public transport includes trams (electric), coaches and trains. Disappointingly only 38% of the UK rail network is currently electrified compared with 55% in France and 100% in Switzerland.  Nevertheless for UK rail passengers emissions average out at 35g per passenger km. This compares with 100g (small fossil fuel car) and 200g (large fossil fuel car) per car per km. Rail travel will

need to continue to grow to achieve net zero targets, replacing not only car journeys but air flights too. Short haul flights give rise to a particularly high level of emissions – 254g per passenger km. Travelling from London to Berlin by plane has a carbon footprint of 160kg compared with 40kg by train. Even by train, the journey can be made in a day, and increasingly there is now the option of making the journey overnight.

Long haul flights are an even greater concern vis a vis net zero targets. A return flight from London to New York emits around 3.3 tonnes of CO2 per person – ie about one third of the average carbon footprint for someone living in Britain. It is hard to see how continuing to make such journeys can be compatible with a net zero target – yet many people will have good reasons for wanting to do so – eg to visit close family. Some companies offer carbon offsetting packages where you pay to enable someone else to reduce their carbon emissions, or where you pay to plant trees etc that will at some future date absorb sufficient CO2 to equal what you have already generated. What it does not do is to eliminate or reduce carbon emissions in the  present moment.

One alternative to long haul flights might be to travel by ship where destinations involve crossing oceans (it is possible to travel London to Singapore by train!) You can travel as a passenger on board a cargo ship: Liverpool to Newark takes  11 nights and costs from £1300.  Whilst the carbon footprint of cargo ships is not great – 3 to 15 grams of CO2 per tonne cargo per km – the add on cost per passenger is minimal. 

Reducing our carbon footprint to achieve net zero is demanding and will involve both substantial changes to the way we travel and imaginative ones too!