Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) resolutions on climate change and the environment

As one of the four instruments of communion, the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) seeks to develop common policies with respect to the world mission of the Church. You can find a full record of ACC resolutions on all subjects here.

The ACC meets every three years. The most recent ACC was held in Hong Kong in May 2019. The relevant resolutions from that meeting are outlined below, but first those from the 2016 meeting, which provide the background on which they build.

At the ACC (ACC-16), which was held in Lusaka Zambia in 2016, Jeff Golliher (see below) presented a paper ‘The Climate Crisis’, which included the following call:

‘Obviously, we need to be more attuned to environmental realities, but we’re not an environmental organization. We are the Anglican Communion, and the world needs us to be who we are, especially now. We live at a decisive turning point. We must make good, wise decisions about the future of our church and of God’s green earth; and we must act upon those decisions, as the church, deliberately, without hesitation or delay’ (Jeff’s emphasis).

Also: ‘The climate crisis is not only about fossil fuels and greenhouse gases, but also food and agriculture, water and drought, forests and deforestation, oceans, fish, rising sea levels, rising extinction rates, biodiversity, human population growth, and environmental refugees.’

See the 4 recommendations in the paper, the first of which includes the following: The world needs us to be the church in ways that express the power of the Holy Spirit at an unprecedented time. This involves more than advocacy and activism. It includes deeper levels of pastoral guidance, innovative visions of financial and environmental stewardship, and strategic planning on every level of the church based on creative ways of organizing ourselves with spiritual and ecological vision. The world is desperately looking for faith in God, confidence in our institutions to carry us through this crisis, and truthfulness about the realities of life. The younger generation, especially, needs that from us now for their sake and for the world’s sake. The good news is that we already know how to do much of what needs to be done – and about what we don’t know, Jesus will show us the way.’

ACC resolution 16.08 Response to Climate Change (passed at ACC-16) includes…

The ACC:

  1. encourages Anglicans everywhere to join in pastoral, priestly, and prophetic action as we seek together the redemption of all things in Christ by:
    a. praying and fasting, including special fasts on the first day of each month and a ‘carbon fast’ during Lent (see here:
    b. designing and taking strategic actions toward sustainability and resilience in our dioceses, communities and congregations, taking into account local ecological and economic contexts and opportunities
    c. reviewing and making necessary changes to church investments to ensure these are visibly supportive of a move towards a low carbon economy
    d. making energy efficiency and access to renewable energy a priority in all church operations
    e. teaching the Fifth Mark of Mission in theological and church-sponsored educational bodies
    f. urging political, economic, social, and religious leaders in our various constituencies to address the climate change crisis as the most urgent moral issue of our day consistent with the United Nations’ 21st Climate Change Conference, Paris 2015
    g. recognizing and supporting Indigenous peoples’ right free, prior and informed consent in decisions concerning the environment and the well-being of communities, and
    h. advocating for sustainable water, food, and agricultural practices in our communities consistent with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals

Relevant Resolutions from ACC-17 (2019)

A17:05 Anglican Communion Environmental Network
The Anglican Consultative Council:

  1. recognises that there is a global climate emergency
  2. encourages Member Churches to make the Fifth Mark of Mission, ‘To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth’, a living testament to our faith, and calls upon Member Churches to:
    a. promote a day during the Season of Creation as a day of public repentance
    b. develop an action plan and resources for sustainable living at individual, parish, diocesan and provincial level; including policies and procedures to minimise waste, increase use of renewable energies, and incorporate creation care into liturgical practice
    c. prepare a Lenten Fast for Creation
    d. hold strategic planning conferences on the Sustainable Development Goals and Climate Change, ensuring the involvement of Indigenous, youth, and women’s voices, and to report back to ACC18
    e. identify environmental and climate-related threats in their context and to develop or adapt existing tools on disaster preparedness and mitigation.
  3. encourages the organisers of the Lambeth Conference 2020 to make the conference as environmentally sustainable as possible.

A17.06 Climate resilience
The Anglican Consultative Council:

  1. celebrates the work undertaken by some Member Churches and the Anglican Communion Environmental Network to shift messaging and action from climate vulnerability to climate resilience
  2. regrets that the ongoing impacts of climate change are yet to be adequately resourced or responded to with due seriousness or urgency by all Member Churches, and therefore commits immediately to:
    a. recognising the important role of Indigenous/First Nation peoples’ knowledge in building resilience to climate change in communities
    b. encouraging Member Churches to prioritise investment in resources to support education, training and activism in addressing climate change
    c. encouraging Member Churches to identify and assist actively the most at-risk communities within the Anglican Communion
    d. encouraging Member Churches to develop a strategy for climate-induced disaster preparedness, emergency relief and post-disaster rehabilitation
  3. calls on the Anglican Alliance to work with the Secretary General, Anglican Communion relief and development agencies, and relevant sections of the Anglican Communion Office to coordinate an implementation report on this resolution to the Standing Committee, before ACC18.

A17:11 Sustainable Development Goals
The Anglican Consultative Council:

  1. notes the significant role that was played by the Member Churches and agencies of the Anglican Communion in pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals between 2000–2015
  2. recognises the urgency and global significance of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (known as Agenda 2030), as the successor framework to the Millennium Development Goals
  3. encourages Member Churches and agencies of the Anglican Communion, in the context of their own holistic mission, to continue and extend their contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals through both delivery and advocacy
  4. requests that the Secretary General reports to the Standing Committee, no later than its first meeting in 2020, on a 10-year strategy on Anglican Communion engagement with the Sustainable Development Goals.