Faith Work and Christian Discipleship

This study guide from ICF is designed for use by small groups in churches, homes and workplaces. click here for more details

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If the lights go out?

World leaders gathering for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in 2015 recognise the challenge that our planet and its people are facing. The control of climate cannot be separated from a growing need for energy; we are confronted with questions surrounding energy security, exhaustion of fossil fuels, the rising costs of electricity and gas, and fuel poverty.

The UK government and the opposition parties have sought to address the size of domestic and industrial energy bills and have looked for ways of reducing these through abandoning the green levy, and the financial support for onshore wind farms and solar photovoltaics. At the same time, licences have been granted for the drilling of exploration wells for fracking (hydraulic fracturing) with 40 shale gas sites expected to be developed in the next two years. Shale gas is seen as the answer to fuel shortages with a possible 1,300 trillion cubic feet present in the north of England alone.

However, abandoning a green agenda in the wake of the most extreme climate events that this country has seen in over two hundred years seems extremely short-sighted. Government action in dealing with symptoms - the need for more flood defences - while ignoring the causes - anthropogenic CO2 emissions mainly from the burning of fossil fuels, may prove to be catastrophic in the long term, as permanent changes to the world’s climate patterns result. The signs are that more than ever, we need to return to an emphasis on sustainable living and sustainable industry in which long term policies on energy sources and energy consumption will have a central place.

If you would like to explore these issues in greater detail Ian Arbon and John Weaver have produced a 44 page booklet on Sustainability and Ethics dealing with an ethical and Christian response to these current concerns. Sustainability and Ethics can be obtained from the Industrial Christian Fellowship ( or the John Ray Initiative (