Lord Bishop of Oxford appointed to Select Committee on environment and climate change

Care for the earth should be placed at the top of the agenda for the coming years, says clergyman

Thursday, 22nd April 2021, 2:25 pm
Bishop Steven

The Lord Bishop of Oxford, Dr Steven Croft, is one of 13 peers appointed to the Lords Select Committee for the environment and climate change.

Bishop Steven, whose diocese covers Bucks, Berks and Oxon, is a leading advocate of fossil fuel divestment within the Church of England and has previously called for "nothing less than an ecological conversion of every person and every part of society".

He is a member of the cross-party parliamentary group, Peers for the Planet and writes regularly on the climate crisis and related issues.

The Diocese of Oxford declared a climate emergency in March 2020, and in March 2021 Bishop Steven announced the Diocese of Oxford has completed its divestment from fossil fuels.

The new committee for environment and climate change is one of five new sessional committees designed to allow for more effective and comprehensive scrutiny by the House of Lords over major areas of public policy.

Announcing the new committees in the House last week, the Senior Deputy Speaker noted that previous select committees “have demonstrated a depth of inquiry, a level of expertise and comprehensive scrutiny that has not been matched elsewhere.”

House of Lords committees investigate public policy, proposed laws and government activity. Reports produced by the select committees make recommendations to government and provoke discussion in Parliament.

Membership of the committee, which is due to hold its first meeting soon, is a significant commitment for Bishop Steven, which is only possible now that his term of office with the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation (CDEI) has ended, but he firmly believes the next few years are crucial for the planet.

Bishop Steven said: “Human beings are far more than consumers - we are called to be just stewards of creation, to care for the poorest and the weakest.

"Human fulfilment lies not in escalating consumption but in meaningful rest and labour and learning to be content.

"Many dioceses, including Oxford, are placing care for the earth at the top of our agenda for the coming years.

"It means identifying challenging but achievable targets and the practical path to reach them. We need to hear the voice of government in policy detail and not just principle.

“The leadership we offer to the COP summit must be demonstrably grounded in the trinity of policy intervention, technology solutions and the changing lives of our entire population.”