The Lord Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, is among the 13 peers appointed to the Lords Select Committee for the environment and climate change. Bishop Steven 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’.
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.
Ruth Chambers, Senior Parliamentary Affairs Associate at Greener UK, a coalition of 12 major environmental organisations, welcomed the new environment and climate change committee. Ruth said, “Never has there been a better time for House of Lords scrutiny on the environment, and this committee is very welcome.”
The committee for the environment and climate change will shortly meet for the first time. It’s 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.
Bishop Steven is clear that the next few years are crucial for the planet, saying, “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.”
Bishop Steven concludes by saying, “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.”
Bishop Steven is a member of the cross-party parliamentary group Peers for the Planet, and he writes regularly on the climate crisis and related issues.