The Queen’s comment to David Attenborough that she hopes her Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy initiative “might change the climate again” has been welcomed by the Bishop of Salisbury.

The Attenborough interview, on ITV next Monday evening, is the first time the Queen has expressed concern on climate change in public.

The bishop, Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, said: “I am delighted with Her Majesty’s public commitment to protecting our planet’s God-given environment not just in word, but in deed. The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy is a wonderful initiative which unites countries in preserving their indigenous forests for future generations, but also as a resource in protecting us from the worst effects of climate change.

“Our own country is making a contribution through the expansion of The National Forest and the imaginative re-introduction of grazing to Epping Forest, one of the country’s largest woodlands. I was on the Marlborough Downs where a million trees have been planted in the area covered by the Nature Enhancement Partnership. These initiatives unite us with 35 countries, with more to come, in a common endeavour to protect our common home.

“The Church of England, with other Churches and world faiths, sees climate change as one of the most important issues, which we have a responsibility to God to confront. Through the Anglican Communion, we have deep links with fellow Christians across the Commonwealth, who have told us shocking stories of the impact climate change is already having, especially in the Caribbean, Pacific, and Africa. They are clear they see climate change as among the very biggest problems facing the world today.

“The Queen has a deep commitment to the Commonwealth and its peoples, which has given her a global vision much broader than many of us have the chance to develop.

“Many Commonwealth countries are already being hit early and hard by climate change, especially among those who emit very little CO2 themselves. There is a basic matter of justice at stake here – we owe it to our friends and partners in the Commonwealth to ensure they don’t suffer damage as a result of problems we played a part in causing.”

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