The Church of England has appointed a new Bishop for the Environment to spearhead the crusade against climate change.

The beekeeping Bishop of Norwich, Graham Usher, will lead the fight to cut carbon emissions and tackle the looming “chaos and destruction” of “this precious planet”.

Announcing the move, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said: “The crises of climate change and biodiversity loss are the most grave and existential we face as human beings, as a Church and as a global community.

“We are already seeing the devastating effects of climate change around the world, and we know that the poorest and most vulnerable are bearing the greatest burden.

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“The pandemic has foreshadowed the chaos and destruction that will follow should we not cease our exploitation of the environment, our greed for finite resources and the neglect of our interconnected nature on this precious planet.

“The Church is called to be a people of hope; to live in harmony with our world; to treasure God's creation, and our brothers and sisters around the globe.”

Bishop Graham's appointment comes as the UK prepares to host the G7 summit in Cornwall in June and the UN COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow in November.

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The clergyman has written two books on religion and nature – Places of Enchantment, Meeting God in Landscapes and The Way Under Our Feet: A Spirituality of Walking.

He was previously a member of the Northumberland National Park Authority and chaired the North East Advisory Committee of the Forestry Commission.

He studied ecological science at Edinburgh University and is also a keen beekeeper.

Bishop Graham said: “Responding to the climate and biodiversity crises that the planet faces is not a luxury in the ministry of the Church but an urgent imperative for our mission.

“The care of creation is at the heart of the Anglican Communion’s marks of mission and I hope it will also play a key part in the life of every church community and every disciple of Jesus Christ.”

He takes over the role from the Bishop of Salisbury, Nicholas Holtam, who retires this summer.