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Faith-based organizations call on Presidential Candidates to Address Climate Change

Integral Ecology | Fri, Oct 19, 2012

By Elizabeth Haney

Climate Change Absent from Presidential Race: President Obama and Governor Romney cannot address health of nation without addressing climate change.

Climate Change Absent from Presidential Race

President Obama and Governor Romney cannot address health of nation

without addressing climate change

 

October 9 – To date, neither of the presidential campaigns have addressed the pressing issue of global climate change. In response to this glaring omission, 43 faith-based organizations issued a letter calling on President Obama and Governor Romney to address climate change, which many believe is among the greatest moral challenges of our time.

 

Rising temperatures, more frequent severe storms, and devastating droughts are impacting families and communities across the country. This past summer alone, more than 60 percent of the country experienced extreme drought conditions, which scientists confirm were amplified by climate change. This drought will result in higher utility prices, more home foreclosures, and decreased food production – all at a time when the country is just starting to recover from the recession.

 

Addressing climate change in a way that effectively reduces greenhouse gas emissions, provides adaptation assistance for the most vulnerable around the world and ensures a future that is sustainable and sufficient to meet the basic human needs of all people is what communities of faith are looking for in a leader.

 

“Global climate change threatens human health, economic stability, and community well-being,” said Cassandra Carmichael, Director of the National Council of Churches’ Washington Office. “Both President Obama and Governor Romney have talked about their desire to help families, communities, and the country become stronger but they cannot do this successfully without addressing global climate change. We are calling on both candidates to lay out a clear vision for how they will prevent the worst impacts of climate change.”

 

The letter highlights that the time is now for both candidates to put forth a vision of health and wholeness for the United States and makes it clear that we can no longer separate the health of the nation from our ability to effectively address global climate change.

 

The full text of the letter is as follows:

October 9, 2012

Dear President Obama and Governor Romney,

As representatives of the faith community, we call on you to make global climate change a primary issue in your campaign and to advocate for concrete action to prevent its worst anticipated impacts. In the last few years, extreme droughts in the US have impacted more than 60 percent of the nation and are expected to result in higher utility prices, increased home foreclosures, and even civil unrest in the developing world as a result of food scarcity. Rising sea levels, caused in part by unprecedented polar ice melt, are threatening coastal cities in the US and island nations around the world. Extreme droughts have led to famine conditions for more than 23 million in the Horn of Africa. And these impacts will only grow worse as the Earth’s climate continues to warm.

While we represent different faiths and communities, our religious teachings are unified in our call to care for God’s Creation and to love and care for our neighbors. Climate change presents a challenge to us, as people of faith, even as it presents a current and growing threat to the well-being of our communities and the future of the planet.

For more than 25 years, we have acted to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our own houses of worship and to educate our leaders about climate change and its impacts. While these personal and community actions are important, they are not enough. We need decisive, collective action with strong leadership at the community, national, and global levels to avoid the ever-worsening droughts, famines, intense storms, sea level rise and heat waves associated with a changing climate.

The time is now to address climate change.

We call for national leadership that recognizes the challenging reality ahead while advancing a vision of health and wholeness even in the face of these challenges. We believe this vision includes emissions reductions that will prevent the worst impacts of climate change; adaptation assistance for the most vulnerable in the United States and abroad; and a future that is both sustainable and sufficient to meet the basic human needs of all people.

Simply put, we need national leadership committed to proactive and ethical action in the face of a changing climate and a changing reality.

We hope that you and your campaign, and if elected your future Administration, will prioritize policies to address climate change and protect the world’s most vulnerable communities from its impacts. We are committed to working with you now and in the future to achieve these goals.

Sincerely,

The Catholic Health Association of the United States

Center of Concern

Church of the Brethren Advocacy & Peace Witness Ministries

Church World Service

Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach

Conference of Major Superiors of Men

The Episcopal Church

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Fellowship of Reconciliation

Franciscan Action Network

Friends Committee on National Legislation

Interfaith Moral Action on Climate Change

Interfaith Power and Light

Jewish Council for Public Affairs

Jewish War Veterans of the USA

Leadership Conference of Women Religious

Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office

National Catholic Rural Life Conference

National Council of Churches USA

Presbyterian Church (USA), Office of Public Witness

The Rabbinical Assembly

Union of Reform Judaism

United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries

The United Methodist Church – General Board of Church and Society

World Evangelical Alliance

State and Regional Organizations:

Arkansas Interfaith Alliance

Arkansas Interfaith Power and Light

Arizona Ecumenical Council – Earth Care Commission

Arizona Interfaith Power and Light

California Council of Churches

Colorado Council of Churches

Earth Ministry/Washington Interfaith Power and Light

Eco-Justice Ministries

Georgia Interfaith Power and Light

GreenFaith

Interfaith Community for the Earth

Texas Impact

Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice in the National Capital Region

Voices for Earth Justice (MI)

Wisconsin Council of Churches

Wisconsin Interfaith Power and Light