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U.S. Faith Groups, at The Hague, Urge Clinton to Finish Global Warming Treaty

Link to Heads of Communion "Open Letter to President Clinton"

November 20, 2000, THE HAGUE – Proclaiming global warming a religious issue, representatives of the United States faith community, at treaty negotiations in The Hague, today called on the Clinton Administration to negotiate a strong treaty that actually addresses the threat of global warming by reducing pollution caused by burning fossil fuels.

"The U.S. should not avoid its responsibility to reduce the global warming pollution it produces by supporting loopholes in the treaty that do nothing to cut pollution," said the Rev. Richard Killmer, Director of Environmental Ministries of the National Council of Churches. "We call on the U.S. delegation to close these loopholes, preserve the environmental integrity of the Kyoto Protocol treaty, and protect God’s creation."

The U.S. faith community is delivering this message to the U.S. delegation in four ways:

- Open letter to President Clinton: The heads of 28 Protestant and Orthodox Christian denominations released a letter today to President Clinton urging the Administration to complete the negotiations for a strong treaty. Signatories include the Rev. Robert Edgar, General Secretary of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. (NCC); Rev. William Shaw, President of the National Baptist Convention USA; His Eminence Archbishop Dimitrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, and Bishop Melvin Talbert, Ecumenical Officer of the Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church.

In the letter, the leaders assert that the Kyoto Protocol "is an important witness to God’s redemption of creation and to the importance of protecting God’s children and God’s creation, now and for future generations."

- Building grassroots coalitions in 16 states: The NCC Eco-Justice Working Group is spearheading Interfaith Global Warming Campaigns in 16 states across the United States to educate people of faith on the dangers of global warming and advocate for bold action nationally and internationally. The NCC is working in cooperation with the National Religious Partnership for the Environment, a coalition of national Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical and Orthodox Christian groups and the Jewish community.

- Addressing world leaders at the treaty talks: The Rev. Dr. Angelique Walker-Smith, in a presentation today to the Conference of Parties on behalf of the World Council of Churches, asserted that global warming is fundamentally about justice for the most vulnerable people of the world. She cited the fact that the U.S. emits 22 percent of the world’s global warming pollution, despite having only 4 percent of the world’s population.

"While the richest industrialized nations of the world are responsible for the vast majority of global warming pollution, the least-developed countries and poor communities in the U.S. are already suffering the effects, and will be most severely affected in the future," said Dr. Walker-Smith, of the Indiana Faith-Based Climate Change Campaign.

"Therefore, it is only just and fair that industrialized countries, especially the U.S., take the lead in reversing global warming," she said. "As we read in Luke 12:48b, ‘From everyone whom much has been given, much will be required.’

- Evangelical Christian scientists’ statement urging action: A group of 55 Evangelical Christian scientists is releasing an "Evangelical Scientists’ Statement of Concern on Climate Change and the Need for Clean Energy," which concurs with the prevailing scientific consensus that global warming poses a serious threat that must be addressed.

Signatories include Sir John Houghton, co-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group One for all three Assessment Reports, and senior leaders of the American Scientific Affiliation, the largest evangelical scientists association in the world.

The Statement urges "government leaders at the national and international levels to act in accord with biblical justice (e.g. Ps. 72.1, 12-14a; I Kings 10:9; Prov. 31:8-9; Isa. 11:3-5; Jer. 21:11-12) and take the steps necessary to significantly reduce the threat of global climate change."


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