NCC urges Congress to take immediate action
on climate to protect vulnerable communities
Washington, May 14, 2010 -- The National Council of
Churches criticized climate legislation introduced today in the Senate and
called on Congress "to take action to address climate change in order to
protect those living in poverty in the U.S. and abroad."
composed of 36 national Christian communions, said the legislation in it its
"fails to provide adaptation assistance in a timely and
sufficient manner to meet the growing needs of those living in poverty
around the world."
"The United States, as the world's largest historic
emitter, has a moral obligation to swiftly reduce its emissions and provide
sufficient assistance" for persons in poverty, the statement said.
The NCC statement
applauded the Senate for its commitment to low-income consumer protection
and for placing “the US on a path towards significant reduction of
greenhouse gas emissions."
and its member communions have highlighted three priorities for any climate
legislation: “strong emissions reductions in line with scientific
recommendations, protections for those living in or near poverty in the United States
from rising energy costs, and robust international adaptation assistance.”
The full text of the statement:
The National Council of Churches renews its call for this Congress
to take strong and swift action to address the global climate
crisis. Our brothers and
sisters across the planet and all of God’s good creation are already
suffering from the impacts of a changing climate.
We believe that the United States, as the world’s largest historic
emitter, has a moral obligation to swiftly reduce its emissions and
provide sufficient assistance for those living in poverty in the US and around
We are thankful that
Senators Kerry and Lieberman understand the urgency of this issue
and hopeful that yesterday’s introduction of the American Power Act
will spur renewed interest and swift action by the full Senate.
For years, the National
Council of Churches and its member denominations/communions have
lifted up three priorities for any climate legislation: strong
emissions reductions in line with scientific recommendations,
protections for those living in or near poverty in the
from rising energy costs, and robust international adaptation
While falling short of
the scientific recommendations for short-term emissions reductions
targets, the American Power Act would place the
on a path towards significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions
and encourages our transition to a greener energy future.
Further, we applaud the Senators for their commitment to
low-income consumer protection. The Act provides sufficient
resources to meet fully the needs of those living on the economic
margins in the
who otherwise would be pushed
further into poverty as a result of increased energy and related
costs. We appreciate
that the legislation recognizes the
U.S.’s responsibility to protect
communities abroad from the worst impacts of climate change.
However, it fails to provide adaptation assistance in a timely and
sufficient manner to meet the growing needs of those living in
poverty around the world.
We look forward to working with the Administration
and Congress to fully meet our obligations.
However, the American
Power Act also includes a number of troublesome provisions that must
be resolved as the debate moves forward.
We are particularly alarmed at the expedited process for
investment in and approval of new nuclear power plants that would,
as written, exclude the voices of affected communities in the
permitting and licensing process.
And in light of the unfolding tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico, we have grave concerns over the offshore
drilling provisions which, even with late changes, fail to
sufficiently protect coastal communities and fragile coastal
The legislation unveiled
yesterday is the product of months of bipartisan negotiation and
compromise – a testament to the steadfast commitment by the authors
to this issue. We hope Senate leadership demonstrates an equal level
of bipartisan commitment in bringing to the floor and passing
legislation that reflects our shared vision of justice for God’s
creation and all God’s people.
Since its founding in 1950, the National Council of
the Churches of Christ in the USA has been the leading force for
ecumenical cooperation among Christians in the United States. The NCC's
member faith groups — from a wide spectrum of Protestant, Anglican,
Orthodox, Evangelical, historic African American and Living Peace
churches — include 45 million persons in more than 100,000 local
congregations in communities across the nation.
NCC News contact:
Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2228 (office), 646-853-4212 (cell),