Evangelical leaders: fighting climate change is the right(eous) thing to do

Today in Washington the Evangelical Climate Initiative released a statement signed by 86 Christian leaders calling for federal legislation “requiring sufficient economy-wide reductions in carbon dioxide emissions through cost-effective, market-based mechanisms such as a cap-and-trade program” (NYT Article, Time Article).

For this pro-business and mainly conservative constituency, the statement is a departure from and a challenge to the current position on global warming in both the White House and Congress.

The statement makes four claims:

  • Human-induced climate change is real.

  • The consequences of climate change will Be significant, and will hit the poor the hardest.
  • Christian moral convictions demand our response to the climate change problem.
  • The need to act now is urgent. Governments, businesses, churches, and individuals all have a role to play in addressing climate change, starting now.

The statement will be followed by a TV ad campaign and community outreach programs. With Rick Warren, famed author of The Purpose Driven Life, behind the movement as well as a who’s who of church leaders, the initiative could be an important force in the climate change debate.

The issue remains a controversial one in the evangelical community, and the initiative came under quick and nasty criticism from the Interfaith Stewardship Alliance.

Nonetheless, it appears that evangelicals are poised to become a major force in the climate change debates, and hopefully a catalyst for concrete action. TerraPass has already been featured on the innovative site whatwouldjesusdrive.org, and several other Christian environmental initiatives are underway.

The campaign also released a nice poll showing that, like the rest of the America, evangelical christians believe climate change is taking place (75%) and that we should take action to reduce global warming, even if those actions have a high economic cost (50%).

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