In January, the Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change wrote to over 300 businesses and organizations, soliciting their views on actions the federal government could take to reduce carbon pollution and strengthen our resiliency to climate change. Today, the Task Force released the responses they have received from six faith organizations: the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs; the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops; the Friends Committee on National Legislation; the Evangelical Environmental Network; the National Council of the Churches of Christ; and Interfaith Power and Light.
Faith leaders described climate change as a moral issue, and expressed concern that low-income communities across the globe are disproportionately affected by climate change. They suggested tangible actions that Congress and the Administration can take to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
In a speech on the Senate floor today, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse highlighted the faith community's responses, saying, "For individuals all over the world, the fight against climate change is a moral call. As Americans, we have a tradition of calling upon our own deeply held spiritual convictions to address our society's greatest moral challenges These urgent calls from religious leaders of so many faiths, and these conscientious actions by individual houses of worship, demonstrate the powerful connection men and women of faith feel to the wonders of creation and to our fellow humankind."
"We should heed the faith community's call to action on climate change," said Rep. Henry Waxman. "We are called upon to be good stewards of our environment and to address this serious issue before irreparable harm is done. Protecting the climate is one of the great moral challenges of our time."
"People of faith recognize the moral imperative to protect God's creation. This was underscored as the world watched the Catholic Church install a new Pope who chose the name Francis and reminded us all the importance of loving and guarding all creation," said Rep. Ed Markey. "We must take actions now to guard against the impacts of climate change. With the support of the faith community, the United States can meet the moral challenge of climate change."
"The consequences of climate change will impact everyone, not just those who can afford it. Helping to mitigate its impact is a matter of national and economic security, but also, it fulfills a moral obligation that we have to leave this Earth in a livable and sustainable state for our children and grandchildren," said Senator Ben Cardin. "We need to act now to protect all in our communities, especially those who are unable to help themselves."
In the weeks and months ahead, the Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change will continue to release responses from other sectors that have weighed in to support action on climate change. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), and Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA) serve as co-chairs of the Task Force.