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Eco-Justice Resolutions
from the Episcopal Church

Fossil Fuel Divestment and Clean Emergy Reinvestment

Proposed Resolution for the 78th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, USA, June-July 2015

Resolution 2015-C049: Fossil Fuel Divestment and Clean Emergy Reinvestment

Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That the 78th General Convention of the Episcopal Church encourages all dioceses and the Consortium of Endowed Episcopal Parishes to engage the topic of divestment from fossil fuels and clean energy reinvestment within the coming year


Proposer: Episcopal Diocese of Newark

Explanation:

God God calls us to be good stewards of God's good Creation (Gen. 1:31, 2:15). Jesus commands us to care for those who are vulnerable as if we were caring for Him (Mt. 25:40). The Fifth Mark of Mission of the Anglican Communion is "To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth." The Episcopal Church has long been on record calling for action to address climate change, and environmental justice, most recently with resolutions in 2006 and 2009. The Episcopal Church, by its mission, is pledged to the protection and care of God's people and God's Creation.

Climate change represents a titanic threat to all life, and especially to the poor. The biblical mandate and our church's teachings could not be clearer that we must respond with faithful, prophetic action. For over two decades, the Episcopal Church and the wider faith community has utilized shareholder and legislative advocacy on climate change, to very little effect.

The scientific consensus is overwhelmingly clear that anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of fossil fuels have already caused and will continue to cause climate change. Without a swift, concerted, global shift away from the burning of fossil fuels, the effects of climate change will displace and impoverish hundreds of millions of people in the coming century and condemn many species to extinction. In recent years, superstorms and droughts have plagued our planet. We witness an unprecedented melting of Greenland's ice cap, the Arctic ice pack, Antarctic glaciers and ice shelves, and mountain glaciers worldwide. Rising, acidifying seas coupled with more violent storms are threatening communities at sea level worldwide. An estimated 400,000 people a year die from the effects of climate change . A far larger number of people lose their homes, livelihoods, and health from climate-related droughts and storms, the increased spread of infectious disease due to rising temperatures, and related stressors. Climate change is, in profound ways, a matter of justice. Jesus teaches that when we care for the poor, we care for Him. (Mt. 25) As the climate crisis worsens, the church must increase the scope of its response.

  1. Resolution GC2009-D031: Urge Commitment to Lower Carbon Output,
  2. Resolution GC2006-B002: Acknowledge and Reduce Global Warming
  3. Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  4. Naomi Oreskes, The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change, Science, December 3, 2004
  5. "Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change," 2007
  6. Ken Caldeira and Michael E. Wickett, Anthropogenic Carbon and Ocean pH, Nature, 2003
  7. "Climate Vulnerability Monitor, Second Edition", DARA and Climate Vulnerable Forum, 2012
  8. Just two examples of the effects of a warmer planet include the increased risk of hurricane disasters (see Kerry Emanuel, Global Warming Effects on U.S. Hurricane Damage, 2011) and species extinction (Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: Summary for Policy Makers, 2007).
  9. The 2010 United Nations Climate Change Conference
  10. http://fossilfreeindexes.com/2014/05/06/the-allocated-carbon-budget/
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The EpEN is a national network of active lay and clergy persons within the Episcopal Church, USA, who share a common concern for the environment and a common belief in the presence of God in all Creation and who work to make these concerns and beliefs known throughout all Provinces and Dioceses within the church. Members come from around the Episcopal Church USA. The activities of the EpEN are focused on the areas of Reflection, Education, and Action. 

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last update: 2015-06-26

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