Following today's unveiling of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) second working group report, the National Council of Churches USA (NCCUSA) called for immediate action by the US government to address global warming in order to avert further impact on the world's poor, the elderly, and children.
The IPCC report (http://www.ipcc.ch/) has emphasised the negative and often devastating impacts to low-income communities and developing countries, stating that these communities would be hit the hardest and would be least equipped to adapt to the expected environmental changes.
"It is clear that global warming is having and will continue to have tremendous impacts on the global community and will hit vulnerable communities the hardest," said Cassandra Carmichael, director of NCCUSA's Eco-Justice programmes. "As Christians, we have a responsibility to care for all of God's children around the globe."
The statement from the leading US interchurch body comes on the heels of a resolution passed in November 2006 by the NCCUSA's General Assembly, urging the US Federal Government to "respond to global warming with greater urgency" and called for "mandatory measures that reduce the absolute amount of greenhouse gas emissions."
Through a concerted education and advocacy programme in more than 17 states, the ecumenical coordinating body is focusing efforts to ensure that the US climate policy protects both the environment and vulnerable communities in America and around the globe.
"The faith community is making global warming a priority because it affects almost every issue that we, as a faith community, care about hunger, access to clean water, environmental stewardship, health, and peace," stressed Carmichael. "Addressing global warming will help ensure that all people can live the life of possibility that God intends."
The IPCC report outlined the following drastic impacts that are expected if no action is taken:
* By 2020, millions of people will face water shortages
* By 2050, millions of Africans will suffer from hunger due to agricultural changes from global warming
* The cost of adapting to global warming may be as much as 10% of economic output, a price tag that many developing countries cannot afford
* Failure to curb emissions could lead to ocean rise that will displace millions of people and go on for centuries
The National Council of Churches USA is the ecumenical voice of America's Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican, historic African American and traditional peace churches. These 35 communions have 45 million members in 100,000 congregations in all 50 states.