The World Council of Churches (WCC) and the National Council of Churches USA (NCCUSA) are among dozens of international business, civic, educational, scientific and religious organizations who have joined together in a 'round table' network to stop global warming - as the international debate about the issue grows in urgency.
"For the faith community this is a moral issue," said the Rev Dr Bob Edgar, NCCUSA's general secretary. "It is in the Christian Bible, the Torah, and the Qur'an that we are to do unto others as we would want them to do unto us. We believe the impact of global warming will have a disproportionate effect on the world's poor."
Dr Edgar was representing the World Council of Churches, the global inter-Christian body, as well as the NCCUSA at the meeting on 19 February 2007. "We have an obligation to help our brothers and sisters around the world," he declared.
The Global Roundtable on Climate Change (GROCC), a coalition of more than 150 stakeholders, released a statement on global warming at a news conference on the Columbia University campus.
The statement outlines the steps that must be taken in order to stop the global climate crisis [complete text at http://www.earthinstitute.columbia.edu/grocc/]. The NCCUSA has worked closely with members of GROCC to highlight the need to ensure the reduction of greenhouse gas, particularly carbon dioxide emissions from every sector.
"Global warming is an urgent problem that is not only affecting God's planet but also God's people," Dr Edgar told the packed news conference. "We can prevent catastrophic climate change by turning to renewable and sustainable energy options that will allow not only prevent further climate change but ensure that people around the world have access to clean safe energy."
GROCC has been working for three years to identify and explore the areas of consensus that exist within the scientific, economic, social and religious communities that would help shape public policy addressing the issue of global warming.
"This process has been invaluable," acknowledged Dr Edgar. "It has provided an opportunity for people with different interests to come together and identify the changes we must make. This is a needed step in the long road to addressing global warming."
Also attending the news conference were representatives of major international energy companies, a large manufacturer of heavy trucks and buses, insurance and risk management companies, non-governmental organizations and others.
Through the NCCUSA's climate and energy programme, active is almost a dozen states around the United States, clergy and lay leaders are educated about the moral and religious aspects of global warming.
"We have a program to get every church, synagogue, mosque and temple to do something very simple -change their lightbulbs to more energy efficient ones," Dr Edgar told the news conference. "I for one don't think technology itself is going to save us from global warming but wise thinking about how to use that technology will [help]."
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.