Faith, Ethics, Justice, and Climate Action

Faith, Ethics, Justice, and Climate Action

What do we want for our legacy?

Climate Justice is the issue that, while the poor have done the least to cause the climate crisis (because they burn only small amounts of fossil fuel), they suffer the most from climate impacts (because they are vulnerable and have few resources for adaptation). Intergenerational Equity is the issue of our descendants, who have done nothing to cause climate change, but who will suffer from the increasingly severe climate impacts that will occur if we do not act robustly on climate mitigation soon. Climate Justice and Intergenerational Equity are Climate Survival issues. People of faith and ethical leaders worldwide are standing up for Climate Change Action. Scientists are standing up against right-wing attacks on science.




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 Stand Up for Science Rally


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Interfaith Climate Change Statement

The Interfaith Climate Change Statement to World Leaders (2016) outlines the positive support, by religious leaders and faith communities, of the adopted Paris Agreement. It also urges prompt signature and ratification of the Agreement by governments so that it can come into force as soon as possible. It also insists that there should be a significant increase in the current levels of ambition relating to emission reductions, financial flows, adaptation, loss and damage and a swift phase out of fossil fuel subsidies - so as to keep temperatures within reach of 1.5C.

The Statement renews the strong commitment of the faith community to remain active in defining the moral responsibility to care for the Earth, and it also encourages its own communities to reduce emissions and to divest and reinvest in renewables. There are Six Key Points:

  1. Urge governments to rapidly sign, ratify and implement the Paris Agreement, and to increase pledges to reduce emissions in line with keeping the global temperature rise to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels;
  2. Insist on rapid emissions reduction and peaking by 2020, in order to keep the 1.5C goal within reach;
  3. Strongly advocate for greater flows of finance, especially for adaptation and loss and damage;
  4. Urge the swift phase out of all fossil fuel subsidies and a transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050;
  5. Encourage faith communities to reduce emissions in their homes, workplaces and centres of worship and to support and stand in solidarity with communities already impacted by climate change; and
  6. Call for fossil fuel divestment and reinvestment in renewables and low carbon solutions, including within our own communities, and/or by engaging companies on climate change.

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Religious Communities - Statements on Climate Change

Most religious communities have released statements on Climate Change and the need to care for Creation. 

Faith-Based Statements on Climate Change (Collection by Citizens' Climate Lobby volunteers)

From Interfaith Power and LightThe following list (organized alphabetically first by religion, then by denomination) demonstrates the unity within the religious community on these important issues. 


Seizing the Opportunity: Redefining the Challenge of Climate Change


Buddhist Declaration on Climate Change


Baptist – A Southern Baptist Declaration on the Environment and Climate Change

Catholic – U.S. Catholic Bishops’ Statement on Climate Change

Catholic – Vatican on Climate Change

Church of the Brethren-Statement on Global Climate Change

Episcopal Church USA, The Church of Sweden and the ELCA: “Sustaining hope in the face of climate change” joint commitment

Evangelical Climate Initiative – Call to Action

Evangelical Lutheran Church of America – Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope, and Justice

Evangelical Lutheran Church of America – Issue Paper: Global Warming and Climate Change

Mennonite – Creation Care Network

Presbyterian Church USA -U.S. Energy Policy and Global Warming

Quaker – Earthcare Mission Program

United Church of Christ – A Resolution on Climate Change

United Methodist Church – Church Statement on Climate Change


Interfaith Declaration on Climate Change (IDCC)


The (Yale) Forum on Religion and Ecology – Judaism and Climate Change


Islam Faith Statement on Ecology

Unitarian Universalist

Unitarian Universalist – Threat of Global Warming/Climate Change

Additional Statements

The (Yale) Forum on Religion and Ecology

UU Compilation of Religious Statements

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  and Climate Action

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Unitarian Universalist UU (including UU-UNO) Climate Action

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The Sustainable Development Goals and Climate Change. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), officially known as Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a set of seventeen aspirational "global Goals" [Wikipedia]. These are world wide goals, starting with "No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Good Health..." Climate Action is #13, and is connected to all the other SDGs - there can be no long term solution to the other SDGs without robust action on climate.

Here is a picture of the SDGs. 

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Intergenerational equity in economic, psychological, and sociological contexts, is the concept or idea of fairness orjustice in relationships between childrenyouthadults and seniors, particularly in terms of treatment and interactions. It has been studied in environmental and sociological settings. [Wikipedia]

For climate policy, intergenerational equity means action now to avoid impacting our descendants, who did nothing to cause the climate problems.

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"...Climate Justice insists that communities have the right to be free from climate change, its related impacts and other forms of ecological destruction.

Climate Justice affirms the need to reduce with an aim to eliminate the production of greenhouse gases and associated local pollutants"


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The United States Environmental Protection Agency defines environmental justice as follows:

Environmental justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. 

EPA has this goal for all communities and persons across this nation. It will be achieved when everyone enjoys:

  • the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards, and
  • equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.

National Environmental Justice Advisory Council   

The National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) provides advice and recommendations about broad, cross-cutting issues related to environmental justice.  

Environmental Justice and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) 

Federal agencies must consider environmental justice in their activities under NEPA... to determine whether low-income, minority or tribal populations are present and whether there may be disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects on these populations.  

Environmental Justice in the Clean Air Act 

The provisions of Clean Air Act Section 309 require the Administrator of EPA to comment in writing upon the environmental impacts associated with certain proposed actions of other federal agencies, including actions subject to NEPA's EIS requirement. The comments must be made available to the public. 

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The NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program

LINK - click HERE

Environmental and Climate Justice Program Goals

Environmental injustices, including climate change, have a disproportionate impact on communities of color and low income communities in the United States and around the world.

The NAACP ECJ Program was created to provide resources and support community leadership in addressing this human and civil rights issue by advocating for these three objectives:

  • Reduce Harmful Emissions, Particularly Greenhouse Gases

  • Advance Energy Efficiency and Clean Energy

  • Strengthen Community Resilience and Livability

Access the NAACP’s Environmental and Climate Justice resources here.

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"Climate Change: Facts, Fictions, and our Faith"

Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, climate scientist "perhaps the best communicator on climate change"

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Donald Brown on Climate Ethics


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Rev. Michael Dowd: A Scientific View of God on a Rapidly Overheating Planet


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Moral Action on Climate Change - Some Previous Events

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Resources (videos, talks) with Links

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Last update 09Feb2017


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