Climate Bill Should Reflect Our Values
Climate change is one of the greatest moral, economic, and national security challenges of our time. In response to this crisis, religious and military leaders have come out strongly in favor of crafting energy and climate policies that prioritize the needs of vulnerable communities, keep our nation strong, and create new high-paying American jobs that can never be outsourced.
Religious groups — including the Evangelical Climate Initiative, Southern Baptist Environmental Climate Initiative, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, The United Methodist Church General Board of Church and Society, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Presbyterian Church (USA), The Episcopal Church, and Redeem the Vote – have been working to ensure that any climate legislation proposed in Congress answers God’s call to be good stewards of creation, while also following Christ’s command to care of the least of these among us by ensuring the legislation pays special attention to the needs of vulnerable communities at home and abroad who will be most affected by climate change. They have also consistently pressed Congress to prioritize the needs of at-risk populations who will have the most difficulty adjusting to our attempts as a nation to combat climate change.
The need to prioritize policies that will help the most vulnerable is also supported by military leaders who recognize climate change as one of the greatest threats to our national security. In regions of the world where the devastating effects of climate change are already being experienced in the form of flooding, droughts, and famine, the threat of political destabilization is dramatically increased. Providing poor populations with the means to adapt to climate change is necessary to preventing social unrest and breeding grounds for extremism.
According to one poll, a majority of Americans, including Catholics and white evangelicals, stated that there is a connection between addressing poverty, climate change, and national security. Mirroring the general public, approximately three quarters of Catholics and white evangelicals support providing aid to the world’s poorest populations to help them adapt to their changing environments. The poll also found that a majority of Americans believe that the U.S. should take the lead in combating the climate crisis.
The threat of climate change, especially to the world’s poorest populations, and the opportunities available if we respond in the right way, cannot be ignored. It is critical that Congress pass legislation that reflects our values as Americans to protect the poor and vulnerable here at home and abroad, and build a stronger, safer nation.