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Recognizing United Methodist Support for Global Green New Deal Initiatives and Legislative Efforts

Submitted by Ian Urriola
Committee Moves to Adopt 34 to 3
Plenary Vote on Main Motion (Consent Calendar); For: 686; Against: 36

WHEREAS, the October 2018 report entitled “Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 ºC” by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the November 2018 Fourth National Climate Assessment report found that—

1. human activity is the dominant cause of observed climate change over the past century;

2. a changing climate is causing sea levels to rise and an increase in wildfires, severe storms, droughts, and other extreme weather events that threaten human life, healthy communities, and critical infrastructure;

3. global warming at or above 2 degrees Celsius beyond pre-industrialized levels will cause—

a. mass migration from the regions most affected by climate change;

b. a loss of more than 99 percent of all coral reefs on Earth;

c. a projected increase in hot days in most land regions, with the highest increases in the tropics;

d. a higher risk from extreme weather-related events on a global scale;

e. a higher risk from sea level rise and its amplified exposure on small islands, low-lying coastal areas and deltas;

f. an increased risk for species loss and extinction and its subsequent impact on biodiversity and ecosystems;

g. an increased negative impact on global human populations that are already disadvantaged and vulnerable, including but not limited to indigenous populations, the global poor, and local communities dependent on agricultural or coastal livelihoods;

h. an increased negative impact on human health, including but not limited to heat-related morbidity and mortality, ozone-related mortality, vector-borne diseases, such as malaria and dengue fever, and amplified adverse impacts of heat waves in cities;

i. an increased risk to global aggregated economic growth due to climate change impacts;

j. an increased exposure to multiple and compound climate-related risks across energy, food, and water sectors with greater proportions of people both so exposed and susceptible to poverty in Africa and Asia; and

4. global temperature increases must be kept below 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrialized levels to avoid the most severe impacts of a changing climate, which will require—

a. global reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from human sources of 40 to 60 percent from 2010 levels by 2030; and

b. net-zero global emissions by 2050;

WHEREAS, reversing these troubling trends will require broad cooperation on a global scale between institutions, governments, businesses, and individuals;

WHEREAS, the command of Scripture is clear: we are called to take care of God’s creation (Genesis 2:15);

WHEREAS, the people of The United Methodist Church affirm that—

1. “all creation is the Lord’s and we are responsible for the ways in which we use and abuse it” (¶ 160, preamble, of The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church);

2. “water, air, soil, minerals, energy resources, plants, [and] animal life . . . are to be valued and conserved because they are God’s creation and not solely because they are useful to human beings” (¶ 160, preamble, of The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church); and

3. the church and its members have a responsibility to “place a high priority on changes in economic, political, social, and technological lifestyles to support a more ecologically equitable and sustainable world leading to a higher quality of life for all of God’s creation" (¶ 160, preamble, of The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church);

Therefore, be it resolved, that the people of The United Methodist Church wholeheartedly support legislative and policy efforts by governments around the world akin to the “Green New Deal” in the United States of America, and call upon all world leaders to create plans for the world to be carbon neutral;

Be it further resolved, that the people of The United Methodist Church call on global leaders and policy makers, especially those in the “Western” and ”developed” world, which have historically led the world in greenhouse gas emissions, to take steps that will drastically reduce their nation’s greenhouse gas emissions, up to and beyond net-zero, in a manner that is compassionate toward the most disadvantaged and
impoverished populations in their countries and reduces income and wealth inequality;

Be it further resolved, that the people of The United Methodist Church call on every level of its denominational polity to lead the way in this effort by—

1. striving continuously to reduce the carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions of local churches, districts, annual conferences, jurisdictions, central conferences, and general boards and agencies and their respective ministries up to and beyond carbon neutral and net zero, respectively; and

2. placing climate justice, and the ways in which climate justice intersects with every other systemic justice-related issue, at the forefront of their preaching, teaching, and programmatic ministries.

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