Nearly 700 participants will come together at Ecumenical Advocacy Days (EAD) this weekend in Alexandria, VA to discuss the relationship between climate change, migration, and poverty. AFJN has helped formulate the Africa Program at EAD for many years, and we are excited about this year’s events.
On Monday, all of the organizations who take part in EAD will send a letter to President Barack Obama, outlining our “ask” from the weekend. In summary, the letter asks Obama to do everything he can to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to help poor countries adapt to the effects of a changing climate.
Read the full letter with sponsors and supporters below:
March 16, 2009
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
It is with excitement and anticipation of a productive relationship with you and your new Administration that we write on the occasion of the 7th annual Ecumenical Advocacy Days for Global Peace with Justice, a gathering of more than 700 people of faith from throughout the United States in Washington, D.C. on March 13-16. This year’s conference will focus on the theme of climate change, poverty and migration, and concludes with constituent meetings on Capitol Hill.
As Christian communions, their agencies and ecumenical organizations in the U.S., we call our elected officials to a renewed and rigorous commitment to the care and keeping of God’s creation and to God’s most vulnerable people. We must live sustainably, so that all God’s children may live and thrive on God’s good earth.
We know that you share our concern for the environment and for God’s most vulnerable people. We are grateful for your stated support of a climate change reduction strategy and offer these priorities as essential components of your future proposals:
Re-engage constructively in international negotiations, showing goodwill and a willingness to do our part, in order to build the trust, confidence and momentum necessary to achieve a just and equitable international climate agreement by the end of 2009. To ensure that the perspectives and needs of developing countries are taken effectively into account, we emphasize that the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) should remain the primary intergovernmental forum for decision-making on climate change.
Support a legislative agenda that will enact a mandatory greenhouse gas emissions reduction strategy for the U.S. economy in compliance with the standards set forth by the international scientific community. Such standards include recommendations to ensure that the earth’s temperature does not increase by more than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. In order to achieve such results, scientists have urged reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 25-40 percent by 2020 and by at least 80 percent by 2050. Mechanisms developed for achieving these reductions must be based on principles of transparency, accountability, global equity and environmental effectiveness.
Ensure that these mandatory mechanisms used to ensure carbon emission reductions provide substantial new funding for adaptation measures and transition assistance for vulnerable communities both overseas and in the United States. Poor communities are the most affected, but the least responsible for climate change. Because the U.S. contributes a significant amount of global greenhouse emissions, significant U.S. investment in adaptation and transition is a moral responsibility, must not be considered as charity, and must be new and in addition to current U.S. commitments to foreign aid and domestic poverty assistance.
International Adaptation funding should be channeled through mechanisms that are transparent, democratic, participatory, equitable and effective. The fund should be directly accessible and accountable to those most impacted by climate change, such as women and indigenous communities; and there must be effective participation in its governance by vulnerable and excluded communities, including civil society representation. To avoid adding to their debt burden, adaptation assistance to the world’s poorest countries should be provided in the form of grants rather than loans.
Domestic Adaptation and Transition Assistance must be directed to the most vulnerable communities in the United States, including low-income, American Indian, and coastal communities. Because the imposition of carbon limits in the United States may increase the cost of essential goods such as energy, food, and transportation, low-income communities will need financial assistance to transition to a low-carbon economy. In order to reach the most vulnerable communities, delivery mechanisms for transition assistance should employ already existing benefit and social safety net structures. In addition, the most environmentally vulnerable U.S. communities, such as American Indian and coastal communities, must receive assistance to adapt to the effects of climate change, just like our global brothers and sisters.
Commit the U.S. to assist and welcome Climate Migrants. Because climate change most drastically affects those who are poor and vulnerable around the world, the U.S. must provide generous humanitarian assistance to people fleeing the effects of climate change, and admit a significant number of environmental migrants through a new entry mechanism similar to the special immigrant visa process.
We give thanks for your service to our nation and look forward to working with you to achieve justice for the planet and the poorest among us.
• Africa Faith and Justice Network
• American Friends Service Committee
• Brethren Witness/Washington Office
• Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good
• Catholic Conference of Major Superiors of Men
• Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
• Call to Action
• Center of Concern
• Children’s Defense Fund
• Church World Service
• Churches’ Center for Theology and Public Policy
• Churches for Middle East Peace
• Columban Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation Office
• Decade to Overcome Violence
• Disciples Justice Action Network
• Episcopal Church USA
• Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
• Franciscan Action Network
• Franciscan Friars (OFM) – Holy Name Province
• Franciscan Friars, OFM ESC Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Committee
• Friends Committee on National Legislation
• Global Ministries (UCC/DOC)
• Interfaith Committee for Nuclear Disarmament
• Interfaith Worker Justice
• Interfaith Working Group on Trade & Investment
• Jubilee USA Network
• Latin America Working Group
• Lutheran World Relief
• Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
• Medical Mission Sisters
• Methodists United for Peace with Justice
• Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate JPIC Office
• National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund
• National Council of Churches
• National Religious Campaign Against Torture
• NETWORK: A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby
• Pax Christi USA
• Presbyterian Church (USA)
• Progressive National Baptist Convention
• Sisters of Mercy of the Americas
• United Church of Christ
• United Methodist Church – General Board of Church and Society
• UMC – General Board of Global Ministries Women’s Division
• World Council of Churches