Can Faith Leaders Help Obama Secure Green Climate Fund?

Last year, President Obama sought to make good on his promise to allocate U.S. capital toward the Green Climate Fund. Congress rejected the initial proposition of $500 million, but President Obama eventually secured some funding for the international resources charged to mitigate the impact of climate change on the world's poorest nations. This year, President Obama has called for $750 million to be secured for the GCF, and people of faith are helping him reach that goal. 

One hundred and twenty religious groups have signed a letter to members of Congress urging them to approve the funding. Guided by 'principles of stewardship, compassion and justice' the letter to Congress explains how the 'Green Climate Fund represents a major step in global cooperation needed to build a more resilient world and to move us along the path toward a low-carbon future.' 

Among the signatories are many Blessed Tomorrow partners including Catholic Climate Covenant, Creation Justice Ministries, GreenFaith, Interfaith Power & Light (and many IPL affiliates). Read their faithful plea here

April 11, 2016 

Dear Member of Congress,

We write to you as communities of faith to ask your support for the U.S. pledge to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the President’s FY2017 budget request of $750 million for the GCF.

We come from different faith traditions, united across theological lines by our deep concern for humanity and all of God’s Creation. We are guided by principles of stewardship, compassion and justice in confronting the moral crisis of our changing climate. The Green Climate Fund represents an important step in global cooperation needed to build a more resilient world and to move us along the path toward a low carbon future.

Our scriptures and religious texts call us to care for God’s creation and our most vulnerable neighbors. We believe that climate change presents an unprecedented threat to all of Creation, but particularly to those living in poverty around the world.

We already witness the impacts of climate change in rising sea levels that threaten small island states, long-term drought and other weather extremes that impact the food security and political stability of Least Developed Countries, and melting glaciers that threaten the water supplies of major cities in the Global South. All of these impacts fall hardest on those with the least means to adapt—people and communities already struggling with poverty and hunger, who are also the least responsible for the greenhouse gas emissions causing earth’s climate to change.

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) represents a new way forward in climate finance to build resilience and stability in the face of the unavoidable impacts of climate change. The core purpose of the GCF is to build the capability of developing nations to limit or reduce their greenhouse gas emissions through low carbon development pathways and to adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change. To fulfill this purpose, the GCF is designed to be innovative, accountable, and compassionate. It is an independent entity with strong fiduciary standards. It is accountable to a board of directors with representatives from donor and recipient countries, including the United States. It includes high levels of transparency and accountability in its structure and governing principles to ensure proper use of its funds.

We are particularly heartened that half of the GCF funds are dedicated to adaptation needs, and with priority given to African nations, small island states, and Least Developed Countries (LDCs), the GCF represents a major commitment by the global community to help vulnerable nations build resilience to climate impacts. Such resilience will increase political stability and protect humble livelihoods of fishing and farming communities, with positive implications for related issues including migration and national security.

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