Richard Cizik Finds Climate Faith in Leadership

Richard Cizik, President of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, has worked for decades on issues of climate and broader creation care initiatives. It comes at no surprise that he made his way to Paris this past month for #COP21, speaking at various conferences other people of faith and leaders from around the world. Cizik shared that proceedings were a tremendous step in the right direction for climate leadership to develop real plans of action over the next five years. 

The monumental agreement between 196 countries has put the planet on the right track, but Cizik contends that people of faith must break their addiction to fossil fuels and take action on climate change in the coming years through real world initiatives that will change the way we behave. To enact such massive shift of culture, Cizik contends that leadership is needed. Cizik wrote, "the one community with the clout to make COP 21 pronouncements a reality are the world’s faith communities."

Faithful must lead the break from fossil fuels

Richard Cizik

This past week I joined a group of 17 interfaith leaders and more than 30,000 delegates and media at COP 21 (Conference of Parties) in Bourget outside of Paris, to witness whether 195 countries could find consensus on a plan to reduce their planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions.

The answer is now clear—an historic agreement was reached.

According to the Woods Hole Research Center, “The good news is that nothing like this has happened before (Have 196 countries ever agreed to anything?). The bad news: the Paris commitments are largely non-binding, but they are a good start.”

The agreement will push countries to pursue efforts to:

Limit the global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change;

Increase the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience;

Allow finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate resistant development.

This was a big win for climate change activists; President Obama, who pushed hard for an agreement; and religious leaders such as Pope Francis and millions of citizens who have worked so hard for so long to get us to this point. It’s a big win for Planet Earth and all future generations.

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