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Climate Change: ICCR Members Review Past Work and Plan for 2018-19 Corporate Engagement Season July 18th, 2018
By Frank Sherman
The ICCR Climate Change Workgroup met in mid-June, hosted by the Nathan Cummings Foundation, an ICCR member in NYC, to evaluate the progress over the past year and chart out a path forward for the 2018-19 corporate engagement season. We took time to reflect on the social and faith trends; review the political and economic landscape; and map the growing investor actions on climate. We then evaluated our progress over the past couple years before developing a SWOT analysis, mission and vision. In the afternoon, we discussed the path forward by re-directing the existing programs and discussing some new areas to pursue.
Jake Barnett (Morgan Stanley Graystone), together with Mary Beth Gallagher (Tri-State CRI), presented the climate justice perspective by describing the disproportionate adverse impacts climate change has on vulnerable communities. These include decreased agricultural production due to drought resulting in increased migration, disproportionate impacts on women, increased disease burdens due to intensified heat and insect-borne diseases, and displacement from intensified storms due to lack of resilience (e.g. Hurricane Harvey and Maria). In addition, roughly 1.1 billion people lack access to electricity, making the provision of clean, affordable energy essential for communities trying to escape poverty. Unlike secular asset managers, the faith community can elevate climate change from a partisan political discourse to a moral issue that we are all called to address. We need to be bold and exhibit urgency by leveraging partner organizations (Human Rights Watch, Earth Justice, Sierra Club, etc.), and put a human face on the climate change impacts.
Aaron Ziulkowski (Walden Asset) provided the political and economic overview noting that, despite growing awareness, global GHG emissions continue to rise, although they have leveled off in OECD (developed) countries. The national commitments made in Paris fall short of the 2 degree scenario and get the world nowhere near the 1.5 degree ambition. Transportation has replaced electricity production as the top emitter in the U.S. due to the displacement of coal by natural gas. Despite the White House announced withdraw from Paris, several states have set targets for GHG reduction, renewable energy and CAFÉ standards (which reduce auto emissions) that exceed federal standards. Japan, the EU, China and India continue to increase CAFÉ standards while Trump’s EPA rolls back U.S. targets. The EPA is being sued for rolling back methane emissions standards in oil & gas production. Economists are confident that economics wins over politics with the cost of unsubsidized wind and solar electrical power now competitive with fossil fuels. We agreed to step up public advocacy and pressure corporations to do the same if the U.S. wants to remain competitive in a low carbon world.
World’s Scientists Issue urgent Warning on Climate Change October 3rd, 2013
Last week, the highly esteemed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its latest assessment of the science behind human-caused climate change. For the first time, the IPCC has offered guidance on the amount of CO2 that can still be put into the atmosphere and still stay below the temperature rise of 2 decrees Celsius: about 1 trillion tons more. The IPCC—which is made up of thousands of the world’s leading climate scientists from more than 120 countries—is now 95% certain that human activities are causing climate change. Previously, the scientists had been 90% certain.
In response to this report, Dr. Kevin Ahern, assistant professor of religious studies at Manhattan College, wrote The Moral Imperative to Act for Climate Justice. There, Dr. Ahern says that [t]he IPCC report draws attention to two facts that call Catholics and all people of good will to action, and highlights the work of the Coalition as an example of how Catholics are faithfully addressing climate change. It should be noted that the U.S. Catholic bishops used the third IPCC report as the basis for their call to action by the Catholic community when they wrote their 2001 statement, Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence and the Common Good.
The UK charity, Christian Aid, is urging governments to heed the warnings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). According to Independent Catholic News, Christian Aid’s Senior Climate Change Advisor, Dr. Alison Doig, warns that people in developing countries are already facing the grim reality of a changing climate [and says that t]his report demonstrates the urgent action needed to stop climate change in its tracks by committing to rapidly reducing global carbon emissions.”
Thanks to the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change for this information.
Climate Justice for a Changing Planet December 8th, 2009
Climate Justice for a Changing Planet: A Primer for Policy Makers and NGOs shines a light on the important intersection of equity and justice in the context of the current climate change debate. This new publication from the United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS) explores climate justice as an emerging concept and as a key to understanding the global debate. The book demonstrates that climate justice is not only an ethical imperative, but also an economic and social one.
In an effort to further highlight the issue and to develop further understanding of the concept, NGLS has also launched a series of guest articles and interviews with climate justice experts and advocates. This series will continue through January of 2010. The series and more information can be found at www.un-ngls.org/climatejustice
Ring Your Church Bells Sunday December 13th – Send a Message to Copenhagen! December 3rd, 2009
International climate change talks are set to start in Copenhagen on December 7th, and the Earth’s future is at stake. It’s time for us to do everything we can to ensure that the world community emerges from Copenhagen with a just, binding, science-based climate treaty.
Caritas Internationalis and the World Council of Churches are calling on Christians around the world to ring our church bells on Sunday, December 13th to show solidarity with our brothers and sisters around the globe who already are experiencing the devastating effects of climate change.