In 2022, in partnership with the Board of Church and Society and United Women in Faith, the UMCJM Advocacy Working Team focused primarily on pushing for passage of a climate bill in Congress that would reduce carbon emissions in a just and equitable way. After many frustrating starts and stops, Congress finally passed a significant piece of legislation with the Inflation Reduction Act in August. Though far from perfect, the bill does include approximately $375 billion in incentives to push the American economy toward a clean energy future. And for the first time, churches will be able to take full advantage of financial incentives to take steps to lower their own carbon footprint.
In 2023, our advocacy work will focus in four areas:
First, we will urge Congress to establish robust funding to assist lower-wealth countries who are experiencing the devastating impacts of climate change in spite of contributing very little to its causes. The recent COP 27 UN Climate Summit in Egypt authorized establishment of a “Loss and Damage” fund for this purpose. We will lobby for the U.S. to pay its “fair share” in support of that fund.
Second, we will push for full and just implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act. This will include educating United Methodist churches about the Direct Payment Reimbursements available to them for 30% or more of the cost of installing solar power on their buildings. It will also include advocating that states and cities participate fully in the implementation of the IRA in ways that maximize a positive impact for communities (often communities of color) that have historically been most affected by air pollution and climate change.
Third, we will advocate for strong Executive Branch action for just protection of creation as the EPA establishes rules related to greenhouse gas emissions and other forms of pollution. We will use the UMCJM monthly newsletter to present action alerts in this and the above areas of advocacy.
Our fourth area of focus will be that of encouraging and training fellow United Methodists to be engaged in creation justice advocacy with city and state governments.
If you would like to participate in the Advocacy Working Team, be in touch with Rev. Paul Slentz at email@example.com.