by Lynn Jobe, Aug 21, 2020

Creation Justice Movement – Federal Legislation to Address the Climate Crisis 

How many crises can Americans handle?  Covid, racial injustice, climate.  Additionally, maybe you have the personal crisis of losing a job in the recent economic slump due to the virus.  It is enough to make us all want to stop and give up. It is a test of our faith which tells us that somehow, someway with guidance from above, we can find a better way.

As Americans, we value our ability to take care of ourselves and our families.  As United Methodists we have the responsibility to take care of our neighbors.  How do we do these things among the circumstances we face?  Beyond our Church friends on whom we can always rely, there is another organization whose role is to take care of the big stuff so we can devote our resources toward the stuff at home.  That organization is the United States government.

As citizens, we have an opportunity to guide this organization on November 3, 2020.  It seems to me that part of responding to the crises we face includes asking the United States government to be on the side of the people.  Of the people, by the people, for the people.  As a community, voting is the single most powerful response we have to support our families and our neighbors.

I will leave the Covid crisis and the racial injustice to others.  These issues are alarming and serious, but my knowledge beyond yours is non-existent.  I might, however, know some things about the climate crisis and our potential response, that you do not know.  It may not seem possible, as it is not preventing us from living today, but in the long run, the climate crisis is perhaps the most serious of all because it will ultimately impact all life on Earth if unaddressed.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), we need to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to near zero by 2050.  The IPCC says we need to take steps now in order to make this difficult objective possible.  Stop and think of the ways we all put CO2 into the air.  Our car, energy for our home, our airline flights, our share to keep the produce at the grocery cool and on and on.  Sound impossible?  Should we just give up now and pull the sod over our heads?  Well no, we should not.

It turns out that there are two bills in the current 116th Congress, if either were passed into law, would reduce CO2 to near zero by 2050.  These bills are written in the language of law.  All that is needed to take a giant step forward to meet the climate crisis is to make one of these bills the law of our land.  Further, both of these bills are progressive in nature in regard to protecting the poor and the middle class.  Based on a study by the Federal Legislative Team of the Creation Justice Movement, both of these bills meet the criteria established by the Social Principles of the United Methodist Church.

The foundational concept of both these bills, place a price on carbon and return the money collected equally per person to Americans, is the preferred concept supported by most leading economists.  In fact, all four past living chairpersons of the Federal Reserve supported this concept as the best concept to address climate change in an article published by the Wall Street Journal.  The bills are named the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, H.R. 763 and the Climate Action Rebate Act, S. 2284.  

So, what are we waiting for?  Let’s use the power we have to send representatives to Washington in January 2021 who want to address the climate crisis.  Our votes are our voices and can make a difference for the world we live in.  A plan, a good plan, a plan supported by scientists, a plan supported by leading economists, a plan that takes care of the least of these, a plan that lives up to the criteria of the United Methodist Social Principles, a plan that gives our children a livable planet.  The plan exists currently in bill form in the 116th Congress.  All we need are the votes of those we send to Washington to, in the words of Neil Armstrong, take “one giant leap for mankind”. 

The Federal Climate Legislative team has been hard at work since the 2019 Nashville Creation Care Summit. Their charge was to identify federal legislation that reverses the climate crisis. They have submitted this comprehensive report that reviews federal climate legislation and identifies three bills that will be effective in reducing greenhouse gases to the level recommended by the International Panel on Climate Change and that are consistent with the Social Principles of The United Methodist Church. The team is looking for input to review and strengthen its proposals and to help shape the process we might use to integrate it into our overall strategic efforts. Please respond to this survey with your feedback. (Note: You will need an account with the Global Ministries Creation Care Network to access this survey. If you don’t have one already, just click the link and follow the steps to set up your free account.) Your ideas and perspective are needed! Contact Lynn Jobe at kl.jobe@gmail.com if you are interested in being part of this federal climate policy team or if you know others who would be helpful in this federal policy review process!