Dear President Biden,
As people of faith and conscience from across the United States, we urge you to bring the full power and persuasion of the U.S. government to achieve agreement at COP28 in Dubai to rapidly cut emissions and keep global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees. We ask you to also ensure that the U.S. does our fair share to support developing nations and people on the front lines of extreme climate impacts by scaling up funding, investments, and clean technology transfer.
As Pope Francis has written in his latest Apostolic Exhortation, Laudate Deum, “With the passage of time, I have realized that our responses have not been adequate, while the world in which we live is collapsing and may be nearing the breaking point. In addition to this possibility, it is indubitable that the impact of climate change will increasingly prejudice the lives and families of many persons.”
To lead by example, the U.S. must take bold action and make serious and ambitious investments. U.S. faith communities are proving this can be done, cutting emissions in their own facilities and supporting vulnerable people and communities in the U.S. and globally. Fueled by a sense of moral responsibility to care for our neighbors, our common home, and protect our children’s future, congregations and families around the country are reducing their climate pollution.
The U.S. must have domestic policy in place to curb our own emissions, and we strongly support the implementation of investments in the Inflation Reduction Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. We also support administrative actions to reduce carbon pollution including strong rules related to methane, vehicles, and power plants. Any proposal that fast tracks or expands fossil fuel infrastructure, like oil pipelines, moves us further away from reaching our climate goals and harms our beloved communities on the frontlines. As we move towards a clean energy future, impacted communities must be centered in the discussion.
This year’s COP comes at a critical moment. We are witnessing the tragic effects of climate change play out around the world as climate disasters intensify. It is affecting every community on Earth, but it is the poor and historically disenfranchised who are least responsible for the problem who suffer the most. These are the very people our faith traditions call us to care for; their lives are of utmost moral concern.
As the wealthiest country in the world and the country that has emitted more carbon pollution than any other, the U.S. has a moral responsibility to solve this crisis and to commit to our fair share. We urge you to lead the world to a safer, more sustainable future where all our children and all of God’s Creation can thrive.
We now ask the U.S. government to make the following commitments and advance these priorities during the COP28 negotiations:
We are prepared to partner with you to help solve the climate crisis as we care for the needs of the most vulnerable. We pray for the moral leadership of the U.S. government at this critical moment. Please lead the nations of the world to a meaningful and lasting agreement to protect our climate on behalf of all of us and for the future of our children and the generations yet to come.
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