President Donald Trump on March 28 signed an executive order instructing regulators to rewrite rules aimed at curbing carbon emissions and other environmental regulations at the center of the previous administration’s policies to combat global warming. 

A coalition of Episcopal bishops who have worked on environmental issues immediately issued a statement in response to Trump’s executive order. 

“We know there is widespread support for the environment protections and measures that seek to curb climate change across the House of Bishops and in dioceses and congregations across the Church,” said California Bishop Marc Andrus, who drafted the statement.

Bishops from across the Episcopal Church have continued to sign on, including Bishop Breidenthal. The full list of signatories can be seen at episcopaldigitalnetwork.com.

The full statement follows:

We live in a time of unprecedented global change spanning scientific discovery, technological innovation, and human development. This extraordinary moment offers an equally unprecedented opportunity to leverage our abundant resources for positive and scalable societal impact. As bishops of the Episcopal Church, we believe that climate change menaces the lifeblood of our economy, our national security, and the very future of humanity and that of many other species, and the United States of America must rise to the occasion to confront this enormous threat, assuming a leadership role in partnership with the community of nations. We consider this a matter of profound spiritual importance and a manifestation of our call to be stewards of God’s creation.

We are faith leaders who believe in the scientific community’s overwhelming finding that climate change is real, human-caused, and undeniably destructive to human society and the priceless ecology of our planet. To effectively address this threat, Americans must act at local, state, national, and international levels to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and support communities impacted by climate change. Since its founding, our great nation has rigorously strived to craft policy based on the best available science of our time. The Trump Administration’s unique departure from this tradition, through the rolling back of critical climate change policy, endangers the lives of American citizens everywhere.

Climate change mitigation and economic productivity are mutually supported, interconnected goals, and by drastically curtailing our work on climate mitigation, President Trump’s Executive Order on Climate Change leaves America vulnerable to national security, economic, and environmental threats. As we witness the detrimental effects of climate change on national infrastructure, financial productivity, and global stability, we also recognize the inherent economic potential of clean and renewable energy technologies. International economic competitors like China are already seizing proven investments and energy development opportunities in wind and solar to challenge American energy production. Now is the time to look forward – not back – and channel the spirit of American enterprise to mitigate climate change while adopting and developing technologies that harness and sustain God’s creation.

We live in a moment that demands urgent action. In the Episcopal Church alone, our members are already experiencing hunger, drought, and human loss due to climate change. From the Alaska Native Gwich’in hunter facing food insecurity as winter approaches to the Navajo grandmother praying for drought relief, Episcopalians are eager to confront our changing climate through local action and national policy.

While Obama-era policies can be improved under our current Administration, rolling back environmental safeguards without replacing them with strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions further exacerbates climate change’s impacts. As Episcopal bishops, we call on the Trump Administration to protect the American people through implementing, strengthening, and improving critical climate change policies in our national agenda, building an American dream that courageously confronts the climate crisis. As former Secretary of State and Episcopalian George Shultz said in November of 2016, we must act on climate change “for our children and our grandchildren,” for the generations who come after us on the Earth.

Published by Episcopal News Service, March 28, 2017, www.episcopaldigitalnetwork.com

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