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    Climate Action Plan Westward Group Energy Alternatives Paris Blog

    White House, Faith Leaders and Climate Change

    On February 25, the White House convened a conference on environmental stewardship and climate change with leaders of religious communities from around the U.S. There was a noticeable absence of panelists representing some groups, such as the Native Americans, the Jews and the Buddhists. There were references to God's Earth and Creation as unifying concepts throughout the event although such concepts are not universally accepted by all religions. Still, the event was highly significant in the consensus it conveyed: The climate is simultaneously an environmental, social justice and moral issue that requires urgent action. The White House is to be commended for convening this timely gathering to mobilize support from faith leaders to address the deepening climate crisis.

    The event highlighted President Obama's Climate Action Plan which focuses on cutting carbon pollution in the U.S., preparing the country for impacts of climate change and leading international efforts to combat global climate change. The statistic that in 2012 U.S. carbon emissions fell to the lowest level in two decades, "even as the economy continued to grow," was reiterated as a sign of progress in the right direction. There was an exhortation to embrace a bottom-up approach to climate protection throughout the event. Faith based leaders were encouraged to motivate their congregations to participate in the ENERGY STAR Program of the government which seeks to reduce energy costs and related greenhouse gas emission by 20 percent by 2020.

    Although the White House event on February 25 could not provide room for deeper investigation of issues underlying climate change and environmental stewardship, broader views and discussion are essential. Can climate change be addressed from the bottom-up without top down change in the political-economic system? Moral stewardship of the environment cannot be limited to the faith-based actors. What are the moral obligations of big business, the dominant actor in the contemporary world?

    Read more: huffingtonpost.com/asoka-bandarage/white..

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