News about CRCNA Efforts on Climate Change
Chicago: Congregations throughout the U.S. and Canada are working hard to decrease their carbon footprint and increase their energy efficiency. Many successes have already been achieved. For example, Hope CRC in Oak Forest, Ill., a participant in Phase One and Phase Two of the Climate Witness Project, has made a significant effort to to turn the U.S.’s commitment in Paris into concrete action—and just last month it reached a milestone. According to Energy Star’s benchmarking software, Portfolio Manager, Hope’s efforts put it into the 77th percentile of all houses of worship across the U.S. in energy efficiency. Hope CRC is now in the process of having its data confirmed and anticipates becoming the first CRCNA congregation to receive U.S. EPA Energy Star certification. Congratulations, Hope CRC!
Iowa: Climate Witness Partners have been scheduling and conducting legislative visits with their decision makers. Few legislators, however, are as antagonistic toward climate policy than Rep. Steve King of Iowa’s fourth congressional district in northwestern Iowa. This has not deterred the group of Climate Witness Partners there, however, who have already held two meetings with Rep. King’s office to talk about the Paris Agreement and the Green Climate Fund. While Rep. King may not have changed his mind just yet, these advocates are building a relationship and are proving that there are people in his district who are passionate about action on climate change.
Donate to the Climate Witness Project
The Climate Witness Project has made tremendous progress so far and has logged some serious successes. In order to continue this important work, we need you.
We are so grateful for the many ways that you have contributed to the success of the Climate Witness Project. Will you consider also becoming a financial partner? Your gift can be any amount, from $5 to as much as you wish. Whatever you can give, we would welcome the opportunity to partner with you in a new way in this work!
New Advocacy Resource
As many of you continue to build relationships with legislative offices in your communities, a new tool from the Climate Advocacy Lab could be useful. In collaboration with the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, the Climate Advocacy Lab has developed a nationwide map (only for the U.S. at present) of public opinion on a variety of positions regarding climate change. The best part: the map can be broken down according to congressional district. If you are heading off to a meeting with your legislator in the future, peruse the Yale Climate Opinion Map first to get helpful information about public opinion in your district!
NOTE: The publicly available map has data from 2014. Access to more recent data requires login credentials. The co-coordinators of the CWP will be sending more recent data to each regional organizer in the coming days.
Legislative Update: Green Climate Fund
Over the past few months, those of you in the U.S. have advocated for the Green Climate Fund (GCF)—a critical finance mechanism designed to help developing countries reduce their emissions and repair the damage done by climate change. Here is an update on its funding in the U.S. appropriations process.
President Obama requested $750 million in the upcoming fiscal year budget to help the U.S. meet its commitment of $3 billion to the GCF by 2020. The $750 million was meant to be appropriated in the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill. However, language was inserted into the bill during mark-up (review by the Senate Appropriations Committee) to block any funds to the GCF. Senators Merkley and Kirk put forward an amendment, cosponsored by Senators Collins, Udall, Durbin, Leahy, and Shaheen, to strike the anti-GCF language and appropriate $500 million for the GCF. This amendment passed last Wednesday, and the entire bill will now head to the Senate floor for approval. The amendment provided funding in the amount of $500 million because some Senators did not feel there was sufficient support for the full $750 million. We were in contact with senators before the vote, advocating for the amendment and for the full $750 million. We are disappointed that the full amount was not passed, but we are grateful that the Senate did appropriate some money.
US: Thank the Republican Cosponsors of the Green Climate Fund Amendment
The funding for the GCF described above is still alive in the Senate only because of the courageous action of a bipartisan group of senators who chose action on climate concerns over partisan gridlock. There were two Republican cosponsors: Senator Susan Collins of Maine and Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois.
The regional organizer for Chicago, Rev. Phil Leo, and several CRCNA Climate Witness Partners visited Senator Kirk’s office in Chicago to thank him for his leadership.
It would be helpful if you could thank both Republican cosponsors, Senator Kirk and Senator Collins.
Sen. Kirk (R-IL): (202) 224-2854
Sen. Collins (R-ME): (202) 224-2523
Not sure what to say? Here’s a sample script: My name is ___________, and I want to thank the senator for his/her support of the amendment to the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill, which appropriates $500 million to the Green Climate Fund. As a Christian, I believe the Green Climate Fund is a crucial part of responding to the climate crisis with compassion and hope. I and countless others stand with the senator!
Canada: Add Your Voice to Canada’s Climate Consultations
Citizens for Public Justice, a partner of the CWP, is still working to mobilize Canadian Christians to participate in ongoing consultations between the federal government and Canadian citizens about a federal climate plan. Please visit CPJ’s Climate Consultation page and submit your recommendations! A template containing proposed recommendations and an invitation to reflect on your connection to climate change is provided. You may also contact Karri Munn-Venn of Citizens for Public Justice: firstname.lastname@example.org; 613-232-0275 x223.
Calling all West Michigan residents! The Office of Social Justice, in partnership with World Renew and Micah Challenge U.S., is hosting a night of film and music on August 13. The film is called For the Love Of, and it chronicles the journey of four popular evangelical worship leaders to the Paris Climate Talks in 2015.
As they sit down with activists and political leaders, they learn that the climate issue is not primarily about numbers and statistics but about people, communities, and justice. Stephen Roach, one of the featured worship leaders, will be at the screening and will be fielding questions and playing music. Come and join us for what promises to be a powerful event!
August 13, 2016
8 p.m. (doors open at 7:30)
Wealthy Street Theater
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Kyle Meyaard-Schaap, email@example.com
Rev. Richard Killmer, firstname.lastname@example.org
Co-coordinators, Climate Witness Project