The majority of Christian evangelicals agree that global warming is man-made and that drastic action needs to be taken now to avoid serious repercussions, according to a study by the Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL).
The New Jersey CCL chapter said that research confirmed a link between religious communities and environmental activism.
“The perspective of the evangelicals is: Human-induced climate change is real, and the consequences of climate change will be significant and will hit the poor the hardest,” Lynn Whitney, CCL member and a local Unitarian Universalist Church leader, told The Daily Record.
Among the major evangelical groups CCL pinpoints as an environmental steward is the Pontifical Academy of Sciences of the Vatican, whose climate report earlier this year startled some Christians with its strict tone.
“We call on all people and nations to recognize the serious and potentially reversible impacts of global warming caused by the anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants," the report said. "If we want justice and peace, we must protect the habitat that sustains us.”
The Vatican report called for three actions: reduce worldwide carbon dioxide emissions, reduce concentrations of air pollutants and prepare to adapt to inevitable climate changes.
“The cost of the three recommended measures pales in comparison to the price the world will pay if we fail to act now,” the report warned.
The ecumenical body, the World Council of Churches (WCC) issued a report in March that warned of massive population migration if the effects of global warming were not curbed.
“An important role for the churches must be to raise the urgency of victims’ rights on each relevant occasion,” the WCC report said. “They should be ready to rock the boat if and where complacency about the suffering of climate change victims becomes dominant, as is frequently the case.”
The WCC claimed thousands would face starvation, homelessness and famine from the large-scale migration global warming is beginning to cause. The challenge is no longer to determine the source of global warming, the WCC report said, but to outline and enact changes that can save thousands of lives.
“Climate change presents challenges at many levels, but it is above all a challenge to the imagination,” the report said. “In order to determine how to avoid immense population displacement, we need first to imagine the kind of world that will permit mass forced migration-and we must then imagine another kind of world.”
Both WCC and CCL reports call for action regardless of religious affiliation because the problem is universal and one of humanity.
CCL N.J. Chapter President Joseph Robertson said moral relativism should be minded in curbing the effects of global warming.
“I think if you believe in a benevolent God, the same God who gave us a sense of morality and compassion, then you would believe that this same God would not want all that was created by God to be degraded,” Robertson told The Daily Record.
“When people put their religious beliefs next to their political beliefs, I think they will realize the right actions to take,” Robertson continued. “If you believe that there is a universal force and that we are all creatures of the earth and all things are connected, it becomes impossible to defend the view that you can do whatever you want and not be morally responsible.”