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MRTI supports climate change declaration

‘America is All In’ urges Biden administration to embrace Paris Agreement and other steps

by Darla Carter | Presbyterian News Service

Rob Fohr, at left, lead staff person to the Committee on Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI), participates in a panel discussion last year during an international climate change conference in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Sue Rheem)

LOUISVILLE — As the fifth anniversary of the signing of the Paris Agreement nears, the faith-based investing and corporate engagement arm of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has joined 1,500 U.S. entities in signing a letter affirming a commitment to global climate action.

The America is All In declaration calls on the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden to join the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Committee on Mission Responsibility through Investment other signers from around the country to commit to take steps to combat climate change and ensure the country’s safety and prosperity.

The declaration calls for taking immediate action to rejoin the Paris Agreement, an international climate change treaty that the Trump administration opted to exit but the Biden administration has pledged to re-enter, according to We Are Still In, the coalition that organized the declaration.

“Despite a lack of political leadership in recent years, We Are Still In indicates a long-term commitment and willingness to address the climate crisis and calls for contributions from all spheres, from the federal level to corporate,” said Rob Fohr, director of the Office of Faith-Based Investing and Corporate Engagement for the PC(USA).

In addition to embracing the Paris Agreement, the America is All In declaration recommends committing the United States to a trajectory of net zero emissions by no later than 2050, taking the necessary actions to achieve a 100% clean energy power sector as soon as it’s feasible, and reimagining community partnership to advance just and equitable climate solutions and build resilience to climate change.

The declaration is signed by leaders from local governments, businesses, universities, faith-based groups, health-care organizations, and other entities committed to placing climate considerations at the core of their institutions.

There are “multiple pandemics facing us: structural racism, the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic crisis,” Fohr said in a written statement. “We welcome the opportunity to re-commit to addressing the climate crisis and doing our part to achieve these goals through the corporate engagement work of the Committee on Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI).”

The declaration will be delivered to the Biden administration, and to United Nations officials and global heads of state at the Climate Ambition Summit on Saturday, Dec. 12, the five-year anniversary of world powers coming together to adopt the Paris Agreement. The virtual summit is being co-hosted by the UN, United Kingdom and France in partnership with Chile and Italy.

The main goal of the Paris Agreement is “to limit global warming to well below 2 (degrees Celsius), preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels,” according to United Nations Climate Change.

According to America is All In, wildfires and other climate-fueled disasters have impacted the lives and well-being of millions of Americans since 2017, the year We Are Still In was launched and issued its original statement on climate action. MRTI was an early signatory in 2017.

The 2020 declaration notes, “Tackling the climate crisis is essential to help our nation recover from these crises by creating good paying jobs for millions of Americans, fostering U.S. energy innovation, increasing our national security, and protecting the health and well-being of present and future generations.”

MRTI is part of the Compassion, Peace and Justice ministries of the Presbyterian Mission Agency.

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