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Climate and Sustainability

Basics

Over the last 30 years, Texans of all walks of life have become more concerned about human impacts on the environment. Increasingly, stories about environmental destruction and its effects on human health dominate the news and people are feeling those impacts in very real ways—in bans on fishing due to mercury contamination, in increasing asthma rates, and in ozone pollution days in Dallas and Houston, for example.

To fuel our modern lifestyle, forests are cleared, toxic waste dumped...

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Over the last 30 years, Texans of all walks of life have become more concerned about human impacts on the environment. Increasingly, stories about environmental destruction and its effects on human health dominate the news and people are feeling those impacts in very real ways—in bans on fishing due to mercury contamination, in increasing asthma rates, and in ozone pollution days in Dallas and Houston, for example.

To fuel our modern lifestyle, forests are cleared, toxic waste dumped into rivers, and chemicals spewed into the air. We are using the earth’s resources faster than they can be replenished, and scientists tell us that global warming is the biggest environmental crisis that we have faced, not just in our time, but in the entire history of human civilization. Our diverse religious traditions share a common call for people to care for the earth and live in respectful balance with other animals and people.

Texas continues to have more renewable energy potential than any other state, but in recent years clean energy discussions have taken a back seat to concern about electric reliability. Meanwhile, though cheap natural gas, made possible in large part by Texas’ controversial hydraulic fracturing—or “fracking”—boom, has kept energy costs low, fracking has left many communities and landowners dealing with collateral damage and unsustainable change.

Renewable energy continues to be key in addressing many of the concerns that Texas faces and will face. As renewable technologies become more cost-competitive and concerns about fracking mount, legislators should recommit to making Texas the nation’s clean energy leader and update the state’s clean energy goals. Texas’ long-term plan for electric reliability must include a commitment to clean energy that promotes long-term energy independence, human health, and care for God’s creation.

The state’s focus on electricity supply has elevated interest in energy efficiency and other demand reducing measures. Lawmakers should place particular emphasis on consumer-directed efficiency programs that yield benefits for the grid and the individual ratepayer. Too often, energy efficiency programs take a one-size-fits-all approach that rewards the heaviest users while minimizing the significance of small consumers. Legislators should affirm that energy efficiency is a community-wide effort, and craft policies that make energy efficiency attractive and effective for all ratepayers, including those who are low-income or otherwise disadvantaged.



 

 

When people think of the future of climate change action, hopeful individuals might imagine zero emission transportation, industries built on and around renewables, and a mitigated anthropogenic footprint on the climate. But that future won’t come soon enough for the lived realities of climate vulnerable communities around the world that bear the brunt of the extreme impacts from climate change like Jakarta, Fiji...or even Houston. These vulnerable communities rely on climate financing—specifically financing for adaptation—to respond to and survive while facing these negative impacts.

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COP 23Engage

Mary Robinson, first woman President of Ireland (1990-1997) speaking on the role of women leaders in climate action 

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A Yardstick and a Grass Mat

Photo: Rev. James Bhagwan of the United Methodist Church in Fiji describes the Tanaloa custom and the grass mat that Fijians use to hold community dialogue

The Paris Agreement is built on the expectation that the global community will take increasingly significant steps to address climate change over the next several decades—so the initial commitments countries have made to reduce emissions are just baby steps. The process of gradually ratcheting emissions reductions globally is called the “arc of ambition.”

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COP 23EngageTXIPL

Exactly one year ago today, the participants of COP 22 in Marrakech woke up to the news that America had elected Donald Trump 45th president of the United States. That election caused trepidation and worry across the international climate community, and the world waited to see what all of it meant for climate talks.

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The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is an international treaty with the objective of stabilizing greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent anthropogenic (man-made) interference with the climate system. The treaty entered into force in 1994, but it is not a legally binding document, rather, it is a framework for negotiating other international treaties and agreements that are enforceable as they relate to GHG emissions.

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a packed house for the open dialogue between parties and non-party stakeholders at COP23

Representatives of national governments that are parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meet with non-party stakeholders in the first-ever COP open dialogue between parties and representatives of civil society.

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COP 23Engage

The 23rd conference of the parties (COP 23) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) began on November 6th in Bonn, Germany. The annual COP serves as a meeting point for national delegations and negotiators, international NGO’s, scientists, business leaders, faith-based organizations, and activists comprising over 10,000 attendees from all over the world. The presiding nation over COP 23 is Fiji, but because of a lack of capacity in part due to effects of extreme weather on the island nation, the seat of the UNFCCC in Germany is the venue.

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COP 23Engage

The world is gathering in Bonn, Germany this weekend for the 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP23) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.  The island nation of Fiji has the conference presidency and promises to infuse the conference with their Bula Spirit.  Bula is both a greeting and a blessing of wellness and happiness.  The Bula Spirit is o

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Event Date: 
Monday, June 26, 2017 - 6:00pm

Our friends at Christ the King Evangelical Lutheran Church in Houston invite you to attend Sunday Evening Conversations on Creation, an environmental education web meeting series whose theme in 2017 is Connections between People and Nature.

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