UMW commends Obama on climate plan

All creation is under the authority of God and all creation is interdependent. Our covenant with God requires us to be stewards, protectors, and defenders of all creation. The use of natural resources is a universal concern and responsibility of all as reflected in Psalm 24:1: “The Earth is the Lord’s and everything in it."  — #1026, The 2012 Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church

NEW YORK, N.Y. — The head of United Methodist Women (UMW) commended President Obama on his plan to help curb climate change, focusing on energy providers and laying out comprehensive changes to the way the country consumes energy.

I commend President Obama for using his moral authority and political power as head of state to move our nation forward in our urgent need to address climate change.

“I commend President Obama for using his moral authority and political power as head of state to move our nation forward in our urgent need to address climate change,” said Harriett Olson, UMW chief executive. “In this time of deep need to transform our economy and our sources of energy, we recognize, like President Obama, that the eyes of the future are on us."

Olson pointed out that given the limited political space President Obama has in which to operate, UMW appreciates his willingness to move in multiple directions in addressing both the causes of climate change as well as its consequences. “We need a far-ranging, comprehensive approach in terms of both domestic and international policy if we are to adequately meet the challenge before us,” she said.

Overwhelming evidence

Overwhelming evidence shows that the fossil-fuel-based economy threatens the earth, its ecologies and its people, according to Olson. She said the more dependent the economy becomes on fossil fuels, more ecologically harsher techniques are used to extract oil and gas. She said extraction and the gas drilling technique fracking degrade land, water and air.

We need to transform our economy, our energy needs and sources, and our economy's relationship with the natural world.

“We need to transform our economy, our energy needs and sources, and our economy's relationship with the natural world,” Olson said.

UMW is encouraged by the announcement that the Environmental Protection Agency will craft regulations to cover emissions from existing coal-fired power plants. Olson called investing in energy efficiency and other climate-transition measures a wise economic course that will create jobs and contribute to economic vitality for all.

”It also makes prudent economic sense to stop providing tax subsidies to the petroleum industry,” Olson said.

Concerns to address

Though encouraged that large-scale changes are being proposed, UMW has the following concerns:

  • Calls the president’s goal of a 17% reduction in carbon emissions by 2020 too conservative.
  • Opposes further investment in nuclear energy in the United States or internationally.
  • Questions use of fracking as a safe alternative to coal and oil.
  • Cautions against approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
  • Urges the president to go further in halting new investments in fossil fuels at the World Bank and regional development banks.
  • Urges the United States to give greater priority to addressing energy needs of the poorest and most vulnerable among us in international negotiations.

Editor's note: United Methodist Women is the largest denominational faith organization for women with approximately 800,000 members whose mission is fostering spiritual growth, developing leaders and advocating for justice. Members raise up to $20 million each year for programs and projects related to women, children and youths in the United States and in more than 100 countries around the world.

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