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NC Faith Leaders Call on U.S. to Pay 'Fair Share' for Climate-Related Loss


Monday, June 20, 2022   

Faith and climate leaders convene in Charlotte this week, as the Southeast Climate and Energy Network and US Climate Action Network join forces.

They're asking the nation to pay its fair share to help communities feeling the worst effects of climate change.

Rev. Michael Malcom is the executive director of the Birmingham, Alabama-based People's Justice Council.

He pointed out that Black, Brown and other historically vulnerable communities are disproportionately experiencing loss and damage from climate disasters - and are the least likely to have the resources to rebuild.

"All of us in the South, I would say, are aware of the effects of climate change," said Malcom, "because we are the ones that are being hit - I would say the hardest - particularly in the gulf region."

Research shows warming global temperatures will likely make parts of the southern U.S. more tropical, fostering the spread of insect-borne diseases and invasive species, extreme temperatures and heavy rain events.

North Carolina ranks in the top five states that have experienced billion dollar weather disasters since 1980.

Susannah Tuttle is the director of the North Carolina Council of Churches Eco-Justice Connection Program, and is community liaison for the USCAN's Fair Share program.

She said as the second-highest emitter of carbon emissions in the world, the U.S. can make good on its promises and help ensure that financial assets are used to promote shared welfare in a changing climate.

"It is an absolute moral imperative to end investment in climate destruction," said Tuttle. "All people of faith and spirituality with a role in the financial system have a responsibility to create action immediately, to put the world on a path to a just and sustainable future."

Rev. Malcom said he believes religious groups have a role to play in educating the public on how climate change is affecting their lives.

"And I think communities of faith, that's where we can be most impactful, in helping to control that narrative," said Malcom. "If we can become hubs of resilience, hubs of restoration."

A Morning Consult poll released last year found nationwide, 60% of Christians and 79% of Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish and Muslim Americans believe passing legislation to address climate change and its effects should be a top priority for Congress.

Disclosure: North Carolina Council of Churches contributes to our fund for reporting on Environment, Health Issues, Immigrant Issues, Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

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