CWS Supports New Climate Change Review

December 6, 2018


CWS Supports New Climate Change Review

Report Finds Wealthier Countries are Not Doing Fair Share to Reverse Climate Change

New York City– Church World Service today expressed support for a new report issued by Civil Society Review: After Paris: Inequality, Fair Shares, and The Climate Emergency. The report, released during the UN climate conference in Poland, measures the ‘fair share’ that each country should shoulder in terms of capacity and historical responsibility to reverse climate change. The independent review is supported by social movements, environmental and development NGOs, trade unions, faith and other civil society groups from the world over.

CWS President and CEO Rev. John McCullough issued the following statement:

“CWS welcomes Civil Society Equity Review Report 2018: After Paris: Inequality, Fair Shares, and the Climate Emergency.  The call for an ambitious, equity based global climate plan in which all countries share responsibility for mitigation, adaptation and climate finance,  and where the burden of that responsibility falls on countries and groups who are primarily responsible for causing climate change and who have the resources and capacity to address it is a statement about what is fair and just.

“Given the mounting evidence of climate change all around us, in this year alone, CWS has assisted hurricane affected communities in Florida, Texas and North Carolina, and Haiti.  More than 17,800 cleanup buckets, 29,900 hygiene kits, 10,800 school kits, and up to 7,500 blankets have been provided for communities in the United States and internationally.  We have provided food and nonfood assistance to vulnerable families in Kenya, after extreme flooding displaced more than 244,000 persons and damaged 8,500 acres of arable land planted with crops.  In Viet Nam, our emergency response team reached out to impoverished communities who lost all their meagre possessions after dramatic flash floods swept through their villages.  CWS is now giving support and relief to desperate Central Americans who, in addition to fleeing violence and human rights violations in Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador, have in recent years undergone alternating cycles of drought and flooding, and who this year also experienced extreme rainfall and flash flooding which, across the region affected 187 thousand people and caused millions of dollars’ worth of damage of agricultural crops and lands.

“What do these communities all have in common?  From Haiti to Vietnam, Nicaragua to Nairobi, they are now bound by a common, extreme vulnerability to climate change – a problem which is not of their making, but for which they must increasingly prepare.  They are also characterized by systemic poverty and inequality, evidence of which is disturbingly and increasingly evident not just overseas, but right here in these United States.

“It is unconscionable that the burden of climate change falls on communities which earn somewhere between US $2.00 – $20.00 a day.  It is morally unjust that the wealthiest 10% of the global population receives more than half of global income and that they are also responsible for more than 50% of the global emissions that cause climate change.   Ninety percent of the global population should not have to pay the price for the negative climate issues created by the one percent,  nor should race, ethnicity, zip codes, or other forms of structural discrimination be the determining factors for impending calamity caused by climate change.  Tragically, women and children, refugees and migrants, the urban and rural poor who already face considerable challenges to preserve dignity, livelihoods and property in the midst of conflict and war, are now additionally burdened by rapid or slow onset extreme weather disasters.  These are the realities which now confront humanitarian relief, action on risk reduction and mitigation, and disaster preparedness.

“There is no more time for prevarication about science or doubt. Rising temperatures, extreme weather and changing of weather patterns are the results of human caused climate change. The evidence is clear.  We affirm the report’s call for practical action but also remind leaders everywhere that moral nations do everything possible to create a world where neither the environment or their citizens need protecting. Whenever there is vulnerability, leaders must act decisively.”