On the heels of the White House’s announcement that the United States has made its first $500 million contribution to the Green Climate Fund more than 120 faith-based organizations called on Congress to continue to support the effort in the fiscal year 2017 federal budget.
In a letter to members of Congress April 11, the organizations — including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops — urged Congress to approve an allocation of $750 million in President Barack Obama’s budget plan submitted in February.
The contributions are part of the four-year $3-billion U.S. pledge to the fund, which is helping developing countries respond to climate change.
The groups urged congressional action because rising sea levels, caused by a changing climate, threaten small island nations and that extreme weather is occurring more frequently around the world, endangering food security and the political stability of least developed countries.
“Our scriptures and religious texts call us to care for God’s creation and our most vulnerable neighbors,” the letter said. “We believe that climate change presents an unprecedented threat to all of creation, but particularly to those living in poverty around the world.”
Budget negotiations are in the early stages in both houses of Congress. The new fiscal year begins Oct. 1.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change established the fund in 2010. It particularly funds countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, especially least developed nations, small island developing states and African nations.
The fund gained wide support during the climate meeting in December in Paris. While the most advanced countries have committed to provide $100 billion annually for mitigation and adaptation programs within a decade, by mid-March countries had contributed a bit more than $10 billion to the fund.
The fund is allocating about half of its money for mitigation efforts and half to help communities adapt to the changing climate.
Catholic organizations signing the letter include Catholic Climate Covenant, Catholic Relief Services, Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, Conference of Major Superiors of Men, Dominican Sisters of Hope, Franciscan Action Network, Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States, Leadership Conference of Women Religious, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, Network, a Catholic social justice lobby, School Sisters of Notre Dame Cooperative Investment Fund, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas’ Institute Justice Team and Society of St. Ursula, American region.