UMC's Commitment to Achieving Net-Zero Emissions

December 05, 2023 • Larry Kane

Today is the day God cares for the integrity of creation, wills the healing and wholeness of all life, weeps at the plunder of earth’s goodness. And so shall we. (Companion Litany to Our Social Creed)

The United Methodist Church has long affirmed our individual and collective responsibility to address the unfolding climate crisis. We are called by our faith, informed by science, and led by our relationships with impacted communities to respond with renewed urgency.

As we answer this call, we are reminded that God has asked us to take care of creation and be good stewards of natural resources (Genesis 2:15). Moreover, we echo the Wesleyan tradition expressed in Charles Wesley’s poetical verses—“Author of every work divine, Who dost thro’ both creations shine, The God of nature and of grace” (Hymn XXVIII, Hymns of Petition and Thanksgiving for the Promise of the Father, 1746)—as well as John Wesley’s engagement with both natural science and the sacredness of nature (Sermons, “The New Creation,” 1785). More recently, the Council of Bishops exhorted United Methodists to seek the renewal of creation, stating, “We cannot help the world until we change our way of being in it” (God’s Renewed Creation: A Call to Hope and Action, 2009). Recognizing that the climate crisis is a global challenge that requires global solutions, we are open to working with ecumenical partners in this endeavor. As United Methodists, we will continue to preach, teach, advocate, and witness for climate action globally. And we understand that we must do more. Recognizing our connection to and complicity in systems of oppression and exploitation, we commit to new ways of ministry that better embody God’s vision of justice for God’s people and God’s planet.

Within our distinct areas of ministry and throughout our global connection, we are embarking on a new course of action to match the urgency of this moment. We will work both to reduce the principal cause of climate disruption—greenhouse gas emissions— and to support a just and equitable transition that dismantles structural barriers to racial and gender equity and builds resilient, flourishing communities.

We (the undersigned) pledge to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 across ministries, facilities, operations, and investments and to leverage the gifts of our connection putting equity and justice at the center as we build a net-zero emission economy by 2050.

In a time of profound change and anxiety in our church and in communities around the world, we know that the creativity and healing of the Holy Spirit is already in mission among us.

The life of sanctification in Christ constantly calls us into reconciled relationship with God and with all of God’s creation. Today we answer this call with determination and humility and invite all United Methodists to join us in this life-sustaining work.

Signatories on behalf of the endorsing agency (as of April 16, 2021)

Rev. Jeffrey Campbell, Acting General Secretary, Discipleship Ministries

Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe, General Secretary, General Board of Church and Society

Roland Fernandes, General Secretary, General Board of Global Ministries

Rev. Greg Bergquist, General Secretary, General Board of Higher Education and Ministry

Ashley Boggan Dreff, General Secretary, General Commission on Archives and History

Dawn Wiggins Hare, General Secretary, General Commission on the Status and Role of Women

A. Moses Rathan Kumar, General Secretary, General Council on Finance and Administration

Dan Krause, General Secretary, United Methodist Communications

Gilbert C. Hanke, General Secretary, United Methodist Men

Harriett Jane Olson, General Secretary, United Methodist Women

Barbara Boigegrain, General Secretary, Wespath Benefits and Investments

[Bold emphases added by L. Kane]

Larry Kane