80th General Convention officially opposes new fossil-fuel infrastructure and endorses a Green New Deal

Episcopal Church leaders The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings and Presiding Bishop Michael Curry at the 80th General Convention. Photo: Scott Gunn via Episcopal News Service

On July 12, the Episcopal Church wrapped up the 80th meeting of its (usually triennial but COVID-delayed) General Convention, the bicameral body that officially governs the U.S.-based Anglican denomination.

During General Convention, the Church passed a list of important climate and environmental justice resolutions that — among other things — recognizes climate change as “the defining issue of our time,” commits the Church to a just economic transition for marginalized communities, and directs the denomination’s Office of Government Relations to oppose new fossil-fuel infrastructure (including new coal, oil, and gas leases) and to support a Green New Deal.

(Full disclosure: As an immediately former member of the denomination’s Task Force on Care of Creation and Environmental Racism, I helped author one of the resolutions that passed, “A088: Commit to the Pressing Work of Addressing Global Climate Change and Environmental Justice.”)

Here are a few of the Episcopal Church’s newest climate actions as taken by General Convention this month, both symbolic and substantive:

  • Officially recognizes as the church’s position that climate change is the “defining issue of our time,” not just an environmental issue but a challenge that touches on all other moral and pastoral concerns like health, poverty, and racism.
  • Declares that the denomination opposes new fossil-fuel infrastructure and directs our legislative office to advocate for policies that prohibit such development (giving some examples by name like Line 3 and new coal and gas leases)
  • Endorses a Green New Deal, and directs the legislative office to support such policies
  • Funds continued church participation in the UN COPs
  • Centers BIPOC and frontline communities and leadership in the church’s responses to climate change, including via membership in our COP delegations and advocacy for just-transition legislation and funding
  • Endorses a decade of action to achieve sustainable development goals
  • Commits to a goal of net carbon neutrality within church operations by 2030

For more information, you can see and read the complete list of resolutions reported out of General Convention’s Environmental Stewardship & Care of Creation Committee here, and read Episcopal News Service environmental coverage of General Convention here.

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