Presbyterians move toward climate neutrality Pam McVety

At its General Assembly during the summer of 2006, the Presbyterian Church USA passed a resolution asking its 2.4 million members to each do their part to combat climate change impacts by going carbon neutral (see www.climate.org/ topics/climate/presbyterian_climate_neutral.shtml). Carbon neutrality requires that energy use that releases CO2 into the atmosphere be reduced and that carbon offsets be purchased to compensate for those CO2 (or other greenhouse gas) emissions that could not be eliminated.

This appears to be the first time that a major religious denomination in any nation has called on each of its members to bear witness to their faith by becoming carbon neutral. Presbyterians believe that devotion to God and to the Word requires care for His Creation and that excessive energy usage is casting a shadow over all of creation and doing harm that is widespread and grave. It is therefore a test of Christian faith to recognize sins against Creation and make amends. Justice must be sought for Creation in everyday actions; reducing energy use is one important way.

For only pennies a day, each of us can take the following three simple steps to become carbon neutral:

• Calculate your carbon emissions. This can easily be done using one of many carbon calculators available on the Internet.

• Reduce your carbon emissions as much as possible by using less energy.

• Offset your remaining carbon emissions, specifically those that come from remaining electric usage and travel by car or planes, by purchasing carbon offsets.

As simple as these three steps are, their effects would be dramatic if millions stepped forward today to reduce their carbon emissions. Presbyterians and others who take these three simple steps are looking to the future and have positioned themselves to be leaders in the fight against climate change.

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