World Council of Churches Office of Communication
Press Release
150 route de Ferney, P.O. Box 2100, 1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland
E-mail: media

15 June 2001

Bush climate change proposals inadequate, says WCC

cf. WCC Press Update, Up-01-08, 30 March 2001
cf. WCC Press Feature, Feat-00-19, 27 November 2000
cf. WCC Press Release, PR-00-34, 14 November 2000

The US plans to address climate change can hardly be taken seriously, says Dr David Hallman, the coordinator of the World Council of Churches' Climate Change Programme. "Millions of people are already suffering through increasing droughts, flooding and rising sea levels. Yet Bush thinks voluntary actions alone are an adequate response after rejecting even the modest emission reduction targets in the Kyoto Protocol."

"The proposals that President Bush shared with European Union leaders at the EU Summit in Göteburg Sweden yesterday ignore the seriousness of climate change," commented Hallman who was in Sweden for the Summit. "The reality of global warming has been documented this year not only by international scientists in the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change but also by the report of the US National Academy of Sciences done at Bush's request and given to him on June 6th."

"Clearly the Bush administration's actions are determined more by the economic and political leverage of the fossil fuel industry than by either concern about the impact of climate change on vulnerable peoples and ecosystems or by the growing scientific consensus."

To coincide with the EU Summit, an ecumenical service and climate change workshop were sponsored in Göteburg by the Church of Sweden and the Christian Council of Sweden. Church environmental representatives from throughout Europe had also written recently to the Swedish Presidency of the European Union supporting the climate change objectives contained in the proposed EU Sustainable Development Strategy. The letter from the European Christian Environment Network (ECEN) strongly urged the EU Presidency to give leadership on the ratification and implementation of the Kyoto Protocol.

In another communication, ECEN wrote to US religious leaders expressing their appreciation and support for the work on climate change by faith communities in the US. "We in Europe and you in North America, as major perpetrators of the [climate change] problem, must acknowledge our common responsibility for this injustice... let us continue to work together in our efforts to combat short-sighted policy making. Your [US] attempt to change the view of President Bush with regard to the Kyoto Protocol has met strong support in our network."

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The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches, now 342, in more than 100 countries in all continents from virtually all Christian traditions. The Roman Catholic Church is not a member church but works cooperatively with the WCC. The highest governing body is the assembly, which meets approximately every seven years. The WCC was formally inaugurated in 1948 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Its staff is headed by general secretary Konrad Raiser from the Evangelical Church in Germany.