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Soaring on Wings of Eagles as we Confront the Climate Crisis

The Bible has many references to the word “hope”. There is one verse in particular that buoys those of us who are called to end the climate crisis. Isaiah 40:31 says, “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.” I think that passage says that those who are hopeful that God is working in the world to protect God’s creation will not grow weary, but will engage in their work vigorously.

There are lots of reasons to be hopeful. Since the adoption of the landmark Paris Agreement on climate change in 2015, global momentum to tackle the climate crisis has been building. The Paris goal is to get the world to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Progress has been made on almost every front, from bold corporate emissions-reduction targets and investors shifting away from coal to a surge of support for renewable energy. These companies are aiming for net-zero targets. There is a rising movement of youth activists from Uganda to India, highlighted by Greta Thunberg being recognized as Time Magazine’s 2019 “Person of the Year.”

Among the hopeful signs:

Over 1,000 big companies pledged major emissions reductions

Private sector leaders increasingly recognize that transitioning our high-carbon economy to one built on low-carbon activities is not only necessary to limit dangerous climate change impacts; it’s also good for companies’ bottom lines.

Under the Science Based Targets initiative, over 1,000 companies have committed to set emissions reduction targets based on the science, and more than 340 have committed to set net-zero targets across their operations and value chains. The net-zero targets align with limiting warming to 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F).

For instance, ninety-two companies — including Air New Zealand, Baidu and HP — have joined EV100, a worldwide initiative seeking to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles by 2030. In addition, Microsoft, one of the world’s largest companies, will shrink its carbon footprint and invest in carbon removal solutions to become carbon negative by 2030.

Many cities are contributing to the Paris goals.

Worldwide, around 400 cities have committed to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050, and more  than 10,500 have joined the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy. In the United States, cities are a major player in America’s Pledge, a coalition of cities, states and businesses committed to fulfilling the Paris Climate Accords’ target. Together, these entities account for almost 70% of the U.S. economy. If they were a country, their economy would be larger than China’s and second only to the full United States.

And it is happening around the world. In Medellín, Colombia, the installation of an aerial tram system called Metrocable is linking low-income hillside communities with the center of the city and thus boosting access by residents to jobs, education and other services.

More and more financial institutions are investing in renewable energy

Through the United Nations-convened Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance, 33 major institutional investors with $5.1 trillion in assets committed to net-zero investment portfolios by 2050. In January 2020, BlackRock, the world’s largest asset management firm which alone manages $7 trillion, announced that it was shifting its financial strategy to center around climate change. With this move, it joined more than 370 other investors in an initiative called Climate Action 100+, whose members are engaging companies that produce two-thirds of global industrial emissions.

It is also very hopeful that President Elect Biden has nominated experienced leaders in its climate change efforts, including Deb Haaland, the first Native American to hold a cabinet secretary position who would serve as Secretary of the Interior. The former chief of the Environmental Protection Agency, Gina McCarthy, would be the leader of domestic climate efforts and John Kerry, former Secretary of State, has been named special international envoy for climate change. Brenda Mallory has been nominated to run the Council on Environmental Quality and will be the first African American to hold that position. 

In some ways, the most hopeful factor is that Christians and other people of faith are soaring on eagles’ wings as they confront the climate crisis.

But, in some ways, the most hopeful factor is that Christians and other people of faith are soaring on eagles’ wings as they confront the climate crisis. The vigor and faithfulness of their response makes many hopeful that we can protect our children and grandchildren from the harm caused by climate change. 

Photo by Lars Kuczynski on Unsplash


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