United Methodist Women strongly opposes the decision to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement, the organization’s CEO Harriett Jane Olson said.
“President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Accord removes us from the global coalition that has the potential to make significant changes necessary to address the threat of climate change,” Ms. Olson said. “Now it is all the more urgent for us to work in our communities and in the corporate sector to make the needed changes.”
Earlier this week, Ms. Olson joined 65 U.S. organizations signing on to a letter opposing Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt’s delay of new regulations to reduce harmful methane, smog-forming pollution and toxic emissions. The New Source Performance Standard was to go into effect June 3, but on May 31, Mr. Pruitt issued a 90-day stay during which oil and gas companies would not need to comply with requirements to find and fix equipment leaking methane and other harmful natural gases into the air.
Air pollution released into the environment poses serious health risks to oil and gas workers and communities. A stay of the new source performance standard does not comply with section 111 of the Clean Air Act, which protects all Americans from harmful sources of pollution.
Elizabeth Lee, United Methodist Women executive for Economic and Environmental Justice, explained the importance of the New Source Performance Standards.
“The standard was expected to reduce 210,000 tons of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) and 510,000 short tons of methane by 2025,” she said. “The NSPS methane reduction would be equivalent to taking 8.5 million cars off the road every year. We must protect the health of God’s creation.”
Ms. Olson called on United Methodist Women members to take action for climate justice.
“We are called to care for creation by the Bible. We are also compelled to act because of the special vulnerability of women, children and youth to pollution of air and water and the effects of climate change,” Ms. Olson said. “When the effects of climate change have become visible to the naked eye and no longer just observable through scientific study, action on our part is urgent.
“We urge Secretary Pruitt to move forward with the new source performance standard for oil and gas companies to reduce methane emissions and to work with community and industry leaders to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
Climate Justice is one of four mission priority areas. We promote sound stewardship of the earth and environmentally just lifestyles and actions that preserve creation for the benefit of present and future generations.