CHICAGO - In the first net-zero commitment of its kind, the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women (GCSRW), along with other agencies of The United Methodist Church (UMC), today released a joint statement, “Our Climate Commitment to Net-Zero Emissions.” The collaborative, multi-institution statement pledges to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across the organizations’ ministries, facilities, operations and investments by 2050. “Net-zero” describes the process by which human-caused greenhouse gas emissions can be balanced, or “netted out”, by removing emissions from the atmosphere.
The statement acknowledges that the UMC “has long affirmed our individual and collective responsibility to address the unfolding climate crisis.” In light of these values, the group said it was “called by our faith, informed by science, and led by our relationships with impacted communities” to respond urgently.
“At the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women, we are keenly aware of the impact of climate change on our world,” General Secretary Dawn Wiggins Hare stated. “Honoring our Biblical commitment to care for the earth and advocating for women who are severely affected by global warming, our board of directors enthusiastically voted to commit to support the Net Zero campaign with our sisters and brothers across The UMC. We will be examining aspects of our operations, governance, and programing to identify and establish benchmark goals. Over the past year we have made changes that have given us a head start in moving in a faithful direction.”
The statement is endorsed by 11 General Secretaries and agencies:
- The General Board of Church and Society (GBCS)
- The General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM)
- The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM)
- The General Commission on Archives and History (GCAH)
- The General Commission on the Status and Role of Women (GCSRW)
- The General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA)
- Discipleship Ministries
- United Methodist Communications (UMCom)
- United Methodist Men (UMM)
- United Methodist Women (UMW)
- Wespath Benefits and Investments (Wespath)
Additional UMC agencies are also actively considering endorsing the statement.
The commitment comes at a time of growing climate action around the globe. Following the U.S.’ decision to reenter the Paris Climate Agreement, nine of the world’s 10 largest economies have stated ambitions to become carbon neutral. Meanwhile, corporate commitments to achieve net-zero have tripled in the last year.
Today’s announcement coincides with Earth Day, an international celebration of the planet, as well as the Biden Administration’s virtual “Leaders Summit on Climate” – a meeting of world leaders focused on climate action leading up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) this November.
GCSRW will work together with other signatories in the coming months to solidify actions and strategies associated with the statement.
The General Commission on the Status and Role of Women advocates for full participation of women in the total life of The United Methodist Church. GCSRW helps the church recognize every person – clergy and lay, women and men, adults and children – as full and equal parts of God’s human family. They believe that a fully engaged and empowered membership is vital to The United Methodist Church’s mission "to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”