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The UNFCCC Paris Agreement of 2015 was a watershed in global climate negotiations. After decades of diligent negotiations, an agreement was forged. One hundred ninety-four countries, representing 98% of greenhouse gas emissions, bound themselves to the accord. Per term 4.4:

“Developed countries should continue taking the lead by undertaking absolute emission reduction targets.”

This was a key element for reaching the goal to limit warming to “well below 2.0C and ideally to 1.5C.”  For our faith community, it was a clear covenant to enhance our emission reduction.

Today, eight years on from Paris, we have strayed far from our promise.  We have not only failed to reduce emissions, but we are also on a course to double them by 2030.  Per the Stockholm Environment Institute UN-sponsored study as reported in the New Times:

That means the world remains on track to produce around 110 percent more oil, gas and coal through 2030 as would be allowable if governments wanted to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the researchers warned. The world was also set to overshoot, by 69 percent, the amount of fossil fuels consistent with limiting warming to 2 degrees Celsius.

This truth is more than inconvenient, and it deserves more than our despair. The US is one of the primary problems.

In 2030, if current projections hold, the United States will drill for more oil and gas than at any point in its history. Russia and Saudi Arabia plan to do the same.

The US is now the world’s biggest crude oil producer and is ramping up (not down) the even more damaging production of natural gas (, Accessed on 13 November 2023). We are not alone in our backsliding. Brazil plans to more than double its natural gas production in the next decade, and India plans to double its coal production by 2030 (, Accessed on 13 November 2023).

Only a handful of the largest fossil fuel producers (Germany,
United Kingdom, Norway, and China) are on track to reduce their total fossil
fuel output by 2030 
(, Accessed on 13 November 2023).

Speaking of “fossil fuel output,” it is sadly notable that the term “fossil fuels” was struck from the Paris Accords by certain oil-producing countries, creating an escape hatch in the center of the door of emission reduction.

Fortunately, our church, through Bishop Marc Andrus, has joined the effort to close this loophole by endorsing the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty initially proposed by Vanuatu, Tuvalu, and other Pacific Island nations, as well as the European Union and the World Health Organization.  The endorsements are many and growing fast.

This is a bus every diocese should consider catching.  It’s time to stand for the truth.  As Jesus said in John 18:37:

For this I was born, for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Anyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.

As Jesus invites us to belong to the truth, our faith gives us the courage to together live the truth of the change we need to achieve. As Pope Francis noted on October 4:

We must move beyond the mentality of appearing to be concerned but not having the courage needed to produce substantial changes. To seek only a technical remedy…. is to separate what is in reality interconnected and to mask the true and deepest problems…. To suppose that all problems of the future can be solved by new technical interventions is a form of homicidal pragmatism.

The world needs a religion of courageous transformation. Is not this the work our church was made for?

John Kydd
Missioner for Climate Justice
Diocese of Olympia

The Episcopal Church Executive Committee Takes a Historic Step

2 thoughts on “The Episcopal Church Executive Committee Takes a Historic Step

  • January 11, 2024 at 10:38 am

    Although the headline mentioned the Executive Committee taking an historic step, I don’t see any mention of the Executive Committee in the article. Could you share with us what historic step they took?

    • January 11, 2024 at 12:55 pm

      Hi Sharon,

      According to the above piece written by John Kydd, our Missioner for Climate Justice, the historic step was endorsing the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty. You can find out more toward the end of the article above, and you can reach our Missioner for Climate Justice at


      Josh Hornbeck
      Canon Missioner for Communications


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