The Creation Stewardship Task Force asked Synod 2012 to affirm that climate change is real, is very likely a result of human activity, and poses a significant threat to future generations as well as to those who are poor and vulnerable.
After a detailed explanation of how the earth’s temperature is regulated, the report stated that the increasing greenhouse gas concentrations are increasing the earth’s surface temperature. It said that statement is based on both observations of physical and biological phenomena, such as melting glaciers, lengthened growing seasons, and direct temperature measurements.
“The principal question,” the report said, “is whether the size of the increase [of greenhouse gas concentrations] . . . is consistent with the amount of observed temperature increase.” The authors of the report said the answer to that question is simply yes, and that there is no ambiguity within the scientific community that human activity is responsible for those increased greenhouse gas concentrations, and thus for global warming and climate change.
The report laid out at length the biblical mandate for humans to be God’s caretakers of creation. Thus, the human activity causing climate change is a moral, ethical, and religious issue, and the task force wants Synod 2012 to declare as much.
The report calls the church to urgent action at a personal, community, and political level to address climate change, especially in mitigating the significant threat to communities that are particularly vulnerable: countries in low-lying areas that may experience flooding, subtropical countries that may experience drought, and arctic communities that depend on frozen ground and water for commerce.
This report asked synod, among other things, to request the denomination’s Board of Trustees to reduce the denomination’s carbon footprint, to ensure that educational resources are developed to promote participation in the global conversation about creation care, and to place appropriate creation care organizations on the list of those recommended for financial support.
The task force’s work was mandated by Synod 2010. Senior denominational personnel had signed a declaration about climate change, and several delegates felt that the science and theology behind the declaration was not clear. So that synod appointed this group to “identify a biblical and Reformed perspective” on creation stewardship, including climate change.
All materials regarding Synod 2012 will be available in the Agenda for Synod 2012, posted online at http://www.crcna.org, and sent in print to every church.
About the Author
Gayla Postma retired as news editor for The Banner in 2020.