UUA President Calls for Strong, International Climate Agreement in Paris

Today Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice in the National Capital Region (UUSJ) delivered a letter signed by Unitarian Universalist Association President Rev. Peter Morales to Todd Stern, U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change, urging the U.S. Department of State to speak out in support of a strong, compassionate, and binding international climate agreement at the COP21 Paris Climate Conference.


Six leaders from UUSJ traveled to the U.S. Department of State and met with Special Representative Shaun A. Casey of the Office of Religion and Global Affairs, his staff Liora Dana and Christine Li, and Jesse Young, Senior Advisor to Todd Stern, and discussed the letter (below), the Action of Immediate Witness on climate change passed at the UUA General Assembly in June, and the fact that a strong, international climate agreement is a moral imperative.


The Honorable Todd Stern
U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

August 18, 2015

Dear Mr. Stern:

Climate change is the gravest danger facing humanity today. We are already experiencing its effects—rising sea levels, catastrophic storms, species extinction—but the potential effects of climate change are even more devastating. On behalf of the Unitarian Universalist faith community, I write to you in advance of the COP21 Paris Climate Conference to urge the U.S. Department of State to speak out in support of a strong, compassionate, and binding international climate agreement.

More specifically, Unitarian Universalists encourage our U.S. climate negotiators to work for an agreement with strong provisions consistent with the paper Climate Change: Summary and Recommendations to Governments, 2015, endorsed by over 100 NGOs.

The reality of human-caused climate change is undeniably a moral issue. This past June at our annual General Assembly, Unitarian Universalists overwhelmingly passed a resolution entitled Support a Strong, Compassionate Global Climate Agreement in 2015: Act for a Livable Climate. Other faith communities have raised their voices in support of a strong climate agreement as well.

People of conscience are called to act not only for those who inhabit our planet now but for future generations. Let them not say of us, “They knew but did not act.”

I am grateful for your attention to this matter, and I wish you well at the Paris Climate Conference.

Rev. Peter Morales
Unitarian Universalist Association

Cc:  Hon. John Kerry, Secretary of State
       Shaun Casey, Special Representative for Religion and Global Affairs

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  • commented 2015-08-25 13:10:49 -0400
    Albert Rogers is spot-on with his insistence that Pope Francis should rescind the Vatican’s harmful, damaging 1968 condemnation of contraception, which Paul VI promulgated in defiance of nearly all of his own advisers. I made the very same point in letters published in the National Catholic Reporter in February and in The Atlantic in July. — Edd Doerr (arlinc.org)
  • commented 2015-08-21 12:19:37 -0400
    It is insufficient to identify a disease, if the only remedy you prescribe cannot cure it.
    If Pope Francis is serious, he should retract, abjure, and detest his predecessor’s encyclical “Humanae Vitae” that proscribes contraception.

    Here are two cures for the clean energy problem. They have designs for Molten Salt Reactors: (MSRs):
    http://transatomicpower.com in Massachusetts
    http://terrestrialenergy.com in Ontario
    The first of these is slightly more informative.

    The AEC in Nixon’s time established the viability of the MSR principle, but he abandoned the research because he wanted bomb grade material. John Kerry, I regret to say, led the Senate in supporting Clinton’s cancellation of the Integral Fast Reactor, another very successful breeder project, in the unfounded belief that the plutonium it produces (and consumes, unlike the present LWR technology) could make bombs.

    Norway launched a study of the prospects of energy production from neutron capture by thorium, in a reactor, to produce as much (or more) fissile uranium as the fissile material consumed to produce the neutrons. In other words, a thorium fueled breeder reactor. The most remarkable mandate given was that the report from the study be “knowledge based”.

    At first this amused me, as it seemed superfluous, until I realised that by my calculations, as I have known since before the publication of “An Inconvenient Truth” , the official list of “alternative”, “renewable energy” resources is Ignorance Based.

    I do not wish to be rude, but there are two facts that seem to be crucial and ignored by most of even the people in Europe and the USA who acknowledge that net Global Warming is human-made and real.
    Fossil carbon, and the oxygen wherewith it is burned, are products of photosynthesis over a period of at least 60 million years, the Carboniferous. In other words, it is fossil solar energy.
    Direct solar energy, at the time of the American and French Revolutions, provided water wheels, sailing ships, and biomass energy of every kind, comprising wood, grass, grains, vegetable oils, tallow, beeswax, and the muscle power of everything from oxen, horses, camels and elephants, to peasants, serfs, slaves, and even the ladies and gentlemen themselves.,
    The Industrial Revolution surely only occurred because those energies were, or were considered by the populace to be, inadequate. Is it unreasonable to suppose that the use of fossil fuels in part made possible the extraordinary multiplication of our species since then by seven or eightfold?

    The first fact that has been ignored is that the only energy resource that was not swept aside by fossil carbon technology was predicted as late as 1905 by Einstein’s work, and anxiously studied in 1939-1945 for military purposes by the USA and Britain lest the few remaining nuclear physicists in Germany do so first. The horrors of the subsequent Cold War have generated a phobia among my fellow liberals, and even others. But the ratio of the energy available from this new source is shown by be fact that one aircraft each sufficed to wreak as much destruction, whether justified or not, upon Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as whole fleets of Allied bombers did upon Hamburg and Dresden.

    The second fact is that, for instance, wind turbines do NOT use the wind energy eight times as efficiently as sailing ships did.
    Nor is there any way that the other flaw of direct solar power can be circumvented.
    From year to year, the energy available as hydroelectricity in western North America, from the rains and snows of H2O evaporated from the Pacific Ocean, varies most inconveniently. Imagine attempting to store it, as in Pharoah’s dream of the seven lean years and seven fat years.

    It is untrue that nuclear power is not renewable. The bomb that was, IMO inexcusably, dropped upon Nagasaki was powered by nuclei that do not exist in detectable quantities on Earth, but the Manhattan Project had twice as much of it as of bomb grade “natural” uranium. A million tonnes of Pu-239 becomes less than a milligram in 50×24,000 years, i.e. 1.2 billion. years.

    My http://skepticva.org/energy.skepticva.org/Vaclav_Smil.html
    summarises professor Vaclav Smil’s pessimistic
    asserting that he is too pessimistic about the prospects of nuclear energy.
    Nevertheless, if the talks in Brussels, Paris, and even the UUA fail to recognise that civilization’s and the rest of the current biosphere’s only hope lies in human contraception and nuclear energy technology, they are a complete waste of time and talk.
    It is insufficient to identify a disease, if the only remedy you have cannot cure it.
  • commented 2015-08-20 14:57:37 -0400
    Great letter and sent to the right place. Thanks to our UUA President and all our colleagues in the Commit2Respond coalition.

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