Churches’ Commitments to Children – Caring for children by addressing global warming

A Research Report funded by the Keeling Curve Prize

This document was developed as a result of the World Council of Churches (WCC)’s Churches’ Commitments to Children initiative winning the Keeling Curve Prize in 2019. It was commissioned by the WCC’s Child Rights programme in response to requests by children and youth who are marching in the streets, urging adults to find solutions in response to the climate crisis.

The research examines the impact of financial choices on global warming and reviews related solutions which can bend the CO2 emissions curve (also called the “Keeling Curve”).

The purpose of this research is to share information, good practices, and suggestions on the efficiency of financial measures to address global warming. It aims to support discussions and discernment among working groups and decision makers. It does not reflect any institutional view.

The materials are shared for examination by all those who may want to consider influential strategies to address climate change.

While the decisions related to these financial measures have a decisive impact on children, the measures and opportunities presented in this document cannot be undertaken by children. In light of the many initiatives driven and promoted by children and youth to protect the planet and the climate, these financial measures are critical for intergenerational justice and to counteract the discouragement and eco-anxiety faced by children and youth who are engaged for the planet.

Today, many leaders encourage children and youth to be responsible eco-citizens (see examples shared in the WCC Toolkit on climate justice for and with children/youth.) The initiatives and efforts by children and youth can only have an impact on global warming if, in par-allel, the right choices are made in the domain of finance – the most decisive domain for climate solutions – over which young people have limited influence.

The research is intended to be used as a resources document for

  • WCC working group consultations, to work toward a statement from governing bodies on the topic;
  • the development of organizational policies;
  • WCC member churches and partners who are willing to further adjust their investment strategies and relations with influential contractors to fight global warming; and
  • joint efforts with the United Nations and other partners who col-laborate to accelerate green finance and environmental sustainability measures.

The document can also be used for discussions related to discernment on returns and benefits of financial placements.

If, for example, an organization is exclusively or primarily looking at the financial returns of a pension fund, the following question could emerge: Will employees be able to enjoy their pension and time with grandchildren if, by the time they retire, temperatures continue to increase as a result of global warming?

The cost of not making responsible choices would be high, and the advantages of adapting investments will be beneficial for all. The title “Cooler Earth – Increased Benefits” was therefore given to this research document, taking into account the benefits of intergenerational justice and the returns of investment into a sustainable future.

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