How Faith Leaders Can Ensure We Can Afford to Fight Climate Change

By Dean Souza, FOX News Last month, more than 40 countries agreed to a revolutionary action plan for cutting their health sectors’ emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gases. The action plan is the result of…

How Faith Leaders Can Ensure We Can Afford to Fight Climate Change

By Dean Souza, FOX News

Last month, more than 40 countries agreed to a revolutionary action plan for cutting their health sectors’ emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gases. The action plan is the result of six years of talks, coordinated by the global Green Climate Fund, which gave it a generous gift of $1 billion.

The 30-page action plan lays out all the practical steps these countries are taking to reduce their emissions of global warming gases.

For example, India has committed to deploy solar and wind energy in more states and cities across the country, to improve energy efficiency of its power grids, and to protect wetlands and forests to hold on to the carbon and water they contain. And Afghanistan will curb its emissions from transportation and from other sources.

Not all countries have taken this action plan to heart. California is accelerating the modernization of its power grid, and plans to reduce its emissions below 1990 levels by 2030.

Related Image Expand / Contract (New European Economic Area – EU) The signatories in blue (from l.), Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Finland, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland. The signature in red is from the United States. (WTA )

Countries that are more advanced in their power grid modernization plans are wealthier and populous, so there are fewer CO2 emissions to offset. The United States, however, has moved forward rapidly to clean up its power grid, and has vowed to reduce its emissions to 25 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.

China has already drastically cut its coal consumption, while India has been working on different pathways to harness clean energy. But many developing countries have not yet begun to deal with climate change at all.

While the United States helped developed countries reduce their CO2 emissions in the past through laws like the Clean Air Act, those same countries are investing millions to enable developing countries to reduce their emissions as well.

The greening of health care depends on much more than measures to cut emissions, however. Health workers and health facilities need to be equipped with the tools and knowledge to respond to the array of health emergencies that climate change will bring.

While many developing countries have begun to provide medical services to people displaced by climate change, the infrastructure has only recently been put in place. The Green Climate Fund is investing in expanded access to drinking water, sanitation, basic public health facilities, and improved environments in all developing countries. Health care systems also need a more secure home on a warming planet. The World Health Organization and UN Women envision the creation of additional medical facilities and more hospitals to deal with climate-related risks like food insecurity and water scarcity.

As countries move forward, the promise of the signing of a universal agreement on climate change by the end of this year is still very real. Much of the action plan depends on developing countries taking climate change seriously, and moving ahead, even when the United States and other Western nations are slow to catch up.

Dean Souza serves as the director of the International Center for Climate Leadership at the Heritage Foundation. He is the author of “Climate Faith: Accommodating the Reality of Climate Change in the Evangelical Christian World.”

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