International Environment Forum Position on Climate Change
adopted by the IEF Governing Board 8 August 2018
In a few countries where climate change science has become a political issue, the International Environment Forum has been criticized for taking sides in the “debate”. The following paragraphs explain the clear position of IEF concerning climate change.
The International Environment Forum recognizes that climate change is a reality and that it poses one of the most serious threats to human civilization and to all life. There is overwhelming scientific evidence that climate change is a result of anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming, caused by the burning of fossil fuels, by deforestation, and by other economic activities.
This position is in alignment with the guidance of the Universal House of Justice, the Supreme Institution of the Baha'i Faith. Its 29 November 2017 letter commenting on climate change, states:
… there does exist at present a striking degree of agreement among experts in relevant fields about the cause and impact of climate change.
In the same letter, the Universal House of Justice emphasizes the importance of science:
Among the Bahá’í teachings are those concerning the importance of science. “Great indeed is the claim of scientists … on the peoples of the world,” Bahá’u’lláh observed. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá wrote that the “sciences of today are bridges to reality” and repeatedly emphasized that “religion must be in conformity with science and reason.”
The letter refers to the Paris Climate Accord as a “starting point for constructive thought and action...,” emphasizes how “remarkable is the fact that at a time when nations have difficulty reaching agreement on many important issues, the governments of nearly every country on earth have reached political consensus on a joint framework, in the Paris accord, to respond to climate change...,” and points to the agreement as “another noteworthy demonstration of that development anticipated by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá” when He referred to “unity of thought in world undertakings, the consummation of which will erelong be witnessed.” The Universal House of Justice also guides the participation and the written statements by the Baha'i International Community at UN conferences on climate change.
The IEF is aware of the widespread misinformation campaign that deliberately sheds doubt on the science of climate change. There are some skilled science writers and well-funded front groups who “dismiss or contend with relevant scientific findings,” but their claims are politically motivated – in the words of the Universal House of Justice - “by political and vested interests.”
The IEF does not provide a platform to discuss whether climate science is real. Its intention is to spread awareness about climate change, to stand up for science, to apply spiritual principles (especially the Baha'i teachings) to this issue, to provide space for consultation about the numerous ways to effectively mitigate this problem, and to assist its members and the wider public in meaningful climate action.
The mission of IEF, as a professional organization at the interface of science and ethics, is to address issues such as this in the spirit so clearly worded in the above cited letter of the Universal House of Justice:
One of the most pressing problems of humanity in the current century is how a growing, rapidly developing, and not yet united global population can, in a just manner, live in harmony with the planet and its finite resources.
Last updated 8 August 2018