Climate Ethics Campaign

In early 2011, a group of 27 people representing conservative and liberal organizations and constituencies from across the nation came together to form the Climate Ethics Campaign. The campaign sought to make clear to leaders at every level of society that when deciding if or how to respond to climate change we must acknowledge and act on our nation’s long held moral and ethical principles: to protect current and future generations from unjustifiable suffering and death, to act in a just and equitable manner, and to protect the Earth’s natural systems that support all life, including ours.

Acting on these moral and ethical principles requires that the U.S. rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, prepare for climate change, help the people most impacted here and abroad respond to the impacts, and support policies to achieve those goals.

The campaign steering committee wrote a ‘Statement of our Nation's Moral Responsibility to Address Climate Change’ that was signed by a range of more than 1400 leaders from the public, private, academic, and non-profit sectors nationwide. It was released to President Obama, Congress, each governor, key leaders within the private sector, and the media in the fall of 2011. We are continuing to accept signatures on the statement here.

The National Climate Ethics Campaign ended when the White House told us that the President and administration understood the moral obligation to deal with climate change. 

Press Release  |  Publications  |  News  |  Resources  |  Campaign Quotes  | Steering Committee

Press Release

November 30, 2011. “Climate Change: The Ethical Dimension. New campaign focuses on moral responsibility to tackle global warming.”  


* Back to top *

In the News

Resources on the Ethical and Moral Aspects of Climate Change

* Back to top

Campaign Quotes

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-California), Chairman of Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works
“As Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, I reaffirm my commitment to work as hard as I can to reduce the dangerous air pollution that causes climate change and harms the health and safety of people around the world. I pledge to do everything I can to stand up to climate change deniers, to shine a light on the truth, and to build support for taking common sense steps to address this critical global problem.”

Representative Henry A. Waxman (D-California)
“Climate change is a scientific issue; it is a policy and political issue; but above all, it is a moral issue. We have a moral obligation to protect our planet for future generations. This is why I fully support your call to action.”

Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon)
“We all want to give our children the best future possible – not only because it will help our economy, but also because it is the right thing to do. When I think about the issues that threaten my own children’s future, climate change is right up there at the top of the list. We have a moral obligation to act now.”

Representative Edward J. Markey (D-Massachusetts)
 “A moral response to addressing climate change should be judged on basis of what the actions are being undertaken in the time allowed. If we act, but wait too long, then we will have not done what is needed. If we quicken the pace of action, but our actions are not substantial enough, then our response fails to meet the test. Only by acting quickly and significantly will history judge our actions as moral. We have the clean energy tools to pass the climate change test, create good jobs and protect our children’s futures. It is now our moral obligation to put them to use.”

Virginia State Senator Mary Margaret Whipple 
“Although climate change is a global problem, the impacts are strongly felt at the state and local levels. State legislators come from different faith backgrounds, different political parties, different regions, different educational, economic, and social backgrounds. And yet we have much in common: I know that there are many legislators across our fifty states who believe as I do that taking action to reduce climate change is the moral imperative of our time.”

Gary Hirshberg, CEO and President, Stonyfield Farm 
“As a business person, I think we have an ethical imperative to do everything we can to ensure a solid and sustainable economy for our children and grandchildren. That’s why my company has invested heavily in climate protection -- boosting efficiency, helping grow markets for renewables, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and, as a result, seeing enhanced financial performance. Any other approach to doing business compromises our economic and environmental legacies.”

Hilary O. Shelton, Director of the NAACP Washington Bureau and Senior Vice President for Advocacy and Policy
“In light of the NAACP’s mandate of upholding civil and human rights for all, we view advancing the nation’s moral obligation on climate change as vital.  Climate change threatens all of us, and is particularly devastating to communities of color and low income communities in the US as well as in developing countries.  It is critical that we all join together to find just solutions to mitigate climate change and provide adequate resources for adaptation, especially to the communities and countries that are already, and will increasingly continue to be, affected by the ravages of climate change including the increase in the frequency and severity of extreme weather events.”

Rev. Jim Ball, Vice President, Evangelical Environmental Network 
“It’s time to be great again by overcoming global warming.  America can rise to this challenge, because that’s who we are: fair-minded, freedom-loving people who live to create a brighter future.”

Joe Uehlein, Board President, Labor Network for Sustainability
“Making a living on a living planet is the moral imperative of our time.  All working people have a stake in the climate debate, but not the old, tired jobs vs. environment debate you've heard before.  Failure to deal with the climate crisis will wreak havoc on the economy at every level and will destroy jobs.”

Robert Pestronk, Executive Director, National Association of County and City Health Officials
“Climate change has serious and far-reaching health implications for present and future generations. We’re already seeing the effects of climate change on health, such as emerging tropical diseases in new areas, deaths from heat waves and floods, food shortages and increased allergies and asthma, and the costs of addressing these. Recognizing these threats, leaders at every level of government must take steps to prevent these impacts and protect their communities. Local health departments can help address these challenges – the life and health of all Americans depend on it.” 

Back to top *

Climate Ethics Steering Committee

  • Mike Bellamente, Project Director, Climate Counts
  • Donald Brown, Associate Professor of Environmental Ethics, Science, and Law, Penn State University
  • Richard Cizik, Co-Director, New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good
  • Steve Cobble, Assistant Fellow, Institute for Policy Studies 
  • Sarah A. Conn, Ph.D., Co-Coordinator, CCSP Psychologists for Social Responsibility
  • Bob Doppelt, Director, The Resource Innovation Group
  • Jessie Dye, Program and Outreach Director, Earth Ministry
  • Stephen M. Gardiner, Professor of Philosophy and Ben Rabinowitz Professor of the Human Dimensions of the Environment, University of Washington, Seattle
  • Ted Glick, National Policy Director, Chesapeake Climate Action Network
  • Ann Goodman, Executive Director, Women's Network for a Sustainable Future
  • Jenny Holmes, Director Environmental Ministries, Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon
  • Joyce Lavalle, Women's Network for a Sustainable Future
  • Andrew Light, Director of International Climate Policy, Center for American Progress; and Director, Center for Global Ethics, George Mason University
  • Joel Makower, Chairman and Executive Editor, GreenBiz Group Inc
  • Kathleen Dean Moore, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Oregon State University, Corvallis
  • Michael Nelson, Associate Professor of Environmental Ethics and Philosophy, Michigan State University
  • Jacqui Patterson, Director, Environmental and Climate Justice Dept., NAACP
  • Luisa Saffiotti, President, Psychologists for Social Responsibility
  • Joe Uehlein, Director, Labor Network for Sustainability
  • Tim Warman, Vice President, Climate and Energy, National Wildlife Federation

 * Back to top *