GOD AND CLIMATE…. A week after the National Association of Evangelicals announced that it would not take a stance on global warming, a group known as the Evangelical Climate Initiative this morning released of a statement signed by 86 evangelical leaders, including Rick Warren, author of the The Purpose-Driven Life; David Neff, editor of Christianity Today; and Leith Anderson, former president of the National Association of Evangelicals.

Here?s an abbreviated version:

Claim 1: Human-induced climate change is real.

Claim 2: The consequences of climate change will be significant, and will hit the poor the hardest.

Claim 3: Christian moral convictions demand our response to the climate change problem.

Claim 4: The need to act now is urgent. Governments, businesses, churches, and individuals all have a role to play in addressing climate change ? starting now.

It would be inaccurate for environmentalists to claim that the evangelical community is either with us or against us. Many prominent leaders are not on board. Focus on the Family?s James Dobson, for instance, earlier urged the NAE to ?not adopt any official position on the issue of global climate change….Global warming is not a consensus issue.?

Still, in the coming weeks, print, radio and TV ads aimed at evangelicals (and a few targeted members of Congress) will run in The New York Times, Christianity Today, Roll Call, FOX News, CNN, ABC Family, and elsewhere. The print ads feature a photo of earth from space, the headline ?Our commitment to Jesus Christ compels us to solve the global warming crisis,? and a partial list of religious leaders who?ve signed the statement.

At a press conference this morning in Washington, a half dozen evangelical leaders talked about why they had decided to support this campaign. One undercurrent of the discussion was the belief, among some religious leaders, that the faith community had in recent decades retreated from its historical role advocating for positive government action, except on limited and often divisive issues. Dr. Duane Litfin, president of evangelical Wheaton College, said it was a mistake for religious leaders to shy away from public initiatives on issues such as global warming because of a perception that ?that?s what liberals do.?

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Christina Larson is a Washington Monthly contributing editor and an award-winning science and environment journalist who has reported from five continents.