Tampa joins 3000 candle light vigils for Copenhagen Climate Conference


With one week left in the Climate Conference in Copenhagen, religious groups across the globe are congregating with fellow secular advocates to demand a binding climate agreement from world leaders. With about 500 events in the US, local faith based organizations in Tampa also held a vigil on Friday.

Cold and windy weather didn’t deter more than a dozen climate change advocates who huddled in front of Senator Bill Nelson’s Tampa office last Friday night. Faiths United for Sustainable Energy, or FUSE, is a coalition of religious groups that stood with volunteers for Greenpeace around candles and LED lights arranged on the sidewalk to read the number “350” 350.org, is an international campaign with the goal of reducing carbon emissions in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million. Reverend Warren Clark organized the Tampa vigil with FUSE, and is supporting 350 founder Bill McKibben in urging people across the globe to demand that President Barack Obama leads the climate accord in Copenhagen.

Many of the people demanding leadership are in the least developed countries.
The global south has issued resolutions for a legally binding agreement at the conference. Clark said the actions taken by African nations at the conference have inspired him.

Coastal cities in places like Florida are particularly vulnerable to the threat of rising sea levels, but some island nations could be entirely lost with a slight increase in global temperatures. Greenpeace volunteer Kate Melges was at the vigil, and said that developed countries must do what they can to avert this danger with an equitable global emissions reduction.

John Andrew Bell is a pastor at the United Methodist Church. He said when industrialized nations consume massive quantities of resources, the high levels of greenhouse gas emissions force less developed countries to unfairly bear brunt of climate change.

The Tampa vigil was attended by City Councilmember Linda Saul-Sena, and those present sang original songs about the global action.

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