• Earth from Space


By Rev. Janet Wolfe

Pope Francis issued his encyclical in June encouraging us to take action now on climate change. Then the Environmental Protection Agency issued its Clean Air Plan last week. Both of these are important to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the biggest contributor to global warming. Protecting the environment should not be a partisan issue, because it is extremely important for the future of the planet, for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Ninety seven percent of scientists believe that climate change is at least in part human caused. One of the major contributors is fossil fuel emissions from power plants.

Opponents of the EPA Clean Air Plan claim that it will raise the cost of power and harm the average consumer. When we figure the economic impact,Wind Farm we need to consider the cost of climate change. Consider the cost of extreme weather events: drought in California and the West is increasing the cost of food and increasing the likelihood of fires. We will soon be commemorating the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the 3rd of Hurricane Sandy. Tornadoes in the Midwest are becoming more common. Some will lose jobs when we reduce the use of coal and oil, but building the infrastructure for renewable energy will provide new opportunities.

Citizens’ Climate Lobby proposes a carbon fee, assessed at the mine or the wellhead, increasing over the years. Revenue would be returned in the form of dividends to households in order to offset the increased costs of carbon based fuels. Carbon fee and dividend is revenue neutral. I urge congress to support this measure, and also not to attempt to gut the new EPA regulations. These will be important steps in addressing climate change.