Episcopal, ELCA Presiding Bishops issue statement on carbon emissions

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) have issued a joint statement in support of the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Rule on carbon emissions.

“The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and The Episcopal Church are eager to collaborate with the EPA and states across the nation to ensure that the carbon rule is implemented fairly, particularly for low-income consumers,” the Presiding Bishops stated. “We will continue to pray that all involved in this good work will be graced with vision, hope, and the search for truth as they seek to implement the carbon rule swiftly and effectively.”

The joint statement follows:

Joint Statement on the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Rule on carbon emissions

Lutherans and Episcopalians collectively celebrate and support the release of the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed carbon rule for existing power plants. As faith traditions committed to the health, flourishing, and sanctity of human communities and God’s creation, we believe that the carbon rule is a critical step toward safeguarding the lives and livelihood of future generations.

Recent reports outline the enormous impacts that climate change is already having on our world.  Multi-year droughts, sea level rise, extreme weather events, and increased flooding dramatically affect communities internationally, from the Inupiat on the north slope of Alaska to Midwestern farming families to our brothers and sisters in the Philippines. We recognize with concern that climate change particularly harms low income communities that lack the resources and technology to adapt to rapid environmental changes.

These impacts are already affecting global agriculture, and with it, food supplies and prices. Ending hunger and alleviating global poverty are key concerns for our faith traditions. Yet our work faces the daunting and interconnected challenges of addressing hunger and poverty in a rapidly changing climate.  Sustainable solutions must include both poverty alleviation and environmental conservation.

Power plants are the single largest source of carbon dioxide pollution in the United States and major contributors to climate change. These emissions not only threaten the environmental stability of our planet, but also the health of young children and their families, disproportionally affecting the poorest among us.  Yet there are currently no limits on power plant emissions of greenhouse gases.

The carbon rule proposed this week will reduce the carbon dioxide output from existing power plants, setting a strong standard that will modernize our nation’s power plants while limiting our contribution to global climate change. Reducing carbon emissions from power plants must be a top priority for the U.S. if we hope to prevent the worst impacts of climate change and ensure a just and sustainable world for our generation and those to come.

Our faith traditions teach us that no single person can be whole unless all have the opportunity for full and abundant life. That wholeness and collective well-being is only possible as a global community. We recognize our connections to fellow citizens and neighbors around the world who are already suffering from the consequences of climate change, and acknowledge our responsibility to those yet unborn, who will either benefit from our efforts to curb carbon emissions or suffer from our failure to address this ethical imperative. We believe that addressing climate change is a moral obligation to our neighbors and to God’s creation, so that all may enjoy full, healthy, and abundant lives.

The proposed carbon rule for existing power plants is the single largest step that we can take now to address the pressing issue of climate change. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and The Episcopal Church are eager to collaborate with the EPA and states across the nation to ensure that the carbon rule is implemented fairly, particularly for low-income consumers.  We will continue to pray that all involved in this good work will be graced with vision, hope, and the search for truth as they seek to implement the carbon rule swiftly and effectively.

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church

The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton
Presiding Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)

 

Comments

  1. Michael J. Wise says:

    According to the EPA’s own estimates, even if every coal-fired power station in the USA was shut down by 2030, it would only reduce global temperatures by a completely meaningless 0.05 degrees F by 2100. This is merely a waste of time and money. Given the regressive effects of the substantial energy cost increases (or energy unavailability) necessitated by the rule, I don’t see how the EPA’s rules will help anybody live a more fulfilling life but will instead worsen poverty and economic regression.

  2. The statement mentions the impact on “global agriculture” as well as “food supplies and prices.” Did the two presiding bishops and their staffs look into the fact that there are actually scientists who propose that rising global temperatures, if they come, will actually increase crop production on a planetary scale? In their concern for rising prices, have they any words concerning governmental mismanagement and the effects that economic mismanagement is having on prices and on the ability of the poor to survive?

  3. Douglas M. Carpenter says:

    The naysayers will be plentiful, but few will seem concerned about people that will live several thousand years from now. They seem to think only in terms of a century or two at the most. – Douglas M. Carpenter, Birmingham, AL

  4. Joseph F Foster says:

    Lutherans and Episcopalians collectively celebrate and support the release of the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed carbon rule for existing power plants.”

    How do the Bishops know? Have their respective denominations taken a vote on the proposed rule? No, of course not. It just came out. They made it up, like they often do. And they’re once again making pronouncements on things they know very little about.

    • Steve Hiscoe says:

      The Episcopal Church doesn’t take “Polls” before our leaders can speak. The Presiding Bishop is authorized to speak on behalf of the Church. Good shepherds knows their sheep.

  5. Bill Harrison says:

    Since the U.S. is responsible for about one eighth of the world’s carbon emissions, I wonder what the P.B.s have to say about the poor Chinese and Indian folk who are literally choking on the emissions from their own power plants. Should they not be saying/doing more to encourage global cooperation in the efforts to curb them. I worry that this kind of simplistic knee-jerk reaction is why the churches in the U.S. seem to be losing those who take a more nuanced view of global issues. Asking their parishioners to accept political decisions without, at least, acknowledging the broader more complex global and national trade-offs is a bit much!

  6. Alice Speers says:

    Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori is a trained scientist. I doubt very much she would just “make it up”.

    • Joseph F Foster says:

      ““Lutherans and Episcopalians collectively celebrate and support the release of the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed carbon rule for existing power plants.”

      She and the Lutheran Bishop made this up. They couldn’t possibly have taken a real pole of their respective memberships in the time lapsed, and my spies in the Episcopal Church tell me no such poll was take. So either the Presiding Bishop made it up, or else “collectively” here means ‘The Presiding Bishop’.

    • Religious leaders and celebrated scientists can both be wrong and misleading. Ms. Speer, please note Mr. Foster’s comments. I also do not agree with the Episcopal PB’s statement, nor was I asked my opinion. In that sense, she “made it up.” The entire statement smacks more of propaganda than sound policy. I’m not even sure it is sound theology.

  7. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas says:

    Today is Pentecost, and I give thanks for the power of the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth and to inspire our efforts to protect life as it has evolved on this planet. I am grateful to the leadership of TEC and ELCA for issuing this strong statement on climate change. Climate change accelerates and complicates all the other issues that we care about, from sustainable water supplies and food production to economic justice, public health, immigration, and national security. The EPA’s new rules on coal-fired power plants are the best step yet taken by the federal government to tackle climate change, though what we really need is a price on carbon that does not burden the poor, and strong, binding international treaties. Let’s build the climate movement and make it politically possibly to do what is scientifically necessary.

  8. Alice Speers says:

    The Episcopal Church holds a General Convention every 3 years during which hundreds of representatives of every part of the church, both lay and clergy, debate and decide on issues. At the most recent convention (2012) the members passed resolution which “calls on congregations, institutions, dioceses . . . . to work for the just transformation of the world’s energy beyond and away from fossil fuels (including all forms of oil, coal, and natural gas) and toward safe, sustainable, renewable, community controlled energy, and that fossil fuel workers and their families be supported during the transition to a “post-carbon” society; and be it further

    Resolved, That the 77th General Convention calls on congregations, institutions, dioceses . . . . of The Episcopal Church to resist the development and expansion of ever more unconven- tional, dangerous, and environmentally destructive sources of fossil fuel and move toward conversion to more sustainable sources.

    The Presiding Bishop does not speak to issues unless the General Convention has taken a stand, which, in this case, it has. Again, I would point out that the Presiding Bishop did not just “make it up”.

  9. Paul Connors says:

    Once again, two of the most left wing mainstream denominations weigh in on a subject, namely the EPA’s ruling on carbon emissions with complete and utter disregard for the fact that the regulations are deleterious to the economic well being of the poor and struggling middle classes. Since the science of climate change has not been definitively proven by either the pros or cons and the US Supreme Court saw fit (based on zero scientific expertise) to issue an edict that CO2 is a pollutant (when anyone who knows better remembers their grammar school science lessons that CO2 is needed by all plant life to synthesize Oxygen), the ECUSA and ELCA, chock full of world renowned climatologists (NOT!) just had to weigh in.

    Ladies and gentlemen, to include those of you who believe Obama’s lies about the need to again over-regulate US industries as well as harm people with ever rising utilities costs, it should NOT be the business of these two churches to weigh in on these things.

    We all hear enough of this political demagoguery to fill a football stadium. Why do I need to hear this from Episcopal House? In what way are the priests and bishops of this church qualified to comment or for that matter do anything about climate change? Here’s a simple and less than tactful answer: they are NOT!

    If the Presiding Bishop ever wants to have a prayer of stopping the loss of members, perhaps the national church should cease and desist from making absurd and ridiculous proclamations in lockstep with the fools in other dysfunctional and dystopian churches.

Speak Your Mind

*

Full names required. Read our Comment Policy. General comments and suggestions about Episcopal News Service, as well as reports of commenting misconduct, can be e-mailed to news@episcopalchurch.org.