JPANet: Protect God's Creation
On January 1st new regulations went into effect aimed at
reducing emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the most abundant and long-lasting
greenhouse gas. State environmental agencies began regulating large stationary
sources like coal-fired power plants and refineries, requiring them to be more
efficient, thus reducing their carbon footprint.
Far from rejoicing about this effort to improve air
quality and reduce gases associated with climate change, some members of
Congress seek to stop the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating
greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act.
greenhouse gases are the problem, not the EPA.
More background information here.
Many Americans, not entirely familiar with the
relationship between the release of gases like CO2 in the atmosphere and
climate change, are apprehensive about governmental regulation of industry.
With unemployment hovering above 9%, they are naturally suspicious of anything
that is labeled as restrictive of manufacturing, or putting limits on
industrial production. When scientific facts are manipulated to instill fear,
they respond accordingly. But the Environmental Protection Agency has the
responsibility of protecting our environment.
As people of faith we are called to protect
God’s creation and those sisters and brothers who are first and mostly affected
by climate changes. Sadly, it is those who have little influence and power who
are the most vulnerable to the ravages of climatic phenomenon. The polar bears
whose sea ice floats are rapidly melting and the Pacific Islanders whose
homelands are sinking cannot influence U. S. policy. Tell Congress to protect both. Ask your
elected officials to oppose any efforts to limit the ability of the
Environmental Protection Agency to enforce the Clean Air Act.
Ensuring the availability of clean air
for people and creatures to breath is central to our calling, as people of
faith, to be good stewards of God’s creation and to seek justice for all
people. So is preventing further deterioration of the Earth’s climate due to
greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
The Clean Air Act has been an invaluable tool in our carrying out our
call to stewardship of the Earth, improving our air quality and protecting our
health since its passage in 1970. The Act has set a standard for air quality in
rural and urban communities alike, protecting children, the elderly and other
vulnerable communities from the impacts of dirty air.
Increased emissions of carbon dioxide,
methane and other “greenhouse” gases are causing the earth’s climate to change
dramatically and are already having profound impacts on air quality and health:
- Higher temperatures lead to more days with poor air quality, which
disproportionately impacts children, the elderly and other vulnerable
populations. Even without poor air quality, heat waves have substantial
- Climate change induced increases in the severity and intensity of
storms lead to problems with water quality and water supply that have an
impact on human health.
The new Clean Air Act rules for stationary sources show good stewardship:
they have been narrowly tailored to cover only the largest sources of
greeenhouse gases, so their impact on the economy will
also be limited. Tell Congress to let the EPA do its job in enforcing the Clean Air Act.
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