Lebanon Reporter

State News

June 7, 2014

Faith groups hear higher calling in climate change fight


Gascho, a Mennonite, was a signatory on the 2006 Evangelical Climate Initiative, signed by more than 80 Christian leaders calling for federal legislation to force reduced carbon emissions. Their statement said “millions of people could die in this century because of climate change, most of them our poorest global neighbors.”In 2011, the Vatican issued a report that called man-made climate change “serious and potentially irreversible” and advocated for aggressive action to curb emissions.

But not all people of faith agree. A number of high-profile evangelical leaders have said global warming is not a consensus issue.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, an evangelical Christian, has questioned whether climate change is man-made. He argues that the EPA’s new rules will hurt Hoosiers as Indiana pushes to attract high-paying manufacturing jobs that depend on low energy costs.“(The proposed regulations) will cost us in higher electricity rates, in lost jobs, and in lost business growth due to a lack of affordable, reliable electricity,” Pence said in a statement. “Indiana will oppose these regulations using every means available.”The Indiana Chamber of Commerce and Indiana Manufacturers Association also vow to stop the regulations. While the EPA estimates the cost to utilities and their customers will be $8.8 billion in 2030, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce puts it closer to $28 billion.

The new rules call upon each state to reduce emissions but stop short of setting specific caps for power plants. Instead the rules give states until June 2016 to decide how to cut pollution.

The Obama administration says the reductions are possible if states like Indiana increase use of renewable fuels, reduce energy consumption, and take other measures to curb their reliance on coal. Indiana now generates about 3 percent of its electricity from renewable sources.

Earlier this year the Republican-controlled Legislature killed a conservation program that was designed to reduce statewide consumption by 2 percent a year through 2019, after the state’s utilities complained it was too costly.

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