Federal Initiatives

OUR MESSAGE:  As people of faith, we are called to be good stewards of Creation. Climate Change is a moral issue and requires a rapid and just transition to a 100% clean energy economy.

The Trump Administration took the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord and is trying to undo regulations that safeguard public health and the climate.

We are already seeing strong push back from states, cities, businesses, the public, and people of faith. We need to keep an eye toward the big picture — a rapid shift to a 100% clean energy economy.

Two Key Issues to Follow:

Fuel efficiency standards/ Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (CAFE): 

America’s most significant action to clean up the transportation sector occurred in mid-2012, when federal agencies issued a new set of CAFE standards to boost vehicles’ fuel efficiency and reduce carbon pollution from tailpipes. These clean car standards consist of two stages: Phase One, which covers 2012-2016 and Phase Two, which covers 2017-2025. By the end of Phase Two in 2025, these standards, left intact, will have roughly doubled fleet-wide fuel efficiency to 54.5 miles per gallon (mpg).

In 2012, the standards were supported by automakers, state regulators, the United Auto Workers, environmental organizations and other stakeholders. These fuel efficiency standards had been a bright spot because carbon pollution from transportation is a significant cause of climate change – it must be addressed.

While changes to the fuel efficiency standards haven’t been proposed yet, it’s almost certain that the Trump Administration, under EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, will attempt to roll them back. And, bills are moving through Congress. We can’t afford to go backwards on fuel efficiency even as we start to transition to electric vehicles. We are doing our part to reduce our carbon emissions in our homes and congregations. We need the auto industry to do their part and provide the most fuel-efficient cars and trucks possible.

The federal budget as it relates to climate programs:

Some examples from the President’s proposed budget: it would cut the EPA’s funding by over 31 percent, eliminate ENERGY STAR, a program considered the international standard for energy efficient products that has saved consumers billions of dollars on their energy bills while reducing carbon pollution, and cut the Department of Energy’s energy efficiency program by nearly 80 percent.

The Senate will need to weigh in on the budget before anything can be finalized. The federal budget for 2018 is supposed to be decided by September 30th. We want to send a loud signal to Congress that these cuts are unacceptable – when enough people speak up, the politicians will listen as we just saw with the senate vote on health care.

WHAT YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW

Show up at Town Hall meetings and speak up for a just transition to a 100% renewable energy economy that works for all of us. If there is no town hall, then you can request a meeting with your legislators, make a phone call or write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper.

COMING SOON…WATCH FOR OUR FAITH-BASED ADVOCACY TOOLKIT FOR MORE IDEAS!

 

Industrial Carbon Pollution-History of EPA Safeguards

Fossil-fuel burning power plants currently emit more than two billion tons of carbon pollution and other toxic pollutants into the air each year. This pollution fuels global warming and increases the number of unhealthy air days, resulting in more respiratory ailments, heart attacks, heat-related deaths, and other harmful health effects. 

The EPA originally proposed draft standards to reduce carbon pollution from new power plants in 2012, and supporters of climate action submitted a record-breaking number of comments—more than 3.2 million—in support of limiting carbon pollution from power plants.

In 2014, the EPA proposed the Clean Power Plan to cut carbon emissions from existing power plants by 30% by 2030. The EPA received millions of comments in support of the proposal.