There has been lots of discussion about the Obama Administration's Plan to cut carbon emissions that would substantially reduce the United States contribution to the world's changing climate. The Clean Power Plan has economic implications, health implications, and labor implications, but not yet has anyone addressed the moral implications. With the decision to grant a stay of the CPP, or not, in the hands of the courts and soon to be decided, it is time to point out that it isn't just the CPP plan that is under attack. The ethical and moral values of this country are under attack as well.
America is largely a Christian country and most other religions are in agreement that caring for Creation and particularly caring for the poor among us is a responsibility of people of faith. The religious community will not argue that point, but it seems that many politicians, fossil fuel industries and some utilities are not focused on what continued use of coal and oil are doing to the least among us. We are a nation that cares about the health and well being of its people: so how can there be resistance to a plan that will clean our air, create jobs and provide economic opportunities for low income communities?
The faith community's commitment to mitigating climate change flows from our concern for social justice and dedication to protecting vulnerable citizens who most often have no voice in policy making or regulation. Low-income communities are the most adversely affected by pollution, demonstrated by the high rates of respiratory problems, lung cancer and asthma in those locations. We support polices that will reduce pollution, clean the air and reduce hospital visits. We believe that sound policies- like the Clean Power Plan- are desperately needed in those communities.
The United States is a country of proud politicians and judges who care about our nation being first among nations. But we cannot be that ideal nation unless we look after all our citizens- particularly the ones whose voices are not heard. We have a moral obligation to be good stewards, not only of our lands, but also of our people's health. The Clean Power Plan is the right and moral way forward to keep our country healthy. Who doesn't want clean air for our children to breathe? Don't we want to play outdoors, run and walk without fear of pollution?
We know that coal is dirty and continuing to burn it for fuel is ethically wrong. It has had its "day in the sun" and now it is time to use the sun to heat and cool our homes and to leave the coal in the ground. When we know something is wrong and harmful but we continue business as usual, don't we have to question our moral and ethical values? What kind of people continue to harm others when there is an alternative? The Clean Power Plan will keep America clean and healthy. It should be allowed to move to implementation. It is morally wrong to deny policy that is good for America.