Petition 81250

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Caring for the Environment and Regulation (81250-C1-R9999)

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Caring for the Environment While Protecting the Poor from Irresponsible Regulation

We rejoice in God’s good gift of the natural environment, and are grateful for its abundance and beauty. Acknowledging that God calls us to be stewards of His Earth, we stand in solidarity with those who work to protect the Earth- its land, seas, and air- from the hazard of pollutants and other threats.
We also acknowledge that, though creation is of great worth and merits our respect, human life is made in the image of God and is eternally valuable. When conflicts arise between potential environmental regulation and the lives of human beings, the well-being of our fellow human beings should remain our first priority. Christ, by His example, confirms this hierarchy between the value of human life and the natural world.  
We are concerned that certain forms of environmental regulation may create a greater burden on poor families than middle or upper class households. Increases in the cost or taxation of energy sources, especially energy used to heat homes or power automobiles, would disproportionately affect the poor, who spend a larger proportion of their budget on essential utility expenses.  
Furthermore, as energy is used in the production or distribution of essentially all goods and most services, increased energy costs will be passed on to consumers in the form of increased food, shelter, and various other essentials that make up a greater part of the expenditures of poor households than they do in the middle or upper income brackets.  
The harm done to the poor by misdirected environmental measures expands beyond American borders, and to our brothers and sisters in developing nations. As one source explains:  
    Public policies to combat exaggerated risks can dangerously delay or reverse the economic development necessary to improve not only human life but also human stewardship of the environment. The poor, who are most often citizens of developing nations, are often forced to suffer longer in poverty with its attendant high rates of malnutrition, disease, and mortality; as a consequence, they are often the most injured by such misguided, though well-intended, policies.
Thus, we call on United Methodists to balance the good of responsible environmental regulation with the urgency of solidarity with and concern for the poor. As such:  

  • We caution against environmental measure that would cause significant harm to individuals or families, particularly the poor. Poor households already pay a greater portion of their income just to obtain the essentials necessary for life, and must not be subjected to higher costs in those areas.

      We reject legislation that would cause severe economic stagnation, impede economic opportunities for the poor, or hinder the growth of developing countries.  
  • We encourage thoughtful stewardship and resolution of environmental threats in such a way that the well-being of human beings is not compromised.  
         Myron Ebell, “Osborne is Wrong about Green Taxes,” Financial Times, September 17, 2007, <,06135.cfm> . (accessed October 19, 2007).  
      E. Calvin Beisner, Ph.d., et al., “A Call to Truth, Prudence, and Protection of the Poor: An Evangelical Response to Global Warming,” Cornwall Alliance, 2006, <> . (accessed October 24, 2007).  
    Cornwall Alliance, “Cornwall Declaration on Environmental Stewardship,” (2000), (accessed October 19 <> , 2007.)