Petition 80555

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Energy Policy Statement (80555-C1-R5)

Revise and Readopt Resolution No. 5  
(Background and Theological Foundation Paragraphs on Justice and Sustainability remain unchanged)  
Technological advances have created an increasingly sophisticated and industrialized world community.  As we pursue an energy policy that is just and sustainable it is not a realistic option to ask all global citizens to return to an era where wood and candles provided the only sources of heat and light. We enjoy a highly sophisticated, industrialized world. It is not a realistic option for us to return to a world where people read by candlelight and heat with wood. Also, we should be aware of the tragic effects that steadily increasing energy costs will have, especially upon the aged and  poor members of our society those living in poverty. All Furthermore, some cleaner energy options available to the rich  wealthier nations are not open  available to peoples in other all parts of the world; hence, we should endeavor to develop just and equitable energy policies.  

We must creatively explore all sustainable energy options available to us. There are environmental and social problems connected with certain energy options. We believe that the economic, environmental, and social  problems implications of each energy source should be fully assessed.  

Today, the leading source of global energy consumption is fossil fuels including oil, coal and natural gas. From extraction to end-use, the life-cycle of energy produced from fossil fuels has led to severe strain on both the local and global environment.  
For example, the large-scale use of our coal resources poses many problems. Underground mining of coal, in addition to operational accidents, causes disabling illness or death from black lung. Strip-mining and mountaintop removal  can despoil an area lands and ruin it them for further use if restoration measures are not practiced. The burning of coal causes large-scale pollution and seriously alters the environment by increasing the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere, contributing to global warming.  
In addition to fueling regional instability, the use of oil resources poses significant environmental dangers. Tankers and offshore wells have created spills that have devastated seacoast areas often with long-lasting or permanent ecological damage. The emissions produced from the use of oil as fuel are a leading source of air pollution, particularly in centers of dense population.
Hydroelectric dams, particularly those in areas with considerable seismic activity, pose dangers to nearby communities and the environment.  Furthermore, the building of hydroelectric dams and reservoirs destroys communities, wildlife habitats and natural scenic beauty.
There are considerable concerns with regard to the nuclear energy option.  The destructive potential of a catastrophic accident involves a great risk of irreversible damage to the environment and all living species.  Nuclear waste remains active and dangerous for thousands of years. Additionally, the development of nuclear energy possibly has masked ambitions for nuclear armament.
Hydroelectric power also has its problems. In addition to deaths from industrial accidents, many dam sites are (or were) attractive scenic areas. Destroying (or diminishing) such natural beauty areas is objectionable to most of us. Possible dam failure with the resultant flood damage must also be considered in evaluation of this source of power. The use of petroleum products creates severe environmental problems. Tankers and offshore wells have created spills that have devastated seacoast areas; the damage is long-lasting or permanent. Air pollution, far from being under control, is a serious health problem, especially in centers of dense population. The nuclear energy option also has many problems to be faced. The hazards in storing radioactive wastes for thousands of years and the destructive potential of a catastrophic accident involve a great risk of irreversible damage to the environment or to the human genetic pool.
Today, cleaner alternatives to traditional energy sources are available and increasingly cost-competitive.  Harnessing solar and wind power can produce energy with far fewer net emissions. Facing increased global demand for energy resources and ever-increasing strain on the global environment, we must chart a new course rooted in our shared principles of justice and sustainability.  To this end:  
1. We support strenuous efforts to conserve energy and increase energy efficiency. A transition to energy efficiency and renewable energy sources will combat global warming, protect human health, create new jobs, and ensure a secure, affordable energy future. Economists have concluded that a greater increase in end-use energy can be gained through conservation and energy efficiency than through any single new source of fuel. Furthermore, conservation is nonpolluting and job producing. We include under conservation: insulation, co-generation, recycling, public transportation, more efficient motors in appliances and automobiles, as well as the elimination of waste, and a more simplified lifestyle. The technology for such steps is already known and commercially available; it requires only dissemination of information and stronger public support, including larger tax incentives than are presently available.  
2. All United Methodist churches, annual conferences, general boards and agencies are to be models for energy conservation by doing such things as: installing dampers in furnaces, insulating adequately all church properties, heating and lighting only rooms that are in use, using air circulation, purchasing energy efficient appliances, and exploring alternative energy sources such as solar energy. Local churches, camps, and agencies are urged to become involved in programs such as the Energy Stewardship Congregation and Interfaith Power and Light programs, thereby witnessing our shared values of justice and sustainability. (Remainder of the resolution remains unchanged.)