Justice, poverty, and doing better because we can.

Paula Kline of Westtown Monthly Meeting and the Eco-Justice Working Group of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting  (Quakers) submitted the following comments to the EPA . They are published here alongside PA IPL’s remarks. When you’re inspired, submit a written comment of your own. 


Thank you for listening to my comments today.

I am a member of Westtown Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. Quakers have a long tradition of concern for economic, racial and social justice and environmental stewardship. Friends decry the unjust, disproportionate impact climate change is already having on those living in poverty and in the least developed countries, the elderly and children and those least responsible for the emissions of greenhouse gases. Climate change and other environmental disasters could put 3.1 billion people into extreme poverty by 2050 if no significant steps are taken.

This is why I strongly support the EPA targets for carbon emissions.

At this late date, it is a real question as to whether we will succeed on the climate issue. Given this uncertainty, it is precisely our actions now which matter most. It is in these situations of uncertainty that the role of moral leadership is most required.

The fossil fuel business plan – to explore, extract and sell fossil fuels is not new. And we know that fossil fuel companies do not intentionally include ending life on earth as part of their business plan, but it is clear that this is an unfortunate and very real side effect of their plan.

There is now a way to develop secure, reliable energy sources with existing technology and at costs comparable with what we spend on fossil fuel energy today AND save 2.5 million to 3 million lives a year, halt global warming, and reduce air and water pollution.

The EPA regulations can set a new global standard for converting the world to clean, renewable energy sources and foregoing fossil fuels.

Historians of the Holocaust ask: “How could so many good and moral people know what was happening and yet do so little?”  This, I believe, will be the key question for future historians of the unfurling climate disaster if we do not act now.  

Author Paula Kline is a member of the Eco-Justice Working Group of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, which has just announced that it is divesting from fossil fuels to reinvest in a Quaker Green Fund.

The EPA hearings on the (finally) proposed Carbon Pollution Standards for Existing Power Plants took place the last week in July in Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, and Denver.  PA IPL members offered testimony both in Pittsburgh and Washington.  Testimony posted here is shared by permission of the authors.  Remarks by PA IPL supporters are published on this blog alongside PA IPL’s official remarks. When you’re inspired, submit a written comment of your own.