Ethics with our economics

Rachel Mark is a charter PA IPL board member and an active member of the Unitarian Church of Harrisburg 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.


I am here to support the proposed EPA regulations on CO2 emissions. These regulations are an essential first step to reduce pollution and carbon emissions in the United States. I am a member of Pennsylvania Interfaith Power and Light, a faith-based organization that addresses climate change as a moral issue.

Members of all faith traditions consider their moral and ethical values as essential and integral to their faith. The ethics of all traditions mandate that their faith members care for, or at the very least, do no harm to others, especially the poor, the aged, the children, and the most vulnerable. Yet that is what we do when we pollute the air and water which are necessary for life.

To argue in terms of economics alone does not include these critical ethical considerations. Our obligation to those we love, to our global neighbors, and to the health and stability of our world truly matter. Carbon pollution is not an inconvenience to our life; it is life-threatening. 

Greenhouse gas emissions are problematic. There is nothing we can substitute for a stable climate, clean water, or breathable air. The impact that CO2 regulations will have on jobs can be addressed. Even now, there are more jobs in clean energy than in fossil fuels. The implementation of a carbon tax would additionally spur many more jobs in the energy sector, and would boost the economy.

Setting limits on greenhouse gas emissions is about moderation, about monitoring and limiting our use of fossil fuels. Decades ago, we did not know about the harms of carbon pollution; now we know. We can no longer act as if we did not know. Living lives of immoderation without limits is harmful , and we know that excessive and wasteful use of fossil fuels is causing enormous harms to our health and our environment.

Our freedoms are precious, but they come at a price with a budget. At some point we all learn that overspending our freedoms does not lead to health or well-being. We can drive where we want, but driving too fast may cost our life. We can eat what we choose, but too much is destructive to our health. Our choices on what to buy are endless, and we value the many choices we have, but too much leads to bankruptcy. We understand the need for limitations and regulations on our freedoms. We respect them as a part of living responsibly.

Our overuse of fossil fuels is causing harm to others, and we need to significantly reconsider our budget. That is what the EPA is doing and I appreciate and support this urgent and timely action. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to offer my opinion.

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.