We, the members of the Episcopal Church of Maine, have a responsibility
to leave a clean, safe and wholesome environment to our grandchildren
and to all generations to come.
We recognize that to preserve our environment
we must incur costs, and that to some of us these costs will be
We pledge that we are willing to accept
our fair share of these costs.
We ask all members of the Church and
society to preserve the environment in their daily lives.
We ask all public and private officials
to take the steps necessary to preserve our environment for future
generations, assuring that the necessary costs are shared fairly
The Resolution was prepared by the Maine
Diocese's Committee on Spirituality and the Environment. Professor
Tom Tietenberg, Head of the Environmental Studies Program at Colby
College was consulted on economic matters.
The basic premise of the Resolution
is that our environment will be preserved only when we as consumers
accept the cost of preserving it. By accepting that cost we set
a Christian example for others to follow. We believe that if enough
of us accept the cost we can tip the balance in favor of environmental
preservation and Congress will act.
The Resolution focuses on accepting
the cost because we believe the public's reluctance to do so is
the single greatest barrier to environmental preservation. The
Resolution is otherwise non specific in order to minimize political
controversy, serve as a common umbrella for individuals with differing
environmental priorities and avoid getting into individual issues
on which an educated position requires a technical understanding
most don't possess.
The principal questions asked were:
(1) "What is the Cost?"; (2) Why doesn't Industry pay
the cost?"; (3) "How can the Church support something
that may hurt the poor?" and (4) " Isn't the Resolution
As to cost, economists estimate that
meeting the targets in the Kyoto Accords will be 1½% to
2% of a typical family's income, mostly in the form of increased
prices for motor fuel, heating fuel, electricity and energy efficient
capital goods. Fortunately, the net effect will probably not be
a decrease in most people's standard of living, but will be a
temporary slowdown in the ongoing increase. There will also be
impetus for some changes in lifestyle.. We have no figures on
the costs of other types of environmental protection. In most
cases, however, studies appear to indicate that typically the
cost of preservation is less than the cost of non action.
As to why the cost is borne by the consumer,
rather than by industry, generally speaking in our economic system
all costs incurred by industry are sooner or later passed on to
the consumer as part of the price consumers pay for the products
As to protecting the poor, the Resolution calls for mitigation
of the impact on those hurt the most by asking for fair sharing
of costs. Equally important, economists believe that the poor
will be hurt the most if the country does not act to preserve
As to being "too political"
we believe it is appropriate for the Church to take a leadership
role on significant social issues. Further, the Resolution avoids
most political controversy by not specifying what steps need to
be taken and how the costs should be shared.