CWS Responds to Decision to Roll Back the Clean Power Plan

October 11, 2017

“The decision to roll back the Clean Power Plan (CPP), announced yesterday, presents yet another dangerous and senseless decision by the Trump Administration to dismantle once ambitious US actions on climate change.  It goes against the Paris Agreement, which aims to keep the temperature of the planet below 1.5 degrees Celsius.  By scrapping the CPP, the Trump Administration places the United States at odds with the overwhelming majority of countries – virtually all of whom have signed up to the agreement – and undercuts America’s previous global leadership on one of the most critical humanitarian challenges of our era.  This deplorable decision is out of step with the prevailing view of Americans –  a majority of whom want to see stronger action on global warming and who are themselves increasingly climate affected.   It also flies in the face of hard science, which every day is providing more evidence of rising temperatures, rising tides and more dramatic, destructive extreme weather” Rev.John L. McCullough, President and CEO of Church World Service.

Established in 2015 by the Obama Administration, the Clean Power Plan aimed to cut existing power sector emissions down by 32% from 2005 levels, by the year 2030.   It was a key component of the U.S. Governments national plan to reduce overall carbon emissions, notably  from coal, which produces high levels of carbon.  The Plan established state level targets for reducing carbon emissions, while encouraging transitions to clean energy.  Although industry has argued that the CPP stymied economic growth at state level, in reality dozens of cities and counties around the United States have already begun the transition towards renewable energy.  In recent years, job growth has been greater in the solar industry than in domestic coal, while employment in the wind energy sector is up by 20% from 2015.  More than 200,000 American workers are employed in the solar industry, compared to 150,000 in domestic coal.  Experts project that by 2030, 24 million jobs around the world in the clean energy sector, job growth from which Americans could also benefit.

“Pruitt’s announcement today won’t the stop the inevitable global shift towards renewable energy.  It is nonetheless a cruel irony that American ingenuity, which invented solar photovoltaic technology, is being held back by federal policy, rather than promoted by it.  Far from protecting American lives and jobs, this decision imperils them” continues Rev. McCullough.

Church World Service continues to mobilize human and financial resources around the world to help impoverished and struggling communities who are dealing with day to day consequences of extreme weather.   In recent weeks, we have responded to floods in Houston, Florida, and Haiti and Cuba.  Currently we are working with local partners to provide critical emergency aid to Hurricane Maria affected communities in Puerto Rico.  We are in no doubt that climate change is real and that vulnerable, at risk communities in the United States and beyond will most bear the burden of short-sighted US policies of climate change denial.  We stand in solidarity with those in city and state governments intent on implementing the CPP, despite the federal policy.  We urge the Administration to promote sustainable, clean energy solutions that both protect vulnerable communities from the destruction caused by climate change and  respond to the needs of communities transitioning from fossil fuel production.