Care of Creation – The Green Page – May 2021

Going Green and living more sustainably are becoming increasingly necessary as well as more attractive and satisfying. This “Green Page” will look at one sustainability topic each month, with ideas to consider and steps to use individually and as a congregation to care for and honor God’s amazing creation.

Electric Utility Companies And Climate Change

By 1968, scientists began to warn electric utility companies about climate change, and by 1988 the industry’s official research and development organization (the Edison Electric Institute-EEI) had acknowledged that “There is growing consensus in the scientific community that the greenhouse effect is real.” William McCollam, Jr., then president of EEI, admitted to Congress in 1989 that “It is possible that an increase in concentration of atmospheric gases which absorb the outgoing infrared radiation could result in a rise in average global temperature.” He also stated that “The electric utility industry is aggressively pursuing several paths which are designed to meet the nation’s energy needs while reducing atmospheric emissions.” Instead, that same year, EEI and some major electric utility companies chose to aggressively work to sow doubt about climate science, and joined the Global Climate Coalition, which for years worked to deny the causes and risks of climate change. In 1991, EEI spearheaded the Information Council on the Environment ad campaign, which listed as its top strategy an effort to reposition global warning as theory (not fact).” Despite EEI’s 1989 pledge to reduce atmospheric emissions, annual CO2 emissions from the electricity sector are higher than in 1989, due in large part to ongoing efforts by some in the industry to sow doubt about climate science and block legal limits on CO2 emissions from power plants. In 2017, during an interview with CNBC, Thomas Fanning, then chairman of EEI and the spokesman for the investor-owned electric utility industry, continued to deny that CO2 emissions are the primary contributor to climate change.
Despite early knowledge about climate change, electric utility companies have continued to invest largely in fossil fuel power generation, and have engaged in ongoing efforts to sow doubt about climate science and block legal limits on CO2 emissions from power plants. Nearly 50 years after scientists began to warn the electric utility industry about climate change, they continue to stand in the way of real progress in addressing the problem. Electric utility companies should be front and center in America’s efforts to combat global warming, from drastically cutting their own CO2 emissions, to assisting other sectors in cutting theirs. Today, no U.S. electric utility company can be said to be close to that vision.

Earth Forum

Mark your calendars for the April Earth Forum:

Sunday, April 19, 2020 at 2:00 p.m.
50 Years of Earth Day!
Theme: Recycling, More Sustainable Practices