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Evangelicals Say Poor, Minorities Will be Hardest Hit by Climate Legislation

Religious Coalition Calls On Congress To Care For "The Least Of These"

Contact: Melinda Ronn, 917-743-7836

WASHINGTON, May 26 /Christian Newswire/ -- Dr. E. Calvin Beisner, national spokesman for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, made the following comments on the recent passage of the Waxman-Markey bill out of committee.

"The Waxman-Markey bill's passage through committee may be a boost to wealthy investors in alternative energy companies, but it is a massive tax increase and a heavy burden to lay on Americans with low and middle incomes.

"It's a tax on the poor. The poor spend a much higher portion of their income on home energy, transportation, and necessities--like groceries, clothing, and housing costs--than the wealthy. Cap-and-trade will make all of those things more expensive."

The bill, if it became law, would create a cap-and-trade program to drive down carbon dioxide emissions and mandate higher energy efficiency for structures and vehicles. It passed the House Committee on Energy and Commerce 33-25 (yes: 32 Dem., 1 Rep.; no: 21 Rep., 4 Dem.).

"In its current form, Waxman-Markey would have enormous negative impacts on Americans without achieving any measurable reduction in global warming. It would reduce employment by an average of 1.1 million jobs per year through 2035, when 2.5 million jobs would be lost. It would raise home electricity rates by 90%, gasoline prices by 74%, and natural gas prices by 55%. The average family would see their monthly energy costs jump by $125.

"The sad thing about all this is that it's so unnecessary. Data show that the globe has been cooling for the last five to seven years, and recent research indicates that CO2's influence on global warming is minute compared with the influence of natural planetary and solar cycles.

"In fact, the research increasingly supports the theory of a robust ecosystem, not easily influenced by minute and largely natural fluctuations in atmospheric chemistry. That's precisely what is implied by a Biblical worldview. As I testified before the Energy & Environment subcommittee, the Bible says the Earth was created by an omniscient Designer, and on that basis we would expect to find it designed to be largely self-regulating and self-correcting, instead of fragile."

Nearly a fifth of American households say an increase of $20 a month in their electric bills would cause serious financial hardship, and 45% say an increase of $50 a month would. And 58% say they're not willing to pay any increase in electricity costs to combat climate change.

In January Pew found that climate ranks dead last in a list of thirty policy priorities, and in March Gallup recorded "the highest level of public skepticism about mainstream reporting on global warming seen in more than a decade of Gallup polling on the subject." Every credible study in the last two years has demonstrated that evangelicals, especially, are wary of this issue; the Barna Group found that 65% believe the media has hyped the story, and 60% are concerned that global warming legislation will hurt the poor, here and abroad.