Confronting climate change and environmental degradation has never been more urgent. As members of The Episcopal Church, we are committed in baptism to resist evil, seek God’s will, treat all people with dignity, and strive for justice and peace. Living into these promises, we must face the climate crisis for the sake of love of God and neighbor.
Statement on Climate and Our Vocation in Christ passed by the House of Bishops during the 80th General Convention of The Episcopal Church, July 11, 2022
Creation care is on the November 2022 California ballot in Proposition 30, which would dedicate between $3.5 and $5 billion in the state’s $300 billion annual budget for the zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) subsidies (45%), ZEV infrastructure (35%), and wildfire suppression and prevention programs (20%). Funding would come from a 1.75% tax on the portion of a taxpayer’s taxable income of more than $2 million. Prop. 30 would sunset in 2043 or earlier if emissions fall below 1990 levels. Half of the funds for ZEV subsidies would be allocated to programs that benefit people in low-income and disadvantaged communities.
Earth stewardship is an abiding imperative of the Episcopal Church. Members are encouraged to advocate for legislation that incentivizes our nation’s transition to a safe, clean, renewable energy economy and supports good jobs in new clean-energy industries, as well as the strong implementation of new technologies to meet new energy standards. The Church has urged Congress to enact clean energy incentives and tax credits to accelerate the clean energy transition and incentivize vehicle electrification. It has also advocated at the federal level for funding for wildfire suppression. While the Church does not delve deeply into tax policy, the General Convention has repeatedly urged the federal government to address income and wealth inequality through a fairer, more progressive tax system.
Supporters and opponents of Prop. 30 agree that reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a crucial end goal. For those who support the measure, Prop. 30 is a straightforward means for the public to accelerate California’s transition away from fossil fuels and reduce catastrophic wildfires at no cost to taxpayers except the wealthiest 0.2%. Opponents respond that California is already funding electric vehicle programs and wildfire protection. They argue that debating competing goals and alternative means through the legislative budget process is preferable to earmarking taxes through an initiative process that special interests can manipulate.
Our Episcopal tradition encourages thoughtful discernment in all things related to our values and beliefs. We encourage you to review the arguments for and against Prop. 30 in the official Voter Information Guide, campaign websites, and trustworthy media sources. As always, Grace encourages everyone to exercise their right to vote.