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Faith Groups Hail Implementation of AB32

Rev. Sally Bingham at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.
Rev. Sally Bingham at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.
November 13, 2012

Under California's groundbreaking law addressing climate change, AB32, carbon credits will be auctioned off for the first time on Wednesday. Members of the state's faith community played an important role in pushing the legislation through and plan to celebrate. The law says if utilities and industries do not reduce their emissions, they must buy permits to continue polluting, and those funds will be used to help alleviate the worst effects of global warming.

The Rev. Sally Bingham is founder of California Interfaith Power and Light, which brings communities of faith together on climate change issues.

"AB32 is particularly important to the faith community because we believe that we are the stewards of creation. We see climate change and too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as very detrimental to God's creation, in that it is affecting all aspects of life."

Bingham, who is an Episcopal priest, notes that those who suffer the most from air pollution and climate change are the poor, who contributed the least to the problem.

"Now that we have the opportunity to auction off some of the credits - this is in the cap-and-trade aspect of the bill - we will see some funds being accumulated that can go back to those low-income communities."

She says the auction can improve the lives of those affected in very concrete ways, such as developing renewable energy or installing technology to clean up fossil-fuel pollution.

Rabbi Joel Simonds says his congregation, University Synagogue in Brentwood, also worked on the bill. He says the faith community's support of AB32 was an important contribution.

"We really show the broader community that there are laws and that there are bills and there are regulations that the faith community supports because we know that these laws and bills and regulations will help protect the earth that God gave us and the earth that truly is a gift for us."

The auction of pollution credits aims to reduce carbon emissions 15 percent by 2020.



Melinda Tuhus, Public News Service - CA