Republican Study Committee Recommends Withdrawing Funds for Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Last week the Republican Study Committee released a list of recommended budget cuts, including a proposal to withhold U.S. funding from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) ( this is an indication of the level of climate change denial in congress.

“It’s sad that members of Congress who refuse to recognize scientific reality continue to obstruct efforts to reduce global warming emissions and go after the IPCC” said Lexi Schultz, USC’s Climate and Energy Legislative Director.  “At the very least, the public deserves to know just how serious the risks of climate change are and not be misled by politicians who continue to block progress on clean energy.”

Thousands of scientists from around the world contribute their work to the IPCC for no direct compensation.

Read the USC’s press release.

Get on the Bus for Lobby Day!

Save the Date – Lobby Day on Hydrofracking – Monday, May 2, 2011.

Mark your calendars and plan to join us on Monday, May 2 as we head to the state capital in Albany to talk with our elected leaders. Join us as we learn about current legislation that impacts the environment, hear from government leaders, and lobby our elected officials. This event is for everyone – no lobbying experience necessary.

Our emphasis this year will be on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, or “hydrofracking.”

This year we have rented a bus to transport people to Albany. We are still determining route, but will likely have stops in Syracuse, Binghamton, and along I-88. We will provide bus riders with a delicious lunch (included with ticket price).

If you are not taking the bus you may also want to join us for our NYIPL Networking Lunch. The cost to ride the bus or to purchase lunch is $10.

Earth Day Lobby Day is New York’s largest environmental event. New York Interfaith Power & Light is working with New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) and Environmental Advocates of New York (EANY) to coordinate the event. In the past, elected officials such as Governor David Paterson and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver have spoken at the gathering.

Please plan to register even if you will not be joining us on the bus or buying lunch. If you wish to participate in the full day event, you must pre-register so we can assign you to a lobby team. Click here to register.

For more information call (315) 256-0078.

Mainstream Media Links Extreme Weather to Climate Change reports that the major news networks are finally linking current extreme weather events with climate change. This ABC news video that shows the devastation in Australia, Sri Lanka, and Brazil, with comments from representatives of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).  Richard Somerville, Research Professor at Scripps USCD and IPCC scientist states, “This is no longer something that’s theory or conjecture or something that comes out of computer models. We’re observing the climate changing. It’s real. It’s happening. It’s scientific fact.”

Exit Signs Can Be Energy Hogs

Pastors Tyler and Neal "basking in the glow" of the exit signs

Exit signs are just not something you think about, but exit signs run continually…that’s 365 days a year, 24 hours per day or 8760 hours a year.

Jonesville UMC’s energy audit recommended a simple, but effective way to save energy and money: change their exit signs from regular light bulbs (2 – 25 watt bulbs per sign) to LEDs (1 watt each).

Jonesville had 20 exit signs throughout the church, so this simple change was equivalent to turning off 19-50 watt bulbs. The change was as simple as unscrewing the old bulb and screwing in the new and took all of 2 hours to do the entire church!

This one simple change has a big energy stewardship impact:

  • fewer problems for people with asthma – prevents the emission of about 9 pounds of nitrogen oxide, the main ingredient in ozone or smog, which is especially harmful to people with asthma;
  • less acid rain – prevents the emission of about 27 pounds of sulfur dioxide, which causes acid rain; and
  • less mercury pollution – especially damaging to pregnant women and children
  • prevents global warming – prevents the emission of about 7 tons of carbon dioxide, the principal global warming gas.

And this translates to an annual saving of $900 a year – this year and EVERY YEAR FROM NOW ON!

They’re also labor-saving: the LEDs have a lifetime of 100,000 hours…therefore the next change is in 2015.

The cost of the LEDs was $12 each or a total of $240. And as a result of taking action on this recommendation, NYSERDA reimbursed Jonesville for the entire $200 cost of the Energy Audit (the cost of which has since been reduced). This is just one of seven cost-effective measures identified by the Energy Audit.

Hydraulic Fracturing Position Statement

Statement: New York Interfaith Power and Light (NYIPL) urges the EPA to use the Precautionary
Principle in a scientifically sound comprehensive study of the process and impacts
of hydrofracking.

NYIPL has serious concerns about the safety of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”). Each drill
injects 50,000 to eight million gallons of water mixed with sand and chemical additives into a
geologic formation below the surface of the earth. The drilling industry has resisted revealing
exactly what chemicals are used in the fluid. The high pressure creates fracturing in the rock
which then releases the natural gas into the well. According to Environmental Advocates of New
York (, more than 1,400 cases of water contamination related to drilling have occurred
across the country. Recently the University of Buffalo has discovered that the process may cause
uranium that is naturally trapped within Marcellus shale to be released.

NYIPL questions the use of precious resources to mine yet another fossil fuel, especially one
with such potential dangers, and urges that no expansion of this practice should occur until such
concerns are resolved.

NYIPL: New York Interfaith Power & Light is a faith-based non-profit organization that serves
the state of New York. Our mission is to support congregations of all faiths in their actions to
curb global warming and protect the sacredness of the earth. We currently have 79 member
congregations, and regularly communicate with 900 people via our email list.

We are part of a national network of congregations of all faiths concerned about the effects of
global warming and power plant pollution.

Summary: The precautionary principle states that if a practice, such as hydraulic fracturing, has
a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment, that the burden of proof that
it is not harmful falls on those promoting the practice. In this case that would be those entities
promoting hydraulic fracturing.

There are substantial potential risks to hydraulic fracturing. The concerns about possible water
and air pollution caused by hydrofracking in the Marcellus Shale layer are well-documented.
Because the process was given an exemption from U.S. federal air and clean water regulations in
2005, we as a country have not done enough to formally assess the potential risks of

We should not go forward with this process operating out of ignorance. There are so many
people who would be affected if drinking water were contaminated that it would be negligent to
fail to study potential risks thoroughly. Furthermore, little is known about the effects of this
process on health of people near drilling sites, or on the local biota–including the eventual
disposal of the waste water that returns to the surface.

Our earth is sacred, and all that live in it. NYIPL calls on the EPA, along with our whole
community, to care for God’s creation by exercising the precautionary principle in relation to
hydraulic fracturing.

Contact: Janna Stieg Watkins, NYIPL Executive Director (315) 256-0078

Join the Carbon Covenant

Carbon Covenant LogoCarbon Covenant – Connecting with faith communities on the front lines of climate change

This new Interfaith Power & Light project links up congregations and people of faith in the U.S. with faith communities on the front lines of climate change in the developing world and offers a way to help out.

The four projects featured on the Carbon Covenant website are faith communities in the developing world taking the initiative to mitigate climate change and protect their communities. All of the projects address the number one source of greenhouse gas emissions in the developing world: deforestation. In Cambodia, Buddhist Monks aim to protect a remote community forest from illegal logging by ordaining and patrolling the area. In Ghana, the Presbyterian Church is teaching alternative, sustainable livelihoods, from snail farming to bee keeping. In Cameroon, an interfaith project is fighting desertification through tree planting. And on the slopes of Kilimanjaro, a Lutheran bishop is making tree planting a condition of confirmation in the church.

For more information, visit the Carbon Covenant website at

Rev. Sally Bingham Wins the Purpose Prize

This video features Rev. Bingham and is also a good introduction to the IPL movement and goals. The Purpose Prize honors an inspiring new group of role models for “engaged retirement.” Unwilling to stuff envelopes or go off quietly to the sidelines, these change-makers are taking matters into their own hands and fashioning a new vision of the second half of life, one in which the expertise and talent of a lifetime is refocused on finding solutions to challenges in our communities, our country, and the world. They are living proof that aging does not equal stagnation and decline, that later life is a time of innovation, productivity, and creativity as rich as the younger years.

If you want to make a difference, too, take action on global warming in your congregation and community!