A call to value a clean future above present consumption

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We believe that human beings have been charged to serve as stewards of God’s creation.  Thus, we petition the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to use moral and ethical reasoning more than financial reasoning when New York State agencies determine the correct discount rate for computing the Social Cost of Carbon.

Computing all the costs and benefits of using carbon-based fuels is a complex task that involves creating computer models based on atmospheric, biological, and economic sciences.  But at the bottom of all the scientific complexity is a simple ethical question:  “How much should our generation be allowed to incur environmental damages that we pass on to future generations so that we can gain some benefits today?”  We believe that zero—no discounting of damages to the future to support our consumption today—is the ethically correct answer to this important question.  

We also believe that the golden rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” applies to future generations.  Therefore, when evaluating the trade-off in utility between the present and future generations for the purpose of assessing damage from greenhouse gas emissions, ​zero is the morally and ethically correct discount rate to use to begin computing the social cost of carbon. The comment period ends on Nov. 27, 2020. If you agree please sign this petition with us!