Got a feelin’ for Eco-Justice?
Religion & Liberty Online

Got a feelin’ for Eco-Justice?

It’s not easy being a global warming alarmist these days, what with the cascading daily disclosures of Climategate. But if you are a global warming alarmist operating within the progressive/liberal precincts of churches and their activist organizations, you have a potent option, one that the climatologists and policy wonks can only dream about when they get cornered by the facts. You can play the theology card!

Over at the National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Program blog, writer “jblevins” is troubled by a lot of the skeptical talk about global warming in the wake of serial East Coast blizzards. Not to worry, if you’ve bet on the Atmospheric Apocalypse, because right away “jblevins” throws down the trump card [emphasis mine]:

… our call to care for God’s Creation is not contingent on weather events or even on scientific proof. We are called as people of faith to live in relationship with all of God’s People and all of God’s Creation. Part of that means addressing the way we have been living that has caused unbalance amidst that Creation. For us, this is not an issue of politics, or even necessarily of science. It is a call of our faith, as our principles again state, “as people of faith we are guided by the value of sustainability. Sustainability requires that we enable biological and social systems that nurture and support life not be depleted or poisoned.

There you have it. Global warming (note the semantic shift to climate change as the activists dig out their driveways) is not about the science, it’s about the “call of faith.” Now, I happen to think this is pious nonsense, but let us ask for the sake of asking: If your global warming alarmism is not based on sound science, then it is based on … what? Divine Revelation? Or is it simply a feeling, a mood, an emotion? As in, “I feel like Creation is poisoned.”

Obviously, the folks at the NCC are deeply conflicted because one of the articles of their “Faith Principles on Global Warming” statement sets out some rather precise policy formulas for bringing Creation back from the brink:

Follow recognized scientific guidelines and recommendations in order to protect all of God’s creation and prevent catastrophic damage to God’s Earth and God’s people. Following their recommendations, legislation must include comprehensive, mandatory, and aggressive emission reductions that aim to limit the increase in Earth’s temperature to 2 degrees Celsius or less. Legislation should focus on the short term goal of reducing U.S. carbon emissions to reach a 15-20 percent reduction in carbon by 2020 with a long term vision to achieve carbon emissions that are 80 percent of 2000 levels by the year 2050.

But what is this policy formula founded on? What, exactly, are the “recognized scientific guidelines”? Recognized by whom? Or, are these guidelines based on the “call of faith”? I’m afraid to ask. I might get played.

Meanwhile, the “official inquiry” into Climategate has lurched off to a wobbly start.

A member of an independent panel to investigate claims that climate scientists covered up flawed data on global warming has been forced to resign after sceptics questioned his impartiality. Philip Campbell, editor in chief of Nature, stepped down from the panel yesterday, just hours after its official launch, after an interview emerged in which he said there was nothing to suggest a cover-up by climate scientists at the University of East Anglia.

Foreign Policy magazine observes that Rajendra K. Pachauri, who as head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change accepted the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for the group, “is under fire from critics for a catalogue of recent embarrassments.” Pauchari is unrepentant but he also has a theological view of things, explaining to the Chicago Tribune in 2008 that, “I tell people I was born a Hindu who believes in reincarnation. It will take me the next six lives to neutralize my carbon footprint. There’s no way I can do it in one lifetime.”

The Climategate 2009 Web site posted a BBC interview of the UK’s Chief Scientist at the Department for the Environment, Professor Robert Watson, on the subject of “whether the case for man-made global warming is now unraveling after months of damaging revelations.” Prof. Watson did not play the theology card.

John Couretas

is a writer and editor based in Grand Rapids, Michigan.