Thursday, August 16, 2007

Global Warming

The Acton Institute is a Christian organization dedicated to promoting a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles. In the following linked article, they weigh in on global warming yet again.

The Global Warming Debate: Yada, Yada, Yada - Acton Institute PowerBlog

The problem, argues Samuelson and others like him (include me in their number), is quite simple. What really causes global warming and what can we do about it? What troubles me deeply is the way many evangelicals, to cite just one segment of the Church, want us to buy into the global warming theories and solutions as a matter of faith and morals. Here are the facts that make this approach pious nonsense:

1. Almost everyone who is sane about this issue knows that we can only cut emissions incrementally and that China and India will more than offset the small gains we can make in the US and Europe. But the blame America cry heard in all of this smacks of politics more than of real science and pragmatic workable solutions.

2. No single theory is the accepted scientific model that has been approved, or universally accepted. We are working off of various theories and hunches and the debate needs much more light and less heat, no pun intended.

3. What we can do is more research and development. We need to do this and we need to resist avoidance of the serious aspects of this matter.

4. We can find better ways to dispose of waste material than into the environment. Some of these are both safer and more cost effective. Real solutions will be found by those grapple with both sides of this equation.

5. Samuelson gets it right when he concludes: “The overriding reality seems almost un-American: we simply don’t have a solution for this problem.” This is hard for us to admit. We are so convinced that we can solve anything and everything, especially if we created the problem in the first place (as is assumed in this debate).

This is why Samuelson suggests that we steadfastly refuse to address this issue as “a morality tale.” Amen! Someone please tell this to Richard Cizik of NAE, or to Jim Wallis of Sojourners, or to Tony Campolo the prophetic screamer, and to all the others who have made this into one of the biggest moral issues of the day for Christians. We can all do a lot better in addressing this complex and real concern if we keep this type of rhetoric and silliness out of the picture. All it does is assign categories, or labels, and then we all know who the “good guys” really are. Game, set, match!

Absolutely nothing is resolved in this kind of zero-sum game of cheap moralizing.