Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Unholy Alliance Between the Climate Change Catastrophists and the Christian Left

The similarities between religion and climate change has often been noted. Sometimes, it is explicit. Here are excerpts from Why climate change is a moral concern for the religious community, a January 2016 New Jersey Star-Ledger guest column by Ellen Lei & Sarah Clark:

While New Jerseyans enjoyed unseasonably warm weather this holiday season, the nations of the world gathered in Paris for a monumental convening on climate change.

. . . As people of faith, we believe that it is a pivotal time for us to take the lead in addressing climate change.

The outcomes of the Paris Agreement [to “fight climate change”] highlight two key themes that should be taken very seriously, especially by those in religious communities. We must make clear that people of faith have a moral responsibility to be stewards of the Earth and care for God's creation. And we must play the role that Christian communities and communities of faith have played for generations — reminding those in power that they bear responsibility to defend the powerless.

Non-governmental organizations – and religious communities in particular – have already taken up this charge.

. . .[O]ur current commitments to reduce carbon emissions fall short, and we continue to accelerate our consumption of natural resources. God calls his people to be stewards of all natural creation. Therefore, we must protect the Earth in any way we can and push towards a more sustainable future.

There are certain mechanisms, such as the Green Climate Fund, that enable richer nations to provide monetary assistance to poorer countries. Funds such as this are intended to minimize all nations' reliance on fossil fuels and ideally, all nations will see it in their interest to do so. Currently, the goal is to raise $100 billion for the GCF by 2020. It is expected that nations will commit $100 billion every year after 2020.

I left these comments:

The opening reference to this year’s holiday warm spell indicates the religious nature of the authors’ “moral concern.” The unseasonably warm December was likely caused by the confluence of two naturally recurring phenomena—a powerful El NiƱo and an unusually strong polar vortex, not climate change as implied in the first paragraph. But, hey, when you’re a person of faith, you don’t have to bother with facts.

And it is indeed a religious fight, as “fighting climate change” has become a religious crusade. So it stands to reason that the most consistent Christians—the Christian Left—would align with the climate change catastrophists.

It’s also logical that Lei and Clark would frame climate change in moral terms. There is indeed a fundamental moral divide on the issue of fossil fuels vs. climate change. On one side is the environmentalists’ moral standard that holds pristine nature, unaltered by humans, as the ideal. This naturalist standard stands in sharp opposition to the humanist premise, which holds human life and well-being as the moral standard.

Since man can only survive and thrive by improving on and altering the natural Earth through productive work—by, for example, mass producing reliable, affordable energy through fossil fuel extraction—the naturalists stand in opposition to human progress, while the humanists embrace progress.

On the naturalist standard, human impact on the climate is bad, no matter the human benefits. On the human life standard, human impact on the climate must be measured against the benefits of fossil fuels. On the naturalist premise, fossil fuels must be done away with no matter the energy deprivation to humans. On the humanist premise, fossil fuel use is an immense moral positive because the benefits dwarf any negative side effects, which should be mitigated where rationally possible but not at the expense of depriving humans of the energy of life.

Both the environmentalists and the Christian Left are naturalists. Both see climate change, to the extend humans are contributing, as intrinsically evil. Both believe stopping climate change is paramount, no matter the cost to human well-being. Both, therefore, want to sacrifice human beings to what they view as a higher value; to “pristine” nature, in the case of the environmentalists, or to “God’s creation,” in the case of the Christian Left.

Both know that the most economically progressive societies are the least endangered by climate extremes, implicitly acknowledging the connection between nature-altering industrialization and human well-being. Yet neither side cares to lift the poor by bringing to them the same free market liberty and industrialization-driving energy that the wealthy societies enjoy. Instead, in keeping with their anti-humanist moral standards, they align with socialists in calling for another massive wealth redistributionist scheme, this time from the prosperous nations to the poor nations. This, as they simultaneously fight to deprive progressive nations of their fossil fuel lifeblood, in the faith-based hope that someone, somehow will find a way to make so-called “green energy” a viable replacement—a double blow to our prosperous, safer, cleaner, flourishing living standards. Both want to “protect the Earth” from human progress. Both want to “push towards a more sustainable future”—i./e., a new Dark Age, the last extended period in which sustainability won out over progress.

The result of this unholy alliance of Leftist Christianity and climate change alarmism can only be expanding poverty and misery, the reverse of recent world trends. In the name of avoiding an alleged “major environmental crisis,” both would roll back the clock to the days when humans confronted daily a “major environmental crisis”—no clean running water, no healthful sanitary waste disposal, no central heating or air conditioning for clean indoor environmental control, no modern cooking appliances for clean indoor food preparation, no advanced transportation, no electric lighting, no instant communication, no advanced agriculture, no protection from infectious diseases, none of the modern protections against weather and climate extremes the average person takes for granted today. Yet, neither cares. Their goal is to protect God’s pristine Earth from human progress. This, in the name of “loving others?”

It is indeed a moral fight. It is a clash of moral visions; human progress vs. naturalism, a classic good vs. evil battle.


Additional from the article:

We have a national self-interest in addressing climate change, protecting our economy and security for the next generation, but we also have a moral obligation. The poor and vulnerable suffer most from the impacts of climate change, though they often contribute least to the problem.

Note the “but.” “[P]rotecting our economy and security for the next generation” requires continued progress. “But” that is not a moral obligation. The poor “contribute least to the problem.” Translation: Climate change is a side effect of “economic security.” We must address climate change for the sake of the poor. Why not expand economic security to the poor? Because that would add to “the problem” of climate change. Can’t have that. Any doubt that the “fight to limit global warming” is really a fight to stifle economic progress? It’s certainly not a fight for “the poor and vulnerable”—unless poverty and vulnerability to climate dangers is the goal.

Related reading:

The sustainability myth—Alex Epstein

Wrapping our minds around climate change—Alex Epstein

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