The cap-and-trade climate bill recently passed by the House of Representatives may be the worst single piece of legislation to ever come out of Congress, and that’s saying something. Stuffed full of pork, giveaways to big business that vitiate one of the purposes of the bill, impossibly complicated regulatory schemes, the biggest tax increase (in effect) in U.S. history during a deep recession, blueprints for a huge ramp-up in bureaucracy bloat, ever-greater controls on people’s lives by a know-it-all government, all based in questionable science that is being increasingly repudiated even within the government and tied up in a bill that none of the members who voted on it had read in its entirety–put it all together and it spells disaster.
But that doesn’t mean that certain people in the religious left aren’t pretty happy with it. Jim Winkler of the General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church trumpets the fact that even as the American economy is being torn to shreds by this monstrosity, at least some people will be protected because of the efforts of the religious left:
Our message to Capitol Hill on climate change has focused on two principles: stewardship and justice. Working through many coalitions, including faith-based emphasize three basic points: reduce emissions in line with scientific recommendations; protect those living in poverty in the United States; and provide funding for international adaptation to assist those in poverty around the world adapt to the impact of climate change.
After years of inaction, Congress is poised to take up comprehensive climate legislation. I wish I could report that what is emerging is a great bill. It is not. Industry’s fingerprints are all over it.
So too, however, are the fingerprints of justice advocates. We worked hard to ensure that our brothers and sisters living in poverty in the United States and around the world are protected. We were successful.
Through scores of meetings with members of Congress and their staffs, and testimony before the House Energy & Commerce Committee, we successfully advocated for inclusion of language to protect those living on the economic margins. Specifically, those whose incomes fall in the lowest 20% will be shielded from potential cost increases as the United States shifts to a greener energy economy.
Furthermore, we worked tirelessly to include language that provides money for international adaptation. This money will assist those living in poverty around the world as the changing climate threatens their very survival.
I’m glad the poor are being protected from the impact of this travesty that Jim Winkler’s fingers are all over (at least in his own mind). Everyone else is going to see huge increases in the cost of energy and goods that utilize it at some point int their trip to the marketplace (in other words, everything except the tomatoes you grow in your backyard). And for what? Every analysis I’ve seen says that the impact of this bill on global temperature will be negligible.
Remember, the point here supposedly isn’t controlling our lives, supposedly isn’t helping the poor, supposedly isn’t even reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere–the point is to stop global warming (the euphemism “climate change” in this context is particularly ridiculous, since reducing carbon emissions can only have one real effect if the hysterics are correct in their claims). This bill won’t do that, perhaps not at all, almost certainly not to any degree that would make the economic, social, and political cost worth it. Yet Winkler seems to think that passing this bill, or something that goes even farther, is what Jesus would want:
We continue to work to improve the bill and will have to see the final product before supporting it. If this legislation is defeated, climate change will probably be shelved for the remainder of the 111th session of Congress. It likely will remain shelved until after the next presidential election.
In John 10, Jesus states that his purpose is to ensure people may have abundant life. Stewardship of health and the environment are two areas where responsibility to achieve that abundant life has been entrusted to each of us. Creating personal, environmental and social conditions where an abundant life is possible is a joint responsibility: public and private.
With God’s help and with courageous leadership, we can help transform fear to trust, anger to forgiveness, grief to compassion, narrow self-interest to mutual solidarity, ensuring that abundant life Jesus embodied.
So now we are dependent on Congress to provide the “abundant life” of which Jesus spoke. God help us all.