Among certain Christians, “climate change” has replaced the mark of the beast as the most important sign of the impending apocalypse. One such is Australian Jarrod McKenna, whose mini-bio at the Sojourners blog says, “As a Vine and Fig Tree Planter, he plants ‘signs’ on military bases that draw the connections between God’s kingdom, militarism, and climate change.” Uh, huh.
This being the week of the Copenhagen confab, folks such as Jarrod are all worked up about what humanity needs to do to save the planet (God apparently being tied up in some other part of the cosmos with more important things to do). He writes about NASA climate hysteric James Hansen’s opposition to cap-and-trade proposals:
While many climate deniers [sic–I don’t know of anyone who denies we have a climate] have distracted people’s attention with the sound and fury surrounding the now infamous hacked e-mails, there are more important critical questions Christians need to be asking about COP 15. James Hansen’s comments are not regarding the science of climate change but the methods of “cap and trade” that are being put forward as a solution.
I completely agree that cap-and-trade is a ludicrous shell game that will accomplish nothing in terms of actually effecting the climate. Of course, Hansen’s preferred alternative is a carbon tax, which would either 1) do nothing to effect the climate as businesses and people simply paid it and went on with their carbon use; or 2) significantly reduce carbon use, which is likely to stall and then constrict the world’s economy and doom millions of poor people to an even worse life. What “green Christians” want, other than the outcome without the pain, is a mystery, since they almost invariably talk in terms of the goals that need to be met rather than the mechanisms–and their inevitable side effects–necessary for meeting them. KcKenna then goes on to approvingly quote one of the most aggressively stupid things Hansen’s ever said, and that’s going some:
[Climate Change] is analogous to the issue of slavery faced by Abraham Lincoln or the issue of Nazism faced by Winston Churchill. On those kind of issues you cannot compromise. You can’t say let’s reduce slavery, let’s find a compromise and reduce it 50% or reduce it 40%.
So, what is Hansen advocating here, exactly? Is he saying that the current climate is the best of all possible climates, and that we should do anything and everything possible to insure that there is never any change to it? Or is he advocating the complete and absolute elimination of use of all carbon-based energy sources? Immediately? Is he saying we have to slaughter the world’s cattle to extinction, since cow flatulence is a major source of methane? Just what, in the context of the scientific reality that human beings only dimly understand, and cannot control, the planet’s climate, does “no compromise” mean? McKenna’s musing on this tripe only makes it worse:
Hansen’s comments left me thinking out how we judge the blindness of Christians who lived through Nazi Germany or through the African slave trade. Despite their sincerity and diligence in reading holy scripture they could not see clearly God’s concern for the most vulnerable.
So now a reluctance to completely transform the economic, social, and cultural lives of hundreds of millions if not billions of people in a statist direction, using science that is still hotly disputed, is the equivalent of failing to oppose the Nazis or the slave trade. And people like this wonder why the rest of us refuse to follow them, lemming-like, off the edge of a cliff. McKenna concludes this thought with a clever, if peculiar, quote:
As Christian Aid partner and Bangladeshi activist Nazmul Chowdhury has said, “Forget about making poverty history. Climate Change will make poverty permanent.”
OK, I know it will land me in the greenies’ fourth ring of hell (the one reserved for those who ask impertinent questions), but I’ll ask anyway:
Why will climate change make poverty permanent? What is there about current climate change that is outside the realm of previous human experience? What is it about climate change that will prevent human migration by those who, if worse comes to worst, find themselves in a newly arid region, or one where the shoreline has moved inland? I’m not making light of the difficulties that such outcomes would cause many people, and I’m all in favor of helping those who are dispossessed by environmental changes. But what are we talking about here? Is Earth going to become Venus? Of course not. Some regions that are now productive will become non-productive. The opposite will happen in other areas (recall why Greenland was given that name by the Vikings). Some areas may have to be abandoned by people, while other will become habitable. Such has been happening for as long as humanity has been on Earth, and such will continue to happen for the foreseeable future. But if poverty is a permanent feature of human society, it is not because climate change has decreed it to be so.
I’m sure that Jarrod McKenna is a very nice, very sincere, very zealous young man who has the good of all people at heart. Would that he used his head as well, rather than being swept along by the hysteria and religious fervor of those who would make Gaia a goddess and James Hansen her prophet.