more than a feeling
Christian recording artist Crystal Lewis apparently Gets It.
A cadre of conservative Christian chieftans, celebs, and groups have organized under a new global warming and poverty campaign, the oddly titled "We Get It!" (which sounds less like an affirmation and more like a complaint, like, "We Get It Already, Fucking Lay Off, Okay?") that attempts to nod in the general direction of climate change but wags a stern Christian finger at mitigating potential catastrophe with a muddle of talking points cribbed from industry-supported confabs and the proclamations of right-wing academics working in highly industrialized economies.
It's a shame, really - We Get It reveals less about the very real call Christians have, especially evangelicals, to working on behalf of the poor here and around the world and more about what the group's signatories fail to comprehend about science or current events. It's more like a campaign about a generalized feeling or unease with economic regulation inre: core conservative principles. Thusly, the messaging works on two levels here: first, it quite deliberately connects "stewardship" - service on behalf of the Lord for His Creation, which is in fact a strain of Christian environmentalism, something Mike Huckabee talked a lot about during his brief flirtation with GOP frontrunnerdom - with "dominionism," or power over God's earth (since we were created in His image). Second, said stewardship, as well as service to the poor, is intertwined here with the story of access to free markets: that is, uplift of the unfortunate 'round the world will one day look like Longmont or Westminster, and lo be the enviro, Christian or otherwise, who fails to see that (per Lakoff) Property is Freedom; a caretaker is in a position of authority, and thus is in a position to know best.
Onto the arguments. From We Get It's "Quick Facts":
The science is not settled on global warming. Alas, it has been. The disagreements which remain deal with the intensity of the change. There is not a scientific consensus that global warming is man-made, and is likely to be catastrophic. Qualifying the term "catastrophic" is a little problematic, sure, but I'll let James Lovelock take care of that for me. Many qualified scientists with expertise in climatology, meteorology, and other related fields question the media-driven “conventional wisdom” on climate change. More than 400 were recently highlighted by the staff of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Hundreds of scientists and researchers have signed the Manhattan Declaration stating “human-caused climate change is not a global crisis.” Lordy, lordy.
According to the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research, even “full and perfect compliance” with the Kyoto Protocol on global warming would mean the average global temperature in 2050 would be only 0.2° F lower than it would be in the absence of emissions controls. But its impact on Black and Hispanic communities in the U.S. could cost minorities 1.3 million jobs in 2012. There's a weird sort of emphasis on Kyoto for the We Get It folks; Kyoto was never intended to be a silver bullet, but to serve as a platform for further greenhouse gas reductions. We're pretty much in a post-Kyoto period, at this point. But since they brought it up...as far the big fat job losses among America's diverse populations, it took me forever to track that down, but those figures have been touted by Dobson for the last ten years, which in turn had been pulled from this - a report put out by the Energy Information Administration back in 1998. You may view said report here, keeping this in mind - it also predicted a rise of 53% in gasoline prices with implementation of Kyoto (a gallon of gas cost about a buck back in 1998), and global warming skeptics are well-represented in it's acknowledgments section.
Efforts to cut greenhouse gases hurt the poor. By making energy less affordable and accessible, mandatory emissions reductions would drive up the costs of consumer products, stifle economic growth, cost jobs, and impose especially harmful effects on the Earth's poorest people. Stunning. First, not everyone measures progress and health by using the free market as a yardstick - not very Christian at all, frankly - but nevermind that. Okay - the effects of global warming notwithstanding, there simply isn't enough oil to share with the two big emerging economies of China and India. We all want development, we all want to raise the standard of living among the poor, whether they're here in Denver or in Shanghai, but oil's for squares, daddy-o, get with the new style (nevermind the myriad externalities of business as usual, again, global warming notwithstanding). As far as costs go, a 2006 paper by the Brit-backed Stern Review reported that one percent of total world GNP dedicated to mitigating the effects of global warming could mean avoiding a world-wide economic crash. Each of the series of increasingly expensive treaties being proposed to fight global warming would cost hundreds of billions of dollars each year, with the multiple treaties gobbling up many times more every year than the estimated one-time price of providing sanitation and clean drinking water to the nearly 2 billion poor people in the world who lack them now. See below...
A panel of eight of the world’s most distinguished economists, including four Nobel laureates, examined various proposals for dealing with climate change by reducing carbon emissions. The expert panel, in what has come to be known as the "Copenhagen Consensus," regarded these proposals as "bad projects" and "having costs that were likely to exceed the benefits." The Consensus here belongs to the Economist, which recently accepted the facts of global warming, and Bjorn Lomborg, the Skeptic's Skeptic; this is kind of like me saying that the best videostore in town is the one I work at on the weekends, and I managed to arrive at this conclusion by convening a panel of the store's clerks and customers who come three times a week.