Conservatives, Christian and non-Christian alike, share concerns about
- civil and religious liberty,
- abortion and the sanctity of human life,
- human trafficking and pornography and how they damage families,
- fiscal responsibility in government, and
What many don’t know is that there are links between climate alarmism and every one of these issues. Let me take them in reverse order.
First, climate alarmism undermines fiscal responsibility in government. Not only do governments around the world spend nearly $1 billion per day just on research into climate change, but also policies meant to reduce global warming would drive up energy prices, causing economies worldwide to contract or grow more slowly, leading to lower government revenues. Combine lower revenues with massive spending not just on climate research but also on mitigation policies, and you have skyrocketing government debt.
Second, climate alarmism threatens everyone economically, especially the poor. Climate policies demanding reduced use of fossil fuels, our best source for the abundant, affordable, reliable energy indispensable to rising and staying out of poverty, will increase poverty in developed countries and prolong it in developing ones. And the negative effects of poverty on individual and family life are clear.
Third, climate alarmism leads to abortion. To prevent what they believe is dangerous manmade global warming, climate alarmists want to reduce CO2 emissions, which requires reducing fossil fuel consumption, which can be achieved partly by reducing population growth (and eventually population itself), a rationale for government family planning programs, which incentivize having fewer children, which leads to more abortions.
Fifth, climate alarmism threatens liberty. Surprising? It happens in two ways. Let me explain.
Climate alarmism’s first threat to liberty is subtle and not easily recognized. Promoting fears about global warming is not an end in itself but a means to a larger end, the promotion of the United Nations’ “Sustainable Development Goals.” These are embedded in the UN’s Environment Programme, its Agenda 21—renamed The 2030 Agenda—and its Framework Convention on Climate Change (parent of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), and other programs. They are also embedded in programs within specific nations. For example, the United States government has sustainable development programs in most, perhaps all, federal agencies, most states and counties have them, and multi-state regional quasi-governmental bodies (lacking clear accountability to citizens) have been devised to pursue sustainable development. “Sustainable development” sounds like common sense. Who would want to develop in an unsustainable way? But in practice it aims to “reduce inequality within and among nations” (UN “Sustainable Development Goal #10”), not through spontaneous, market-driven production of new wealth but through forced redistribution of wealth managed by unelected transnational elites.
Climate alarmism’s second threat to liberty is more blunt and obvious. Many climate alarmists (former NASA researcher James Hansen, Al Gore, Robert Kennedy Jr., and many others) have for years called for criminal punishment of “climate skeptics.” Not long ago Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) proposed using RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) against them (as pro-aborts attempted against pro-lifers). This spring Congressman Raul Grijalva and Senator Barbara Boxer (joined by others) tried to use their Congressional power to jeopardize the jobs of “climate skeptic” scientists (including two Cornwall Alliance Senior Fellows, climatologists Dr. Roy W. Spencer of the University of Alabama and Dr. David R. Legates of the University Delaware). Recently 20 climate-alarmist scientists wrote an open letter supporting Whitehouse’s proposal. And the chief weather forecaster for France’s government-run television station,France Télévisions, Philippe Verdier, was put on “forced holiday” and threatened with termination after he published a book giving evidence against catastrophic, anthropogenic global warming. Perhaps most disturbing of all, the UK Supreme Court in September hosted a semi-secret meeting of some of the world’s most influential judges, lawyers, and legal scholars (some whose travel costs were paid by the UN Environment Programme or the Asian Development Bank, both with vested interests in upholding climate alarmism) at which they proposed making it illegal for anyone to question the scientific evidence for man-made global warming. Such threats to free inquiry, free speech, free press, and even—because religious worldview and ethics influence views on climate change and policy—freedom of religion and conscience are real and growing.
The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation will premiere a new documentary, Where the Grass Is Greener: Biblical Stewardship vs. Climate Alarmism, followed by a panel discussion Wednesday, October 21, noon to 2 p.m., at the Heritage Foundation. The documentary harnesses the expertise of over 30 world-class scholars in climate science; developmental, environmental, and energy economics; and theology, ethics, and public policy to address global warming and climate policy from a Biblical worldview perspective, using excellent science and free-market economics, to protect the world’s poor from harmful climate and energy policies.
The documentary and a YouTube video series, Greener on the Other Side: Climate Alarmism—Facts, Not Fear provide evidence supporting a petition, Forget ‘Climate Change’, Energy Empowers the Poor!
[This article was first published at Townhall.com October 17, 2015.]