Climate Conscience: Over 140 Scientists, Economists, Philosophers, & Faith Leaders Make the Case against Climate Change Policies that Hurt the Poor
September 18, 2014, Burke, Va. – The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation today released a new declaration, “Protect the Poor: Ten Reasons to Oppose Harmful Climate Change Policies,” in advance of President Obama’s address to the UN Climate Summit in New York. The declaration is backed by Cornwall’s new scientific and economic study, A Call to Truth Prudence, and Protection of the Poor 2014: The Case against Harmful Climate Change Policies Gets Stronger.
As of today, the declaration is signed by over 140 leaders, including 21 climate scientists, 28 other scientists, 21 economists (including specialists in environmental economics); 48 theologians, philosophers, and pastors; 29 ministry leaders; and 10 media figures who believe that today’s proposed climate change policies will hurt society’s most vulnerable.
“When President Obama tells the UN climate conference next week he wants an international agreement to fight global warming, he’ll be betraying the very people he purports to represent: the needy here and around the world,” said Dr. E. Calvin Beisner, founder and national spokesman of the Cornwall Alliance.
“The policies he wants will cause energy prices, and therefore all other prices, to skyrocket, hurting everyone, but the poor most of all. And ironically, it’s to no purpose. The scientific case for dangerous manmade warming has collapsed, while the case for higher CO2 raising crop yields and so making food more affordable for the world’s poor has grown stronger.”
Abundant, affordable, reliable energy is indispensable to lifting and keeping people out of poverty.
Mandatory reductions in CO2 emissions would greatly increase the price of energy, as well as goods and services. Such policies would slow, stop, or even reverse the economic growth that enables people to prosper and adapt to all climates. Mandatory reductions would also harm the poor more than the wealthy, compared to the small amount of warming they might prevent. Rising atmospheric CO2 benefits all life on Earth by improving plant growth and crop yields, making food more abundant and affordable, helping the poor most of all.
In developed countries, the poor spend a higher percentage of their income on energy than others, so rising energy prices, driven by mandated shifts from abundant, affordable, reliable fossil fuels to diffuse, expensive, intermittent “Green” energy, will in effect be regressive taxes—taxing the poor at higher rates than the rich.
To demand that people in developing countries forgo the use of inexpensive fossil fuels and depend on expensive wind, solar, and other “Green” fuels to meet that need is to condemn them to more generations of poverty and the high rates of disease and premature death that accompany it.
The declaration explains the top reasons to oppose harmful climate change policies championed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Western governments. It also calls on Christian and political leaders “to abandon fruitless and harmful policies to control global temperature and instead adopt policies that simultaneously reflect responsible environmental stewardship, make energy and all its benefits more affordable, and so free the poor to rise out of poverty.”
Among 21 climate scientists endorsing the declaration are Joseph D’Aleo, co-founder of The Weather Channel and chief meteorologist of Weatherbell.com; David R. Legates, Professor of Climatology, University of Delaware; Neil L. Frank, former Director, National Hurricane Center; and Roy W. Spencer, Principal Research Scientist in Climatology at the University of Alabama and an award-winning NASA climate researcher. Economists include Kenneth Chilton, Founder and Senior Environmental Fellow, Center for Economics & the Environment, Lindenwood University; George Gilder, author of Knowledge and Power: The Information Theory of Capitalism and How it is Revolutionizing our World; and Shawn Ritenour, Professor of Economics, Grove City College. Theologians, philosophers, and pastors include Bradley G. Green, Associate Professor of Christian Thought and Tradition, Union University; Henry Krabbendam, Emeritus Professor of Biblical Studies, Covenant College, and President of Africa Christian Training Institute, Uganda; and Jeffrey Riley, Professor of Ethics, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
Cornwall’s new declaration is supported by the release of a new scientific and economic study, A Call to Truth, Prudence, and Protection of the Poor 2014: The Case against Harmful Climate Change Policies Gets Stronger, written by climate-change scholars Dr. David R. Legates, Professor of Climatology at the University of Delaware, and Dr. G. Cornelis van Kooten, Professor of Economics and Research Chair in Environmental Studies and Climate at the University of Victoria.
The Cornwall Alliance is a network of theologians, scientists, economists, and other scholars and leaders working together educate on current issues related to the environment, economic development, and the Christian faith.