Thursday, March 20, 2008

(Religious) climate change

It's heartening to see more evangelicals hopping on the dangers-of-climate-change bandwagon these days, as Austin Energy's John Baker pointed out this morning. Dr. Webber had mentioned earlier this semester that some religious zealots oppose taking a stand against climate change either because they are skeptics or because it portends the apocalypse, which they deem unavoidable.

It goes without saying the amount of sway the religious right holds in this country, particularly on policymaking. If President Bush's administration is any indication, religious conservatives (or at least the faction who have Bush's ear) have resisted taking forceful countermeasures against climate change, or even acknowledging that it is a problem. Fortuitously, this appears to be changing. A Worldwatch Institute report states that U.S. Southern Baptist leaders have joined the environmental cause, as has the Catholic Church which has gone so far as to include environmental degradation on its list of seven globalization sins. (Other "sins" such as stem cell research and birth control are debatable, but that's another can of worms.)

It remains to be seen whether religion will play as important of a role on policymaking as it seems to have had with Bush (although religion appears to have played second fiddle to corporate interests all along), considering all three presidential candidates appear to be on the same "green" page (although statements by McCain suggest he take a more laissez-faire approach whereas a stronger stance (legislation, appointing progressive judges, etc.) is required).

As the Worldwatch article points out, 85% of the world's population are religious adherents. The more religious leaders recognize the problems caused by using conventional energy sources, presumably the greater that popular will would continue to swell and galvanize policymakers into action.

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