We are not alone in believing that some of the global warming solutions go too far and do too little good. Two days after the Times exploited so-called divisions within the evangelical community, John Tierney, an op-ed writer for the Times, lampooned the entire debate over global warming. Solutions like the Kyoto treaty, writes Tierney, “amount to expensive hair shirts that appeal to [environmental] penitents,” but with costs that economists say are far too high. He cited four Nobel laureates and their colleagues, who met in Copenhagen in 2004 to study proposals to help the poor, and concluded that programs to slow global warming are “far less worthwhile than programs to immediately combat disease and improve drinking water and sanitation.”
“Saving lives now,” Tierney concludes, “makes more sense than spending large sums to avert biblical punishments that may never come.” Besides which, scientists are still unsure of how much the planet will heat up or how much—if any—damage will be done.
Now, we all have a stewardship responsibility for God’s creation, but we also have responsibility for God’s creatures. Balancing those interests requires prudence. I’m convinced most evangelicals agree on this—the New York Times notwithstanding—even if we may disagree on how resources are most effectively employed. “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof,” as the Scriptures put it. But it takes wisdom to figure out exactly how best to take care of it—and people too.
“Climate Change Policy: Scientific, Moral, and Theological Implications” from the Interfaith Stewardship Alliance.
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