Climate: Claiming the Moral Imperative

December 8, 2015

I’ve reported before that, in a major sea change in public attitudes, a large majority of Americans now believe that dealing with climate change is a moral issue that must be addressed. Above, Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders shows that he’s reading the polls, as well as the science,  and gets it.

The moral framing places climate change on a plane well above the dry charts and graphs that turn a lot of people off, and on to a gut-grabbing issue of right and wrong.  Scientists and others concerned with climate action have begun acting on a better understanding of this framing, and getting better responses from their audience.

Associated Press:

Physicist John Schellnhuber, founder of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, said he has been coming to these international talks for 11 years and essentially seen negotiators throw up their hands and say “sorry guys we tried our best.” And no one protested. But this time, with the power of Pope Francis’ encyclical earlier this year calling global warming a moral issue and an even more energized interfaith community, Schellnhuber feels the world’s faithful are watching and will hold world leaders accountable.

“They know they will be measured against the encyclical,” Schellnhuber, a member of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences, said Saturday at a Catholic Church event. Ever the scientist, Schellnhuber said on Saturday he hadn’t seen any evidence yet during the first week of negotiations that this will happen, but he has faith it will.

In the first five days of climate negotiations, interfaith activists came, fasted, talked to media, buttonholed leaders and prayed. On Saturday night in a downtown Paris chapel, hundreds of people, many of them prostrated on the ground, sang and prayed for the climate negotiators and mostly for the world.

 

Faith “is much deeper” than science, said Caroline Bader of the Geneva-based Lutheran World Federation.

And so are their numbers. Bader said interfaith leaders recently handed top United Nations negotiators a petition with 1.8 million signatures begging for meaningful climate action. Such action was also sought by Brother Alois Taize, a Catholic member of the ecumenical monastery, as he was preaching at the song-laden service about how the faithful and the world have to open their eyes to solutions to global warming.

“The environment movement, which has primarily been a secular one, has realized that over the last 30 years or so it’s not been that successful in achieving its goals,” Joe Ware of Christian Aid wrote in an email from the Paris talks. “Increasingly it has looked to faith groups for help in mobilizing a broader movement of people calling for action on climate change. They are actually natural allies as almost all faiths have a theology of creation care at their heart.”

On the right wing, the morality conversation has been hijacked by the crank religious right, and their hatred for gays and other minorities.

For my money, the best speech on the moral imperative for dealing with climate is still Carl Sagan’s “Pale Blue Dot”.

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4 Responses to “Climate: Claiming the Moral Imperative”


    • So which is the bigger sin? Failing to stop a so-called global warming crisis which has increasing credibility problems with its underlying science assessments, or breaking the 9th Commandment in order to be sure skeptic scientists’ criticisms aren’t taken seriously?

      In case you fellows missed it, I covered this question and Ms Hayhoe’s dilemma about it here: http://gelbspanfiles.com/?p=865

      Regarding today’s shenanigans from Greenpeace against Dr Will Happer, allow me to repeat the tip I sent to Anthony Watts which he placed in a post this evening ( http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/12/08/quote-of-the-week-dr-will-happers-blowback-to-greenpeace-during-ambush-at-senate-hearing-today/ ): “After 20+ years of failing to come up with evidence that skeptic climate scientists are paid to lie by industry people, nothing telegraphs that failure better than fabricating the evidence out of thin air right now.”

      Gents, stop and think about this. Believe all you want that skeptics are crooks, but when your dear leaders feel compelled to concoct evidence, that’s one huge indicator of just how weak the accusation has been this entire time.

      Your Greenpeace friends just committed political suicide in the most epic manner possible. This is your wakeup call.

      • dumboldguy Says:

        Russell would simply dismiss what Greenpeace did as “shenanigans” and says that Greenpeace is “fabricating the evidence out of thin air” and “concocting” it? Has Russell read the email string between Happer and those who trapped him? Is Russell saying it’s not true? Here we go, Russell—-PROVE that the email exchange is fabricated and we’ll listen to you.

        Methinks Russell doth protest too much, and is frantically trying to minimize the damage caused by Happer’s foolish behavior. Same goes for all the bluster about calling in the FBI that we are hearing from Moore. Sounds like the deniers are getting desperate and blowing smoke, and if Russell and his tired old song is the best they have to defend Happer, they are in BIG trouble.

        (And Happer’s blowup and “S.O.B.” comment at the hearing is just proof of how hard he has been hit by the “ambush”. If I were him, I’d be so angry at myself I’d be banging my head against the wall).


  1. So which is the bigger sin? Failing to stop a so-called global warming crisis which has increasing credibility problems with its underlying science assessments, or breaking the 9th Commandment in order to be sure skeptic scientists’ criticisms aren’t taken seriously?

    In case you fellows missed it, I covered this question and Ms Hayhoe’s dilemma about it here: http://gelbspanfiles.com/?p=865

    Regarding today’s shenanigans from Greenpeace against Dr Will Happer, allow me to repeat the tip I sent to Anthony Watts which he placed in a post this evening ( http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/12/08/quote-of-the-week-dr-will-happers-blowback-to-greenpeace-during-ambush-at-senate-hearing-today/ ): “After 20+ years of failing to come up with evidence that skeptic climate scientists are paid to lie by industry people, nothing telegraphs that failure better than fabricating the evidence out of thin air right now.”

    Gents, stop and think about this. Believe all you want that skeptics are crooks, but when your dear leaders feel compelled to concoct evidence, that’s one huge indicator of just how weak the accusation has been this entire time.

    Your Greenpeace friends just committed political suicide in the most epic manner possible. This is your wakeup call.


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