President Obama goes to the Copenhagen conference on climate change this month in a weak position, unable to point to any significant U.S. plan for cutting carbon emissions. Though the U.S. has the highest per capita emissions in the world, it has yet to commit itself to cutting the volume of heat-trapping gases that cause global warming. The issue remains on the political back burner.
In the last year or so, the data about climate change has grown steadily darker. The scale and the pace of global warming seem larger and faster than we realized even a few years ago. Perhaps the most powerful proof was the rapid melt of Arctic sea ice last summer.
A theological engagement with the current global environmental crisis needs to do four things. It needs to show a thorough grasp of the scientific and historical context in which these questions are being discussed.
While it can’t cut back on travel for church business, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has indicated, it hopes to elevate its ecological modeling to make up for the heavy environmental cost of air travel.
Global warming will force faith organizations to significantly increase spending on humanitarian efforts—including refugee resettlement, food distribution and disaster relief—according to a new study by the National Council of Churches.
Chris Goodall’s book How to Live a Low-Carbon Life (Earthscan, 2007) was described by New Scientist magazine as “the definitive guide to reducing your carbon footprint.” Goodall, a Brit who has an MBA from Harvard Business School, works for a software firm in England and is active in politics and environmental issues, especially in the Oxf
A decade ago most experts thought of global warming as the largest challenge civilization faced—but one that would happen relatively gradually. That cautious optimism has faded as one study after another has proved that the earth was more finely balanced than we’d understood. The climate crisis is bearing down on us much faster than most people realize. The temperature rise has started melting every frozen thing on earth. In the Arctic Ocean, white ice that reflected the sun’s rays is quickly turning into water that absorbs more of the sun’s heat. And, as the ice melts, there’s the very real chance of a catastrophic rise in sea levels.
As this issue of the magazine was being prepared, the House Committee on Oversight and Governmental Reform was holding a hearing on the way the Bush administration has treated the issue of climate change. The administration has not been very interested in the topic, and until recently didn’t allow the phrase to be uttered.