Who Pays the Price for Global Warming?

Who Pays the Price for Global Warming? May 18, 2009

I think it’s high time to return to more serious topics in the public square. Have a look at the map below, from a year-long study by The Lancet. The top map is weighted by carbon emissions. The United States is huge. China and Europe are large too. Africa is minuscule. Now look at the map below — this is the estimated deaths from global warming, if policies do not avert it. Here we see the opposite — the costs are almost uniquely borne by the poorest regions of the world, especially Africa and the Asian subcontinent. The Lancet concludes that climate change “is the biggest global health threat of the 21 century.” And in terms of the distribution, “loss of healthy life years as a result of global environmental change (including climate change) is predicted to be 500 times greater in poor African populations than in European populations”. This is astounding. It is a wake up call for solidarity, global solidarity. Can people in America and elsewhere get past their “right” to engage in whatever behavior they desire, to consume whatever they desire, to drive whatever they desire, and focus on the global common good? That is indeed the challenge.

Klein1

(Hat tip: Ezra Klein)


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  • Joe Hargrave

    Here of all places I hope I am not derided as reactionary boob if I express some doubt about the extent to which climate change is caused by human activity. There is also the theory of sunspot activity.

    That said, I must say that even if there were no global warming, there is more than enough suffering caused around the world by American consumerism. I would be calling for a reduction and simplification of our lifestyles regardless. I see no need, as the right accuses the left of doing, to ‘hide’ this desire behind global warming.

    As a Catholic who pays some attention to the social teaching of the Church, I know that recent Popes have called for the developed countries to make sacrifices in wealth and consumption for the benefit of less developed countries. JP II is on record talking about this in many places, and so is Pope Benedict. But not that many people know about it. I shall have to try and remedy that.

  • Joe Hargrave

    Here of all places I hope I am not derided as reactionary boob if I express some doubt about the extent to which climate change is caused by human activity. There is also the theory of sunspot activity.

    That said, I must say that even if there were no global warming, there is more than enough suffering caused around the world by American consumerism. I would be calling for a reduction and simplification of our lifestyles regardless. I see no need, as the right accuses the left of doing, to ‘hide’ this desire behind global warming.

    As a Catholic who pays some attention to the social teaching of the Church, I know that recent Popes have called for the developed countries to make sacrifices in wealth and consumption for the benefit of less developed countries. JP II is on record talking about this in many places, and so is Pope Benedict. But not that many people know about it. I shall have to try and remedy that.

  • The problem with these maps is that they compare the purported negative effects of global warming in the future to the level of emissions today. Stopping global warming, however, would not only require a significant reduction in emissions in the West. It would also require stopping emissions levels from growing elsewhere, which given current technology means stopping those countries from growing economically. Krugman is candid enough to admit this.

  • The problem with these maps is that they compare the purported negative effects of global warming in the future to the level of emissions today. Stopping global warming, however, would not only require a significant reduction in emissions in the West. It would also require stopping emissions levels from growing elsewhere, which given current technology means stopping those countries from growing economically. Krugman is candid enough to admit this.

  • Gerald A. Naus

    I believe the CO2 emissions caused by this post’s bandwidth and computer use just made the sea rise a bit here at the Côte d’Azur. What Cannes we do to stop this.

  • Gerald A. Naus

    I believe the CO2 emissions caused by this post’s bandwidth and computer use just made the sea rise a bit here at the Côte d’Azur. What Cannes we do to stop this.

  • digbydolben

    “Global warming” is still an essentially political problem whether it is caused by man-made situations and forces or not.

    There will be mass migrations in search of food, water and shelter, if these clearly documented circumstances persist.

    The rich nations must come to grips with the problems caused by “global warming” a long time before the only available response becomes the massacre of those seeking to escape the hells that their homelands will have become.

  • digbydolben

    “Global warming” is still an essentially political problem whether it is caused by man-made situations and forces or not.

    There will be mass migrations in search of food, water and shelter, if these clearly documented circumstances persist.

    The rich nations must come to grips with the problems caused by “global warming” a long time before the only available response becomes the massacre of those seeking to escape the hells that their homelands will have become.

  • jh

    Good Grief the problem is not so much the West but East and “underdeveloped” countries that are spewing pollution hand over fist.

  • jh

    Good Grief the problem is not so much the West but East and “underdeveloped” countries that are spewing pollution hand over fist.

  • Doug

    I say this as a man who owns a battery electric car, and rode an electric assist bicycle to work this morning. Global warming is a myth. It is not proven by any science whatsoever. I majored in philosophy with an emphasis in logic and analysis, and minored in chemistry, and I know what constitutes scientific proof. Global warming does not not meet the criteria. It has been foisted upon us to support a socialist agenda. It is a political animal, not a scientific animal.

    The proper question should be framed from a Catholic perspective. What do we owe to the poor and to future generations? Looking at that issue, one is able to make the case for conservation of resources. But the idea of global warming is fear mongering aimed at encouraging the adoption of social and political agendas that are at odds with the Catholic faith.

    Now if we look at the distribution of energy resources from a Catholic perspective, one can legitimately support the case for conservation of energy resources. Goods have a universal destination. We may use them to support our current legitimate needs, but other people, including future generations also have a legitimate claim on them. Therefore, we must balance our current need with current needs of others and the needs of future generations. Hence, I drive an electric car that costs 2 cents per mile to drive, and an electric bike which costs even less to operate. We have a minivan for transport of the family or for trips beyond the range of the electric vehicles. Cost is actually a fairly good measure of energy input.

    But the entire global warming myth is simply political manipulation. It’s sad that so many have bought into it, including Catholics who should be looking at energy resources from the standpoint of the universal destination of goods. Global warming is completely contrary to that teaching in that it spreads the idea of the negative distribution of goods, that is to say that the distribution of goods is inherently wrong. That’s not Catholic, in fact it is Marxist.

    Marxism teaches the universal distribution of capital, as opposed to goods, and supports anything which would either remove or destroy the capital of certain classes. This is precisely what the ideology of global warming proposes to do.

  • Doug

    I say this as a man who owns a battery electric car, and rode an electric assist bicycle to work this morning. Global warming is a myth. It is not proven by any science whatsoever. I majored in philosophy with an emphasis in logic and analysis, and minored in chemistry, and I know what constitutes scientific proof. Global warming does not not meet the criteria. It has been foisted upon us to support a socialist agenda. It is a political animal, not a scientific animal.

    The proper question should be framed from a Catholic perspective. What do we owe to the poor and to future generations? Looking at that issue, one is able to make the case for conservation of resources. But the idea of global warming is fear mongering aimed at encouraging the adoption of social and political agendas that are at odds with the Catholic faith.

    Now if we look at the distribution of energy resources from a Catholic perspective, one can legitimately support the case for conservation of energy resources. Goods have a universal destination. We may use them to support our current legitimate needs, but other people, including future generations also have a legitimate claim on them. Therefore, we must balance our current need with current needs of others and the needs of future generations. Hence, I drive an electric car that costs 2 cents per mile to drive, and an electric bike which costs even less to operate. We have a minivan for transport of the family or for trips beyond the range of the electric vehicles. Cost is actually a fairly good measure of energy input.

    But the entire global warming myth is simply political manipulation. It’s sad that so many have bought into it, including Catholics who should be looking at energy resources from the standpoint of the universal destination of goods. Global warming is completely contrary to that teaching in that it spreads the idea of the negative distribution of goods, that is to say that the distribution of goods is inherently wrong. That’s not Catholic, in fact it is Marxist.

    Marxism teaches the universal distribution of capital, as opposed to goods, and supports anything which would either remove or destroy the capital of certain classes. This is precisely what the ideology of global warming proposes to do.

  • digbydolben

    Global warming is a myth. It is not proven by any science whatsoever.

    In fact, “global warming” has occurred before, in the prehistoric past of this planet, and it may or may not have wiped out whole animal species–as did “global cooling.” So it’s NOT a “myth.”

    You mean that the human interference in cyclical weather conditions over long periods of time is a “myth.” However, that does NOT remove our collective responsibility to do something to help the less fortunate who’d be adversely affected by it.

    Tell me, if an asteroid were about to hit this planet, would you be against governments taking collective action to protect the various populations of the planet from being destroyed by it and its side-effects? Do you actually believe that nothing can be done to avert some of the EFFECTS of the looming (and well-documented) catastrophe? Do you believe that the more privileged populations of the planet have no responsibility to use certain technologies to alleviate suffering, just because they are not themselves necessarily the cause of the catastrophic harm?

  • digbydolben

    Global warming is a myth. It is not proven by any science whatsoever.

    In fact, “global warming” has occurred before, in the prehistoric past of this planet, and it may or may not have wiped out whole animal species–as did “global cooling.” So it’s NOT a “myth.”

    You mean that the human interference in cyclical weather conditions over long periods of time is a “myth.” However, that does NOT remove our collective responsibility to do something to help the less fortunate who’d be adversely affected by it.

    Tell me, if an asteroid were about to hit this planet, would you be against governments taking collective action to protect the various populations of the planet from being destroyed by it and its side-effects? Do you actually believe that nothing can be done to avert some of the EFFECTS of the looming (and well-documented) catastrophe? Do you believe that the more privileged populations of the planet have no responsibility to use certain technologies to alleviate suffering, just because they are not themselves necessarily the cause of the catastrophic harm?

  • “Global warming is a myth” is a myth. Both sides are myths. But what does it mean to say it is a myth? It just says it is a story explaining what is going on. So it’s a myth, but is it also a fact? The best science shows it is, and we have a role in it. How much can be questioned, but as Digby points out, we can still be a part of the solution, whatever our role in the problem actually is.

  • “Global warming is a myth” is a myth. Both sides are myths. But what does it mean to say it is a myth? It just says it is a story explaining what is going on. So it’s a myth, but is it also a fact? The best science shows it is, and we have a role in it. How much can be questioned, but as Digby points out, we can still be a part of the solution, whatever our role in the problem actually is.

  • Shan Gill

    The madness that inspires adults to think they can control the climate is symptomatic of the arrogance that says we have the right to destroy embryos for research into the bettering of the lives of others. The insane folly of such thinking is leading the world to shut down agricultural production that will result in the starvation deaths of hundreds of millions, if not billions, of people.

  • Shan Gill

    The madness that inspires adults to think they can control the climate is symptomatic of the arrogance that says we have the right to destroy embryos for research into the bettering of the lives of others. The insane folly of such thinking is leading the world to shut down agricultural production that will result in the starvation deaths of hundreds of millions, if not billions, of people.

  • digbydolben

    …Such thinking is leading the world to shut down agricultural production that will result in the starvation deaths of hundreds of millions, if not billions, of people.

    I strongly concur with that, but who on this thread claimed that man can “control the climate”?

    There has to be a sane, middle way on all of this, and, in fact, Benedict XVI Ratzinger has, to give him credit, outlined such a path.

  • digbydolben

    …Such thinking is leading the world to shut down agricultural production that will result in the starvation deaths of hundreds of millions, if not billions, of people.

    I strongly concur with that, but who on this thread claimed that man can “control the climate”?

    There has to be a sane, middle way on all of this, and, in fact, Benedict XVI Ratzinger has, to give him credit, outlined such a path.

  • The thing is, we can influence and impact the world, that is a basic doctrine of Christianity. Original sin infects the world, and our sin causes disaster (consumerism ties in with the global destruction, to be sure).

    While we need to have care in how we handle it, many of the complaints are of people having to change their luxuries, forgetting the same people they claim to “want to help live” are the ones who will die due to global warming. That’s the thing. This IS a killer issue.

  • The thing is, we can influence and impact the world, that is a basic doctrine of Christianity. Original sin infects the world, and our sin causes disaster (consumerism ties in with the global destruction, to be sure).

    While we need to have care in how we handle it, many of the complaints are of people having to change their luxuries, forgetting the same people they claim to “want to help live” are the ones who will die due to global warming. That’s the thing. This IS a killer issue.

  • Doug

    “You mean that the human interference in cyclical weather conditions over long periods of time is a “myth.” However, that does NOT remove our collective responsibility to do something to help the less fortunate who’d be adversely affected by it.”

    It does if it’s not actually happening, just as there is no obligation to try to take collective action against a non-existent asteroid.

    I also don’t think that you read my entire post. I think it addresses your concerns.

    Shan Gill is correct. It is the culture of death that produces the doctrine of global warming, and death will result from it.

    A couple of years ago grain prices shot up steeply due to the push for ethanol to address “sustainability” and our “carbon footprint”. The poor in Mexico could not afford tortillas and the poor in the Philippines could not even find rice. SUV sales remained constant in the US and Al Gore used more energy than a village in Malawi could dream of. So much for helping the poor by addressing the environment.

    Again, the global warming myth is only a cynical attempt at gaining power through mass hysteria. The promoters of that myth care nothing about the poor, in fact they wish to contracept and abort them out of existence. They want a smaller population so that they can consume more and feel good about it.

  • Doug

    “You mean that the human interference in cyclical weather conditions over long periods of time is a “myth.” However, that does NOT remove our collective responsibility to do something to help the less fortunate who’d be adversely affected by it.”

    It does if it’s not actually happening, just as there is no obligation to try to take collective action against a non-existent asteroid.

    I also don’t think that you read my entire post. I think it addresses your concerns.

    Shan Gill is correct. It is the culture of death that produces the doctrine of global warming, and death will result from it.

    A couple of years ago grain prices shot up steeply due to the push for ethanol to address “sustainability” and our “carbon footprint”. The poor in Mexico could not afford tortillas and the poor in the Philippines could not even find rice. SUV sales remained constant in the US and Al Gore used more energy than a village in Malawi could dream of. So much for helping the poor by addressing the environment.

    Again, the global warming myth is only a cynical attempt at gaining power through mass hysteria. The promoters of that myth care nothing about the poor, in fact they wish to contracept and abort them out of existence. They want a smaller population so that they can consume more and feel good about it.

  • “It is the culture of death that produces the doctrine of global warming, and death will result from it.”

    So the Vatican and the Patriarchate of Constantinople are both a part of the culture of death now?

  • “It is the culture of death that produces the doctrine of global warming, and death will result from it.”

    So the Vatican and the Patriarchate of Constantinople are both a part of the culture of death now?

  • “the global warming myth is only a cynical attempt at gaining power through mass hysteria.”

    Doug,

    You said above that you “majored in philosophy with an emphasis in logic and analysis, and minored in chemistry, and … know what constitutes scientific proof.” I have no reason to doubt you.

    So could you please provide doubters like me who still subscribe to the “global warming thesis” with a scientific explanation as to why global warming is a myth. I’d like to have the heavy burden of belief in this “myth” lifted from my shoulders.

    Just a scientific explanation, please. No rhetoric.

  • “the global warming myth is only a cynical attempt at gaining power through mass hysteria.”

    Doug,

    You said above that you “majored in philosophy with an emphasis in logic and analysis, and minored in chemistry, and … know what constitutes scientific proof.” I have no reason to doubt you.

    So could you please provide doubters like me who still subscribe to the “global warming thesis” with a scientific explanation as to why global warming is a myth. I’d like to have the heavy burden of belief in this “myth” lifted from my shoulders.

    Just a scientific explanation, please. No rhetoric.

  • Chris

    Remember Dick Cheney’s One Percent Doctrine that argued for aggressive government action to prevent a “low probability, high impact” event? What percentage should we assign to Global Warming? Can you say with 100% certainty that it is a myth? 99%? 98? At what point do you take action to prevent a potential global upheaval?

  • Chris

    Remember Dick Cheney’s One Percent Doctrine that argued for aggressive government action to prevent a “low probability, high impact” event? What percentage should we assign to Global Warming? Can you say with 100% certainty that it is a myth? 99%? 98? At what point do you take action to prevent a potential global upheaval?

  • Doug

    Gerald:

    The sample size is too small, and statistically the numbers are within normal variation. Furthermore, while there have been areas of localized warming, there have also been areas of localized cooling. As an example, my son’s summer camp was canceled last summer because it was still snowed in, which rarely happens.

    Historically, we remain below the temperatures of the Medieval Warm Period, which was entirely explainable as natural variation as human carbon emissions had not risen to today’s levels.

    Finally, the logic and mechanism to explain a human cause for global warming is flawed. It is a classic post-hoc ego propter hoc fallacy. Scientists must not only propose a mechanism to explain an event, they must also disprove other possible mechanisms. This has never been done with the proponents of global warming. They have failed on a statistical level to rule out natural variation, and on a scientific level to explore other causes. Simply put, they haven’t adequately made their case.

    Now can anyone show me exactly where the Pope is on board with global warming? The last I heard he cautioned against hysteria.

  • Doug

    Gerald:

    The sample size is too small, and statistically the numbers are within normal variation. Furthermore, while there have been areas of localized warming, there have also been areas of localized cooling. As an example, my son’s summer camp was canceled last summer because it was still snowed in, which rarely happens.

    Historically, we remain below the temperatures of the Medieval Warm Period, which was entirely explainable as natural variation as human carbon emissions had not risen to today’s levels.

    Finally, the logic and mechanism to explain a human cause for global warming is flawed. It is a classic post-hoc ego propter hoc fallacy. Scientists must not only propose a mechanism to explain an event, they must also disprove other possible mechanisms. This has never been done with the proponents of global warming. They have failed on a statistical level to rule out natural variation, and on a scientific level to explore other causes. Simply put, they haven’t adequately made their case.

    Now can anyone show me exactly where the Pope is on board with global warming? The last I heard he cautioned against hysteria.

  • blackadderiv

    Chris,

    You’re citing Dick Cheney as an authority? Seriously?

  • blackadderiv

    Chris,

    You’re citing Dick Cheney as an authority? Seriously?

  • Chris

    Cheney is a hero among those who typically believe that global warming is a hoax. Yet he endorsed massive U.S. intervention on the basis of his One Percent Doctrine. Why can’t his adherents apply the same logic to global warming?

  • Chris

    Cheney is a hero among those who typically believe that global warming is a hoax. Yet he endorsed massive U.S. intervention on the basis of his One Percent Doctrine. Why can’t his adherents apply the same logic to global warming?

  • Doug,

    Thanks. I’m not sure where the Pope stands on global warming.

  • Doug,

    Thanks. I’m not sure where the Pope stands on global warming.

  • blackadderiv

    Why can’t his adherents apply the same logic to global warming?

    Why can’t his opponents?

    Cheney’s logic is widely and rightly seen as wrongheaded when it comes to foreign policy. Yet when it comes to global warming, many people push radical action based on exactly the same argument.

  • blackadderiv

    Why can’t his adherents apply the same logic to global warming?

    Why can’t his opponents?

    Cheney’s logic is widely and rightly seen as wrongheaded when it comes to foreign policy. Yet when it comes to global warming, many people push radical action based on exactly the same argument.

  • Henry,

    Thanks.

  • Henry,

    Thanks.

  • Gerald

    You are welcome. And as I pointed out before, the Patriarch of Constantinople speaks often on this subject. He’s a leading religious figure working on it.

  • Gerald

    You are welcome. And as I pointed out before, the Patriarch of Constantinople speaks often on this subject. He’s a leading religious figure working on it.

  • Global warming or not, I want solar panels to get me away from the clutches of the local electric company. It would also be nice to have a car that doesn’t point me to Exxon whenever I start to drive. Maybe solar panels on the house would give me 100 miles of driving per day in addition to heating and cooling. The very possibility has a nice ring to it!

    Even if one doubts global warming, it’s time to get in sync with the new technology just down the road. The future of energy sounds exciting, no matter how one stands on global warming.

  • Global warming or not, I want solar panels to get me away from the clutches of the local electric company. It would also be nice to have a car that doesn’t point me to Exxon whenever I start to drive. Maybe solar panels on the house would give me 100 miles of driving per day in addition to heating and cooling. The very possibility has a nice ring to it!

    Even if one doubts global warming, it’s time to get in sync with the new technology just down the road. The future of energy sounds exciting, no matter how one stands on global warming.

  • I want solar panels to get me away from the clutches of the local electric company.

    What’s stopping you? My parents had solar panels on their house twenty years ago.

    The future of energy sounds exciting, no matter how one stands on global warming.

    I agree 100%.

  • I want solar panels to get me away from the clutches of the local electric company.

    What’s stopping you? My parents had solar panels on their house twenty years ago.

    The future of energy sounds exciting, no matter how one stands on global warming.

    I agree 100%.

  • TeutonicTim

    There so many assumptions and made up data that went into the creation of these maps it’s not even funny. Conjecture based on false assumptions is all.

  • TeutonicTim

    There so many assumptions and made up data that went into the creation of these maps it’s not even funny. Conjecture based on false assumptions is all.

  • Doug

    I think a more balanced report of the Vatican’s position on global warming can be found here. CNS is the news agency for the USCCB. It did not report a ringing endorsement for global warming theories.

    http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0702383.htm

    Regarding the 1% theory, Cheney was wrong, plain and simple. The Vatican also said he was wrong. When one is faced with a problem, one does not propose a solution that is out of proportion to the problem at hand, and one certainly does not propose a solution that is worse than the problem.

    Even assuming that global warming theories are true, the proposed preventative fix is worse than the problem in that it will drive up food prices for the poorest 50% of the world population, freeze economic growth that would pull people out of poverty, and inhibit transportation and the production of goods.

    Tree ring and ice core data from the Medieval Warm period indicates temperatures then are similar to temperatures now. We pulled out of the Little Ice age around the time that thermometers came into use, so thermometer data is flawed. Yet the Medieval Warm period was not a disaster by any means. Crops flourished, travel was easier, etc. South Pacific Islands were not inundated. To the contrary, Polynesian culture thrived during that time period.

    Now to be fair, over time data could develop that would point toward a human cause for global warming beyond that which would be explained by natural variation in temperature. But the case has not been proven. It is merely an unproven scientific hypothesis, but it is being treated as a fact. I don’t recall who it was, but a leading Democrat said “never let a crisis go to waste” regarding pushing through the economic stimulus bill without debate. It’s the same thing here. They think that by calling it an urgent crisis they can stifle debate and push through a socialist agenda and smear their opposition as being callous and uncaring about the plight of others when they simply say “wait a minute, let’s look at this thing more closely.”

    It is entirely legitimate to have concern for the environment. It’s another thing entirely to manufacture a crisis, and Pope Benedict cautions us against ideological pressure saying

    “Respecting the environment does not mean considering material or animal nature more important than man. Rather, it means not selfishly considering nature to be at the complete disposal of our own interests, for future generations also have the right to reap its benefits and to exhibit towards nature the same responsible freedom that we claim for ourselves. Nor must we overlook the poor, who are excluded in many cases from the goods of creation destined for all. Humanity today is rightly concerned about the ecological balance of tomorrow. It is important for assessments in this regard to be carried out prudently, in dialogue with experts and people of wisdom, uninhibited by ideological pressure to draw hasty conclusions, and above all with the aim of reaching agreement on a model of sustainable development capable of ensuring the well-being of all while respecting environmental balances.”

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/messages/peace/documents/hf_ben-xvi_mes_20071208_xli-world-day-peace_en.html

  • Doug

    I think a more balanced report of the Vatican’s position on global warming can be found here. CNS is the news agency for the USCCB. It did not report a ringing endorsement for global warming theories.

    http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0702383.htm

    Regarding the 1% theory, Cheney was wrong, plain and simple. The Vatican also said he was wrong. When one is faced with a problem, one does not propose a solution that is out of proportion to the problem at hand, and one certainly does not propose a solution that is worse than the problem.

    Even assuming that global warming theories are true, the proposed preventative fix is worse than the problem in that it will drive up food prices for the poorest 50% of the world population, freeze economic growth that would pull people out of poverty, and inhibit transportation and the production of goods.

    Tree ring and ice core data from the Medieval Warm period indicates temperatures then are similar to temperatures now. We pulled out of the Little Ice age around the time that thermometers came into use, so thermometer data is flawed. Yet the Medieval Warm period was not a disaster by any means. Crops flourished, travel was easier, etc. South Pacific Islands were not inundated. To the contrary, Polynesian culture thrived during that time period.

    Now to be fair, over time data could develop that would point toward a human cause for global warming beyond that which would be explained by natural variation in temperature. But the case has not been proven. It is merely an unproven scientific hypothesis, but it is being treated as a fact. I don’t recall who it was, but a leading Democrat said “never let a crisis go to waste” regarding pushing through the economic stimulus bill without debate. It’s the same thing here. They think that by calling it an urgent crisis they can stifle debate and push through a socialist agenda and smear their opposition as being callous and uncaring about the plight of others when they simply say “wait a minute, let’s look at this thing more closely.”

    It is entirely legitimate to have concern for the environment. It’s another thing entirely to manufacture a crisis, and Pope Benedict cautions us against ideological pressure saying

    “Respecting the environment does not mean considering material or animal nature more important than man. Rather, it means not selfishly considering nature to be at the complete disposal of our own interests, for future generations also have the right to reap its benefits and to exhibit towards nature the same responsible freedom that we claim for ourselves. Nor must we overlook the poor, who are excluded in many cases from the goods of creation destined for all. Humanity today is rightly concerned about the ecological balance of tomorrow. It is important for assessments in this regard to be carried out prudently, in dialogue with experts and people of wisdom, uninhibited by ideological pressure to draw hasty conclusions, and above all with the aim of reaching agreement on a model of sustainable development capable of ensuring the well-being of all while respecting environmental balances.”

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/messages/peace/documents/hf_ben-xvi_mes_20071208_xli-world-day-peace_en.html

  • digbydolben

    You’re so ridiculously blinded by partisanship, Doug.

    You’re one of the fervently nationalist Americans writing here all the time who want to remake the Catholic Church in America into the “Republican Party on its knees.”

    Tell me, do you think that Bush and his neo-conservative cronies (not traditional Republican libertarian “conservatives” at all) let the 9/11 “Crisis” “go to waste”? Do you think that tricking the American people into supporting an unnecessary war is less egregious a violation of traditional American liberties than instituting certain “socially democratic” reforms of taxation and banking?

    And your points about the “Little Ice Age” and the “Medieval Warm Period” are absolutely irrelevant to what the Vatican may consider to be the duties of modern Christians according to “Catholic Social Justice” teachings; the people of those times simply didn’t have the same data we do, nor did they have the mechanisms available to us to relieve the pain of those who become the sufferers of such privations and disasters.

  • digbydolben

    You’re so ridiculously blinded by partisanship, Doug.

    You’re one of the fervently nationalist Americans writing here all the time who want to remake the Catholic Church in America into the “Republican Party on its knees.”

    Tell me, do you think that Bush and his neo-conservative cronies (not traditional Republican libertarian “conservatives” at all) let the 9/11 “Crisis” “go to waste”? Do you think that tricking the American people into supporting an unnecessary war is less egregious a violation of traditional American liberties than instituting certain “socially democratic” reforms of taxation and banking?

    And your points about the “Little Ice Age” and the “Medieval Warm Period” are absolutely irrelevant to what the Vatican may consider to be the duties of modern Christians according to “Catholic Social Justice” teachings; the people of those times simply didn’t have the same data we do, nor did they have the mechanisms available to us to relieve the pain of those who become the sufferers of such privations and disasters.

  • “What’s stopping you? My parents had solar panels on their house twenty years ago.”

    LOL!

    Nothing. I’ve taken the same steps as your parents. I was speaking about what I want for the nation. We need to shift away from the hole we’ve been for too long.

  • “What’s stopping you? My parents had solar panels on their house twenty years ago.”

    LOL!

    Nothing. I’ve taken the same steps as your parents. I was speaking about what I want for the nation. We need to shift away from the hole we’ve been for too long.

  • Doug

    Digbydolben:

    I’ll take your criticism point by point, first noting that you have not specifically addressed what I have said but made a lot of assumptions about me as a person.

    1. I am not blinded by partisan politics, but concerned about creeping socialism, which I might add has been condemned by papal encyclicals. I have no hope that much good can come out of partisan politics at this point. I do see the scare tactics used by proponents of global warming as a means towards advancing socialism. Can you show me data which proves it is not a scare tactic, but is over and above normal historical temperature variations as displayed by tree rings and ice core samples?

    2. I am not “fervently nationalist”, although I am fervently patriotic. Catholic teaching lauds patriotism. See the encyclical “Sapientiae Christianea”.

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/leo_xiii/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_10011890_sapientiae-christianae_en.html

    That said, I actually think we need to abandon our consumerist materialism and become more Catholic as a nation. It’s actually the liberals in the Church promoting contraception, an end to priestly celibacy, and tolerance for socialism who want the Church to mirror America. But none of this addresses the issue at hand, which is global warming.

    3. I don’t think the Iraq war was justified, and I alluded to that when I said “Cheney was wrong”. You assume I am in lock step with the Republican Party. I can assure you I am not. I gave contributions and a vote to a Catholic conservative presidential candidate during the last election who didn’t have a snowball’s chance in the Sahara of winning. I believe the the Republicans have led pro-life voters to back them with little intent to follow up on their promises. At any rate, this is a distraction from the issue at hand and an ad hominem attack rather than an argument addressing what I have written. It is not based on evidence, and I don’t resemble the person you are attacking. We were talking about global warming. Let’s stay on that subject.

    4. The Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age are certainly relevant for two reasons. They are the closest historical events we can look at regarding the effects of climate change on human populations, and they demonstrate natural variations in climate which could be considered a standard by which to evaluate human impact on global climate. On one hand, we have a very long period of warm temperatures which, if anything, helped human populations grow an excess of food and thrive. The dire events being predicted currently by proponents of Global Warming theories simply have not happened historically. Why should we think that a similar rise in temperature will suddenly have a different impact? On the other hand, we have evidence that current variations in climate appear to be normal. If variation in temperature significantly exceeds that of the Medieval Warm Period, then perhaps there is evidence that something other than natural variance is at play, but that hasn’t happened and so saying the hypothesis has been proven is quite a stretch.

    5. Regarding there not being mechanisms for providing relief for those suffering from privation and disaster in Medieval times, that is simply not true, although admittedly it is easier and more effective today. For the purposes of argument I will concede that point to you; however there are also greater mechanisms today for CREATING privation and disaster. It seems you wish to cast doubt upon my motives, however my entire motivation is that I don’t wish for governments to create privation and disaster by immense social changes for political advantage based on fear mongering and bad science. Early indications are that the poor will suffer from the immediate, wholesale abandonment of fossil fuels, as evidenced by the effects of rising grain prices on the poor in Mexico and the Philippines. Sustainability is a good thing, care for the environment is a good thing, but there is simply no need to engage in an urgent program of fossil fuel elimination that will hurt everyone. If we care about the poor, we should promote economic growth rather than inhibit it, and ensure that the benefits are as widely spread as possible. Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats are on board with that program. Each is attacking the opposite end of it. If you re-read my posts, I don’t disparage charity, concern for the poor, or protection of the environment. I disparage fear mongering to rush us towards socialism. I point out flaws in the arguments of Global Warming proponents. You simply dismiss it with a wave of your hand and engage in ad hominem rhetoric. I urge you to read what the Church actually does teach about the environment and contrast that with what the mass media says about it. Read the links I posted. They are from the Catholic Church. They will tell you the real story.

  • Doug

    Digbydolben:

    I’ll take your criticism point by point, first noting that you have not specifically addressed what I have said but made a lot of assumptions about me as a person.

    1. I am not blinded by partisan politics, but concerned about creeping socialism, which I might add has been condemned by papal encyclicals. I have no hope that much good can come out of partisan politics at this point. I do see the scare tactics used by proponents of global warming as a means towards advancing socialism. Can you show me data which proves it is not a scare tactic, but is over and above normal historical temperature variations as displayed by tree rings and ice core samples?

    2. I am not “fervently nationalist”, although I am fervently patriotic. Catholic teaching lauds patriotism. See the encyclical “Sapientiae Christianea”.

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/leo_xiii/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_10011890_sapientiae-christianae_en.html

    That said, I actually think we need to abandon our consumerist materialism and become more Catholic as a nation. It’s actually the liberals in the Church promoting contraception, an end to priestly celibacy, and tolerance for socialism who want the Church to mirror America. But none of this addresses the issue at hand, which is global warming.

    3. I don’t think the Iraq war was justified, and I alluded to that when I said “Cheney was wrong”. You assume I am in lock step with the Republican Party. I can assure you I am not. I gave contributions and a vote to a Catholic conservative presidential candidate during the last election who didn’t have a snowball’s chance in the Sahara of winning. I believe the the Republicans have led pro-life voters to back them with little intent to follow up on their promises. At any rate, this is a distraction from the issue at hand and an ad hominem attack rather than an argument addressing what I have written. It is not based on evidence, and I don’t resemble the person you are attacking. We were talking about global warming. Let’s stay on that subject.

    4. The Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age are certainly relevant for two reasons. They are the closest historical events we can look at regarding the effects of climate change on human populations, and they demonstrate natural variations in climate which could be considered a standard by which to evaluate human impact on global climate. On one hand, we have a very long period of warm temperatures which, if anything, helped human populations grow an excess of food and thrive. The dire events being predicted currently by proponents of Global Warming theories simply have not happened historically. Why should we think that a similar rise in temperature will suddenly have a different impact? On the other hand, we have evidence that current variations in climate appear to be normal. If variation in temperature significantly exceeds that of the Medieval Warm Period, then perhaps there is evidence that something other than natural variance is at play, but that hasn’t happened and so saying the hypothesis has been proven is quite a stretch.

    5. Regarding there not being mechanisms for providing relief for those suffering from privation and disaster in Medieval times, that is simply not true, although admittedly it is easier and more effective today. For the purposes of argument I will concede that point to you; however there are also greater mechanisms today for CREATING privation and disaster. It seems you wish to cast doubt upon my motives, however my entire motivation is that I don’t wish for governments to create privation and disaster by immense social changes for political advantage based on fear mongering and bad science. Early indications are that the poor will suffer from the immediate, wholesale abandonment of fossil fuels, as evidenced by the effects of rising grain prices on the poor in Mexico and the Philippines. Sustainability is a good thing, care for the environment is a good thing, but there is simply no need to engage in an urgent program of fossil fuel elimination that will hurt everyone. If we care about the poor, we should promote economic growth rather than inhibit it, and ensure that the benefits are as widely spread as possible. Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats are on board with that program. Each is attacking the opposite end of it. If you re-read my posts, I don’t disparage charity, concern for the poor, or protection of the environment. I disparage fear mongering to rush us towards socialism. I point out flaws in the arguments of Global Warming proponents. You simply dismiss it with a wave of your hand and engage in ad hominem rhetoric. I urge you to read what the Church actually does teach about the environment and contrast that with what the mass media says about it. Read the links I posted. They are from the Catholic Church. They will tell you the real story.

  • digbydolben

    Doug, I don’t trust the “mass media” any more than I trust the Republican Party, and I don’t really even need to watch Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth” to know that SOMETHING is causing arable land and ecosystems to disappear. I’ve been to the Maldives several times during the decade I lived in South Asia, and I’ve seen with my own eyes that that island nation is going under the waters of the Indian Ocean.

    Although I have a deep-seated fondness for constitutional monarchy, an institution my ancestors fought and died for, I really don’t believe in ANY form of government, and consider the lot of them–including “socialism”–to be “intrinsically evil” and corrupt.

    However, on a practical note, I DO think that capitalism has to be seasoned with a heavy dose of “social democracy” (mainly in the form of regulation to protect the environment and the financial systems–not to “socially engineer”), and I most certainly DO believe that that aligns a lot more closely with Catholic “social justice teachings” than does economic liberalism or American-style libertarianism.

    I also believe that American Catholics like you who so closely identify “correct politics” with “correct theology” are actually preaching a heresy that is as pernicious as Marxism or the updated Trotskyism of the so-called “neo-conservatives.” After all, Catholicism, unlike Protestantism, has a “preferential option for the poor,” and that’s simply because Catholicism, being an essentially sacramental, rather than a doctrinal religion, is actually able to see Christ INCARNATED in the poor–including the poor who are the most adversely affected by WHATEVER is causing the very real “climate change” that everybody on our planet but capitalist ideologues like you is noticing.

    However, American Catholics just don’t seem to “get” the incarnational, sacramental aspects of their own faith, and are always attempting, like you do, to make it so “doctrinally pure” that it can be made to promote some economic or political system.

    A modern Sufi (for the reading of whose work an ultra-papist like you would probably brand me a “new age heretic”!) once wrote that it is obvious that this world will burn–and possibly in our lifetimes–but he also wrote that there’s no reason to “panic,” as you put it, because it is fully in our power to choose HOW it “will burn”–that we can choose to cooperate with the destruction, or we can choose to work to mitigate it, and that there was, therefore, no reason to “panic.”

    I don’t think that real Christians ever “panic,” but neither do they ignore whatever scientific evidence that may give them pointers on how to respond to a crisis so as to mitigate the sufferings of their brothers and sisters.

    You say I haven’t even read what you write about “global warming,” but I say that you haven’t even noticed that NOBODY on this thread except you even takes seriously the necessity of attempting to control the earth’s climate. I suspect there’s a very good reason for that, which is that we’re all Catholic–and, apparently much more Catholic in temperament than you are. Frankly, I don’t even HAVE to read what parts of the Republican Party line you’ve redacted in order to know that you’ve been bitten by the bug of the “Americanist heresy” that actually IS a diffused form of Protestantism, unleavened, in its political messianism and ridiculous optimism about democracy, with much of the pessimistic good humour that marks a truly Catholic temperament in politics.

    Yes, the world IS going to burn, and yes, there probably isn’t anything we can do to restore the natural environments of man and many other species, and yes we DO have a responsibility to try to alleviate the sufferings of our brothers and sisters, as they die. It very much matters HOW we die; it is absolutely immaterial whether we succeed or not in “saving” this material world; it’s already been “saved,” and everybody in it has already been “saved” by the mystery of the Incarnation, whether they know it, profess it or not. Protestantism says “no,” that you have to “get with the program”; true Catholicism, a far more joyous and optimistic religion than the neo-Lutherism and neo-Augustinianism of the reigning, deeply pessimistic hierarchy, says “the ‘program’ has ALREADY gotten with you.”

  • digbydolben

    Doug, I don’t trust the “mass media” any more than I trust the Republican Party, and I don’t really even need to watch Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth” to know that SOMETHING is causing arable land and ecosystems to disappear. I’ve been to the Maldives several times during the decade I lived in South Asia, and I’ve seen with my own eyes that that island nation is going under the waters of the Indian Ocean.

    Although I have a deep-seated fondness for constitutional monarchy, an institution my ancestors fought and died for, I really don’t believe in ANY form of government, and consider the lot of them–including “socialism”–to be “intrinsically evil” and corrupt.

    However, on a practical note, I DO think that capitalism has to be seasoned with a heavy dose of “social democracy” (mainly in the form of regulation to protect the environment and the financial systems–not to “socially engineer”), and I most certainly DO believe that that aligns a lot more closely with Catholic “social justice teachings” than does economic liberalism or American-style libertarianism.

    I also believe that American Catholics like you who so closely identify “correct politics” with “correct theology” are actually preaching a heresy that is as pernicious as Marxism or the updated Trotskyism of the so-called “neo-conservatives.” After all, Catholicism, unlike Protestantism, has a “preferential option for the poor,” and that’s simply because Catholicism, being an essentially sacramental, rather than a doctrinal religion, is actually able to see Christ INCARNATED in the poor–including the poor who are the most adversely affected by WHATEVER is causing the very real “climate change” that everybody on our planet but capitalist ideologues like you is noticing.

    However, American Catholics just don’t seem to “get” the incarnational, sacramental aspects of their own faith, and are always attempting, like you do, to make it so “doctrinally pure” that it can be made to promote some economic or political system.

    A modern Sufi (for the reading of whose work an ultra-papist like you would probably brand me a “new age heretic”!) once wrote that it is obvious that this world will burn–and possibly in our lifetimes–but he also wrote that there’s no reason to “panic,” as you put it, because it is fully in our power to choose HOW it “will burn”–that we can choose to cooperate with the destruction, or we can choose to work to mitigate it, and that there was, therefore, no reason to “panic.”

    I don’t think that real Christians ever “panic,” but neither do they ignore whatever scientific evidence that may give them pointers on how to respond to a crisis so as to mitigate the sufferings of their brothers and sisters.

    You say I haven’t even read what you write about “global warming,” but I say that you haven’t even noticed that NOBODY on this thread except you even takes seriously the necessity of attempting to control the earth’s climate. I suspect there’s a very good reason for that, which is that we’re all Catholic–and, apparently much more Catholic in temperament than you are. Frankly, I don’t even HAVE to read what parts of the Republican Party line you’ve redacted in order to know that you’ve been bitten by the bug of the “Americanist heresy” that actually IS a diffused form of Protestantism, unleavened, in its political messianism and ridiculous optimism about democracy, with much of the pessimistic good humour that marks a truly Catholic temperament in politics.

    Yes, the world IS going to burn, and yes, there probably isn’t anything we can do to restore the natural environments of man and many other species, and yes we DO have a responsibility to try to alleviate the sufferings of our brothers and sisters, as they die. It very much matters HOW we die; it is absolutely immaterial whether we succeed or not in “saving” this material world; it’s already been “saved,” and everybody in it has already been “saved” by the mystery of the Incarnation, whether they know it, profess it or not. Protestantism says “no,” that you have to “get with the program”; true Catholicism, a far more joyous and optimistic religion than the neo-Lutherism and neo-Augustinianism of the reigning, deeply pessimistic hierarchy, says “the ‘program’ has ALREADY gotten with you.”

  • Doug

    Wow. You haven’t addressed any of the points I brought up. You keep talking about me like you know me. I appreciate your concerns, and share many of them. I have done you the courtesy of addressing the points you brought up. You have not returned that courtesy, but instead attributed ideas to me that I do not hold.

    You say I’m not Catholic in temperament? Do you know me? Have you been inside my mind?

    Once again, rather than present evidence, you have attacked the person. I’m beginning to think you do not have an argument, only an opinion. But this is the typical liberal method. Rather than address the argument, you attack the person instead. Have at it, I hope you enjoy yourself. I forgive you.

  • Doug

    Wow. You haven’t addressed any of the points I brought up. You keep talking about me like you know me. I appreciate your concerns, and share many of them. I have done you the courtesy of addressing the points you brought up. You have not returned that courtesy, but instead attributed ideas to me that I do not hold.

    You say I’m not Catholic in temperament? Do you know me? Have you been inside my mind?

    Once again, rather than present evidence, you have attacked the person. I’m beginning to think you do not have an argument, only an opinion. But this is the typical liberal method. Rather than address the argument, you attack the person instead. Have at it, I hope you enjoy yourself. I forgive you.

  • digbydolben

    I’m not a “liberal” at all, but I recognise an American “liberal’s” way of processing thought IMMEDIATELY, and as much from the tone and style of the writing as from the “facts.”

    YOU are the “liberal,” because it is obvious that you believe in “scientific facts” and “progress” and “capitalism” (and, I gather, the “American way”) more than you trust in the “truth-bearing allegories” of Faith.

    As you can probably tell by now, I’m not the LEAST BIT INTERESTED in your “facts.” I am, instead, interested in the moral and theological duty to IGNORE both the apocalyptic scenarios and the “threats to capitalism,” and, instead, to DO something to alleviate the suffering that you wish to ignore as much as is convenient or beneficial to your precious “economic system.”

  • digbydolben

    I’m not a “liberal” at all, but I recognise an American “liberal’s” way of processing thought IMMEDIATELY, and as much from the tone and style of the writing as from the “facts.”

    YOU are the “liberal,” because it is obvious that you believe in “scientific facts” and “progress” and “capitalism” (and, I gather, the “American way”) more than you trust in the “truth-bearing allegories” of Faith.

    As you can probably tell by now, I’m not the LEAST BIT INTERESTED in your “facts.” I am, instead, interested in the moral and theological duty to IGNORE both the apocalyptic scenarios and the “threats to capitalism,” and, instead, to DO something to alleviate the suffering that you wish to ignore as much as is convenient or beneficial to your precious “economic system.”

  • Doug,

    You’re making sense and being quite reasonable and fair on the issue. Digby is just a very over-the-edge personality, unfortunately.

    Though it is encouraging to hear that he considered himself a Catholic again. That’s progress.

  • Doug,

    You’re making sense and being quite reasonable and fair on the issue. Digby is just a very over-the-edge personality, unfortunately.

    Though it is encouraging to hear that he considered himself a Catholic again. That’s progress.

  • digbydolben

    “FAIR?!?”

    To actually argue that all the evidence that has thus far been offered, and which is plainly visible to the naked eye, must be discounted in the interests of the preservation of an ECONOMIC SYSTEM–that is “FAIR”?!

    Nobody here but he was saying that any of the “facts” are “conclusive.” Everybody here, including myself, has only been saying that those facts should be CONSIDERED, in order to construct some sort of public policy to mitigate suffering.

    Ever heard of the Jesuits, Darwin Catholic, and what they say about a child, if you give them one until he or she reaches the “age of reason”? Well, I had a Jesuit education–which apparently makes me a very different kind of Catholic than you and Doug.

  • digbydolben

    “FAIR?!?”

    To actually argue that all the evidence that has thus far been offered, and which is plainly visible to the naked eye, must be discounted in the interests of the preservation of an ECONOMIC SYSTEM–that is “FAIR”?!

    Nobody here but he was saying that any of the “facts” are “conclusive.” Everybody here, including myself, has only been saying that those facts should be CONSIDERED, in order to construct some sort of public policy to mitigate suffering.

    Ever heard of the Jesuits, Darwin Catholic, and what they say about a child, if you give them one until he or she reaches the “age of reason”? Well, I had a Jesuit education–which apparently makes me a very different kind of Catholic than you and Doug.

  • digbydolben

    Oh, and of course it’s become much easier to practise Catholicism as a spiritual discipline once I got out of America and away from her ridiculous “culture wars” that American Catholicism is so embroiled in.

  • digbydolben

    Oh, and of course it’s become much easier to practise Catholicism as a spiritual discipline once I got out of America and away from her ridiculous “culture wars” that American Catholicism is so embroiled in.

  • Michael

    This article is in direct response to the claims of the Lancet, that global warming will disproportionately affect the poor.
    http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/editorials/archives/2009/05/20/2003444036

    It basically argues that reducing carbon emissions will do much more damage to the world’s poor.

    I really just wanted to chime in though to point out how thoroughly ridiculous and disrespectful digbydolden has been in his remarks to Doug’s sensible statement.

  • Michael

    This article is in direct response to the claims of the Lancet, that global warming will disproportionately affect the poor.
    http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/editorials/archives/2009/05/20/2003444036

    It basically argues that reducing carbon emissions will do much more damage to the world’s poor.

    I really just wanted to chime in though to point out how thoroughly ridiculous and disrespectful digbydolden has been in his remarks to Doug’s sensible statement.