Al Gore’s New York Times Op-Ed (“We Can’t Wish Away Climate Change”) is the latest response to the recent attacks by climate change skeptics in light of the revelation that some data regarding global warming science was falsified or hidden by climate change advocates. It’s worth a read whether or not you agree with Gore.
I, for one, am certainly not Al Gore’s biggest fan, nor do I agree with his proposed political solutions to global warming. However, I also refuse to completely disregard what someone says just because I disagree with him politically. There is much truth in what he says that even his most hardened political opponents must address.
I’m no scientist, and am not qualified to speak either for or against the science of global warming. Looking just briefly at a couple of the “big picture” problems he identifies, though, there are several areas in which we (By “we” I certainly do not mean Republicans — with whom I have as little common ground as with Democrats — or any other political party. I mean the Body of Christ, which is the only “we” to which I belong, and the group that makes up the bulk of the readers of this blog) ought to find ourselves in agreement, if we can detach ourselves from the surface politics.
- Conservation of resources / care of the Earth — Christians are called to be good stewards of Creation. There is common ground to be found here, though we must be careful not to “deify” creation by going too far in our love of this world.
- Lessening our dependence on foreign oil — This is something everyone seems to agree on, though there is no consensus as to how to do it. Consumerism is the real problem here, and there is no easy solution. Hedonism and misplaced desire are neither conservative nor liberal traits.
- Polarizing figures in the media — Though the left is just as guilty of this as the right, Gore is right on in his criticism of “showmen masquerading as political thinkers who package hatred and divisiveness as entertainment.” If Beck, Hannity, Olbermann, Matthews, and their ilk just went away, we’d all be better for it. With a constitution built on the principles of compromise based on points of agreement rather than division based on points of contention, America doesn’t stand a chance if we can’t start having civil discourse with political opponents.
- Eschatological views — Though obviously coming from profoundly different reasoning, the future Gore envisions (wars, famine, natural disasters, drought, etc) ought not surprise students of God’s Word.
Again: I don’t agree with Gore’s final analysis or solutions. I think there is a bigger agenda behind global warming politics. On the practical level, though, there is room for compromise and common purpose. As the op-ed states, “there is no readily apparent alternative that would be any easier politically”. I haven’t got a solution either (and if anyone imagines that any solution could be “easy” politically, they are delusional), but would hope that those who do have the scientific and political know-how could stop bickering and start working together for real change in the areas in which we find agreement. Though I would disagree with Gore’s interpretation of “what is required” — I believe what is required is rational debate centered on common purpose, as opposed to any specific political action — the statement at the end of his op-ed is good, so I’ll end this post the same way:
Winston Churchill is widely quoted as having said, “Sometimes doing your best is not good enough. Sometimes, you must do what is required.” Now is that time. Public officials must rise to this challenge by doing what is required; and the public must demand that they do so — or must replace them.