Super Typhoon Haiyan and the anniversary of super storm Sandy should remind all of us of the tragic suffering that is part of living in the post-fall world, affected by both human sin and the divine curse (Genesis 3).
But is Rev. Darren A. Ferguson, of Mount Carmel Baptist Church in Far Rockaway, NY, whose home and church Sandy destroyed, right to insist that "climate change" made Sandy stronger than it otherwise would have been?
Assume for a moment (though there is good reason to doubt it) that the world's been warming rapidly and beyond the bounds of natural variability and that, as he put it, "we are the primary cause." Does that entail that Sandy was more powerful because of it? more >>
Whenever talking heads and political pundits start debating climate change, I honestly wish that I could turn the clock back one year and a few days to when Hurricane Sandy hit the Northeast. Rush Limbaugh and other climate change deniers would likely be saying drastically different things if they had spent a few days here with us in Far Rockaway, NY. They would have trouble explaining the fact that in this New York City peninsula where I live and pastor a church, the Atlantic Ocean and Jamaica Bay had not met in over 50 years, but that is exactly what they did on October 29th, 2012.
I would invite them to read climatologist Dr. Kevin Trenberth's article, Hurricane Sandy mixes super-storm conditions with climate change, in which he says that "the oft-asked question of whether an event is caused by climate change" is "the wrong question. All weather events are affected by climate change because the environment in which they occur is warmer and moister than it used to be." I would invite them to listen as I advocate within my church and community for environmental stewardship, which, in my opinion, means that we have to be faithful with the earth that God has given us. Finally, I would invite them to walk through my "hood" to see homes still abandoned one year later, families still displaced one year later; a community devastated and families still fragmented one year later. These are the human and communal costs of our continued faithlessness – the effects of what Christians call sin – to our inattention to, and destruction of, our environment and planet.
I would ask these know-it-all pundits, who lack any scientific credentials but still claim to have expertise by virtue of the large audiences they regularly misinform, to walk the streets of my community and see that their continued denial of this issue often gives credibility to those who sit in seats of power. Their words and influence provide justification for holding back funding to reduce climate change and mitigate its impacts on vulnerable communities that await the next inevitable "natural" disaster. I would ask them to talk to the everyday people who have been affected by this issue, without the cameras, without the promise of a ratings boost, and on our terms. They need to hear the voices of everyday Americans who, one year and six days ago, may have had no knowledge of the science of climate change, but now have experienced its reality. We have been not just affected, but devastated by it. more >>
The world spins, the seasons change, someone breaks a sweat in November -- and the next thing we know, liberals find another excuse to grow the government.
This time it's about climate change; you know… that thing that's been happening four times per year since the dawn of creation, with rainy springs, hot summers, dry falls, and cold winters or, sometimes, dry springs, cool summers, wet falls, and warm winters.
Liberals freak out over anything (or anyone) that doesn't neatly fit into their carefully controlled tight box of how things should be. A few days of 100-degree temperatures or an unseasonable snowstorm sends them into full panic mode. So things like the repressive climate change executive order President Obama signed November 1 makes them feel as if they've gained some semblance of control – over us, that is. more >>
A heated battle is taking place in Arizona between the fledgling solar industry and APS, the state's largest energy company, which enjoys a state-granted near-monopoly over energy. In sunny Arizona, it is peculiar that solar energy is being portrayed as the bad guy. Since Arizona is a Republican-dominated state, APS is sneakily buying up influential Republicans, both directly and indirectly, to perpetuate its crony capitalism. The Washington Post refers to these Republicans as "some of the best pollsters and consultants money can buy."
The spin goes like this, "stop subsidizing the solar industry." The word "subsidy" is used to scare Republicans. The solar companies are being compared to Solyndra, the green energy company that went bankrupt despite receiving more than $500 million in loans from the Department of Energy.
The reality is, the solar industry is not being "subsidized." Energy users who do not use APS power, but use their solar panels instead for power, are simply not being double-charged. When they are not using APS power, but are instead sending unused solar power energy back to the grid for others to use, they receive a rebate. This is known as "net metering" and has been in place since 2009. APS wants to eliminate this, which will essentially have the effect of charging solar users for APS power they do not use. Instead of receiving 15 cents per kilowatt-hour rebates for power the solar users send back to the grid, APS wants to reduce the rebate to 4 to 10 cents. This would add $50 to $100 a month to the power bills of solar users. The utility also wants to start charging solar users a monthly maintenance fee. more >>
Despite disagreements on some specific questions, I was glad to get acquainted with David Jenkins through his article Are Climate Skeptics Ignoring God's Design? It's always heartening to encounter another admirer of four of my favorite conservative thinkers, Edmund Burke (1729–1797), T.S. Eliot (1888–1965), Richard Weaver (1910–1963), and Russell Kirk (1918–1994)—the last of whom mentored me through my master's degree and introduced me to my wife. It's even more heartening when he shares both my evangelical faith and my commitment to Biblical earth stewardship.
Jenkins affirms, as I do, that:
• "God has charged us with the responsibility to care for His creation" (which some evangelicals neglect or even deny, especially those whose eschatology leads them to protest, "Why polish brass on a sinking ship?"). more >>
Four decades ago this month, members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) launched an oil embargo against the United States in retaliation for our steadfast support of Israel in her hour of need. As the Jewish State fought off the Soviet-backed Egyptian and Syrian armies in what would become known as the Yom Kippur War, the OPEC cartel's actions sent the price of oil soaring and our economy into a recession.
Sadly, 40 years later, we have not learned the appropriate lesson from that experience: We must disconnect our oil-dependent transportation sector from OPEC and the associated national oil companies that together manipulate the global oil market to harm America. Americans are vulnerable to OPEC's manipulation in large measure because oil is the dominant fuel of the American economic engine, and because it holds a monopoly position in our transportation sector, accounting for 93 percent of its fuel base. Therefore, even as oil prices skyrocket, American motorists and businesses have no choice but to spend more.
In the years since the embargo officially ended, OPEC and national oil companies have leveraged this structural vulnerability to their benefit. They have done so by sticking to an anti-competitive playbook that enriches their coffers and weakens our economy. more >>