"This is analogous to the indulgences that the Catholic Church sold in the middle ages. The bishops collected lots of money and the sinners got redemption. Both parties liked that arrangement despite its absurdity. That is exactly what's happening ... We've got the developed countries who want to continue more or less business as usual and then these developing countries who want money and that is what they can get through offsets [sold through the carbon markets]."
World's leading climate expert James Hansen in an interview with The Guardian .
This clip is great crash course from the "Story of Stuff Project" about the problems of "cap and trade" solutions that James Hansen is referring to in the above quote.
While many climate deniers have distracted people's attention with the sound and fury surrounding the now infamous hacked e-mails, there are more important critical questions Christians need to be asking about COP 15. James Hansen's comments are not regarding the science of climate change but the methods of "cap and trade" that are being put forward as a solution. In the same interview, Hansen went on to say:
[Climate Change] is analogous to the issue of slavery faced by Abraham Lincoln or the issue of Nazism faced by Winston Churchill. On those kind of issues you cannot compromise. You can't say let's reduce slavery, let's find a compromise and reduce it 50% or reduce it 40%.
Hansen's comments left me thinking out how we judge the blindness of Christians who lived through Nazi Germany or through the African slave trade. Despite their sincerity and diligence in reading holy scripture they could not see clearly God's concern for the most vulnerable. As Christian Aid partner and Bangladeshi activist Nazmul Chowdhury has said, "Forget about making poverty history. Climate Change will make poverty permanent."
Like the blind man at Bethsaida, this Bangladeshi brother invites us to let Jesus lead us outside the complacency of the city and allow him to heal our sight so we do not see partially, but see clearly what God sees. Or like silent Christians during the African slave trade and Nazi Germany, will we simply be blind?
Continue to join us in prayer with Tim Costello and Brian McLaren that God's will for climate justice for the poor will be done at Copenhagen.
Jarrod McKenna is seeking to live God's love. As a Vine and Fig Tree Planter, he plants 'signs' on military bases that draw the connections between God's kingdom, militarism, and climate change. He is a co-founder of the Peace Tree Community serving with the marginalised in one of the poorest of areas in his city, heads up Together for Humanity in Western Australia (an interfaith youth initiative working for the common good), and is the founder and creative director of Empowering Peacemakers (EPYC), for which he has received an Australian peace award in his work for in empowering a generation of peace evangelists and [eco]prophets.