what are the political dimensions of climate change

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22 January 2021

It’s an act of caring for our children. And peasants put their land under jatropha, and then they are left high and dry. I will pass on the boardroom and go to symbolic actions. But what’s—I think what’s great is that we all want a challenge that we can contribute to. We practice that in my family and encourage all people to do that. HESCOX: Well, I just—continuing on the transformational thing, you know, I sort of forgot about—I talked about it earlier. July 3 (Antalya, Turkey) The lab will begin with a bus tour of two or three highly vulnerable areas of the city, including coastal areas experiencing flooding, and informal settlements in flood-prone areas around urban rivers. So the only corporations we’re not seeing leading the way right now or moving that way are the fossil-fuel industries. The long-term change that he’s calling us to, that many communities, Buddhist communities and others, understand is conversion, ecological conversion, is what he’s talking about. There are over 100 million Christians in China. This energy of change, of contribution, of making a difference, greening the seminaries, contemplation in action, and so on and so forth, these are things we can give ourselves to. So it’s in everyone’s interest to pay into the climate fund, to transfer those technologies, and to make available now the inexpensive and absolutely available technologies that exist. And you’ve seen the studies where, you know, one degree, two degrees of temperature change, you know, results in a 40 percent increase in violence in Africa, worldwide, just because of resource scarcity. GRIM: Consumption, boardrooms, and on-the-ground action. It’s a huge crisis, and it’s imprisoned us. The impact of climate change on many aspects of cultural life for people all over the world is not being sufficiently accounted for by scientists and policy-makers. It’s a tidal wave. And that’s really important. And that’s the same thing worldwide too. But all of you have either directly mentioned the sad, bad news, or alluded to it. Three hundred thousand children die because of indoor smoke. So, John, over to you. All right. So I think that it’s more and more—and even in the latest polling, you know, there were sort of different polls, one from the University of Texas that was purely political, looking at Republicans, and saw a massive increase in the spike of Republicans believing in climate change in the past six months. It seems clear that climate refugees will be a way that climate change confronts us very directly. And it is a question of that renewal. It’s a base part of the community. And many times we are ignorant. Look at the Munich Re and Swiss Re and all the reinsurance companies. Now, the first vaccines are being distributed, spurring hope that the pandemic’s end is in sight. Six years ago, when I became the Evangelical Environmental Network, we had 15,000 people who we e-mailed to regularly. Two months later, the Norwegian military instituted meatless Mondays. And it has to be released from that and empowered by the reality that this is a consensus issue, that this is something everybody wants, and the polling that suggests that 80 percent of Catholics want more investment in renewable energy, that they understand the need—that the climate-change authority, authority of the scientists. But what I want to come back to is this sense that here’s an activist, John Seed, in Australia dealing with the loss of rain forest for years and years and years, wondering how he can keep up his activism, his contribution. And they have political clout. These are rich, unbelievable resources for an ecological civilization. Otherwise they’re going to have a revolt on their hands. Could you identify yourself? CHOGE-KERAMA: My name is Emily Choge-Kerama. Social and Political Dimensions of Climate Change, https://www.semesteratsea.org/courses/social-and-political-dimensions-of-climate-change/. But what was quite interesting was when Sir Ghillean Prance and Sir John Houghton in the U.K. brought a group of about 26 Evangelicals to Oxford. You know, we know that the National Association of Evangelicals, which I’m a board member of, in October adopted the parts of the Cape Town Commitment acknowledging creation care and climate change. Plus the economy is there to say it’s going to happen. Yet, IAMs are built in the face of pervasive uncertainty, both scientific and ethical, which requires modelers to make numerous choices in model development. Mary Keller, University of Wyoming. You know, this is a huge issue for students. It shows that people are increasingly looking towards walkable lifestyles, that millennials do not want to be at the beck and call of an employer who keeps them there for fourteen-hour workweeks, and that there’s dictating some of the terms in their employment. And I think the religious leaders, religious communities, should step up and then say, you know, don’t make it a corporate manipulation. And most importantly, she’s the author of the forthcoming book Inspired Sustainability: From Ideally Green to Really Green. These divisions reach across every dimension of the climate debate, down to people’s basic trust in the motivations that drive climate scientists to conduct their research. Because it’s rampant. [2] But globally, greenhouse gases have increased since then, bringing humanity very close to the dangerous levels of global warming that were predicted. There’s a microphone. It provides a concise but thorough overview of the science, technology, economics, policy, and politics of climate change in a single volume. So I want to look very frankly without thinking the one thing you have to do is give everybody hope, because I do think there is something very serious about living with hospice in this moment as well. And I think people like you could be leaders of that. It’s the source of our lives and our livelihood. Mitchell Hescox, as the program notes indicate, is president and chief executive officer of the Evangelical Environmental Network. So when we started the conferences at Harvard in the mid ’90s, almost 20 years ago now—and the little brochures on your table can give you some more information—but the notion was how could the cultures of China, the cultures of India, Africa, Latin America, bring forward their ethics for a transformation for the society, but for the planet? The people of Bangladesh have done a great job of—actually many of the women of Bangladesh—of building resiliency. HESCOX: Well, you might as well go after the hard ones right off the bat, right? I am often asked the question about hope, as though hope is the one thing that is going to make people keep working, like we have to kind of almost hide what’s happening. They love it. to climate change. They will collect notes and photos during the visit, and produce a 3 page review tying the trip to the course’s larger themes of the social and political dimensions of climate change. There’s over 50 of them. But there’s no doubt, since religious freedom came in in ’81, that these other traditions are coming roaring back. Where are we going to stand up for dignity, for hospitality, for future generations? It is a FREE and modern web-browser which supports the latest web technologies offering you a cleaner and more secure browsing experience. Political fissures on climate issues extend far beyond beliefs about whether climate change is occurring and whether humans are playing a role, according to a new, in-depth survey by Pew Research Center. It’s the fastest-growing population. That is revolutionary. Political Dimensions of Climate Change Adaptation: Conceptual Reflections and African Examples. Please, the two gentlemen here at the table. He’s a co-director of the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology. First off, not only is it a fact that 600,000 people, half of which are children, die every year of smoke inhalation in sub-Saharan Africa, so the number is astronomical. You can figure out what their CEO and chairman of the board said. That shifted the mark considerably, because a scientist was giving the message who was also Evangelical. And that is also destroying the environment; charcoal. And his recent books are very helpful in this discussion—A Case for Climate Conservatism, and most especially now the Work Sacred Acts. And now we’d like to feel some of the passion in questions from the audience. I was involved in the earth charter drafting committee and its ultimate evocation of this interlinked consumption population issue. Political economy of climate change is an approach that applies the political economy thinking of collective or political processes to study the critical issues surrounding the decision-making on climate change. And so it’s a both-and situation that we have to prepare for. Digital and Cyberspace Policy Program, In Brief Assessing President Trump’s Legacy of Cyber Confusion, Blog Post We’re working at Yale on divestment. I don’t think they have a choice. And we should all buy a solar stove for somebody. And that’s something we have to work together. To see vulnerable riverine and coastal areas and human habitation and infrastructure, and consider other types of climate change-related risks such as drought and heat waves. They’re jumping way ahead of us, leapfrogging it. And there’s certainly a funding of the tea partyism and the tea party of money in those political arenas, which we are going to have to slowly overcome. We have plenty of films; “Fast Food Nation.” It is a workers’ issue, the horrible treatment of workers, as well as the animals. Where is their hope? It has worked. Ahead, we've listed the most climate-minded politicians in and outside of the U.S., who are each paving the way for our planet's future. What Is the World Doing to Distribute COVID-19 Vaccines? Mary Evelyn Tucker is my wife, which gives us an intimacy, an arc of intimacy here, and also senior lecturer and research scholar at Yale’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and Yale Divinity School. So the boardrooms are taking it. It’s on an academic level, many, many conferences. And also the industrialization of the whole concept of going green, still people making money out of the concept, and many times local people are left high and dry. We have deforestation is the third problem, because literally the largest use of firewood in most of Africa is for fuel. And the diversion of agricultural land towards biofuels is one of the big ones. I mean, their pastors are asking U.S. pastors, how do you deal with consumerism? It involves technical change. Therefore, I studied the case of Switzerland, a highly developed country that is also terribly sensitive to climate changedue in particular to its alpine topography and the economic and cultural importance of glaciers and snow availability. We are left sleepless at night if we read the newspapers, listen to the news, speak to our colleagues who are working on these issues, are students. And I tell people that it’s in the most favored book of everybody, whether you’re Jewish or Christian, believe in, and that’s the book of Leviticus, because there it talks about crop rotation, animal husbandry, the basic ways to do it. FLANNERY: I’m Frances Flannery. I don’t think we’ll ever see something quite so integrated in our lifetime. And we have to go about working with indigenous people and empower them, to make sure they’re locally supplied, not just handed down through that. If climate change is … As a political scientist, I wanted to investigate whether, at the policymaking level, there could be specific hindrances to the development and implementation of adaptation measures. We have prepared some questions, which is obvious. So I think religion is growing. It’s very practical for church engagement. You can be an Evangelical and believe in climate change. General Mills is going the same direction. Right now in Kenya people have solar lamps for less money and solar houses—excuse me—for less money than they were paying for kerosene, about 45 cents a day, paying for it on their cell phone. And I think this is hugely important—UCC, Episcopal, and so on; some of the educational institutions. And this call in the encyclical, it’s not just to Paris and the COP, which it was timed to speak to. GRIM: And yet the science community has effectively partnered, allied with many religious—. HESCOX: Well, I’d agree that we have long promoted, you know, picking one day a week as a meatless day. I’m from Eden Seminary in St. Louis. This is quite heroic work, I might say. You know the Green Belt Movement. In the conclusion, we highlight avenues toward enhanced attention to power and justice in … And I just really want to go back to the types of denial that there are. And we have to act now to minimize it, but realize putting on the brakes now, we can’t stop the extremes by 2030. Climate breakdown is often discussed as a problem of the distant future — one that will change the world in decades from now, rather than years. That’s where we need to go. And, you know, as Mary Evelyn said, is that, you know, for me climate change is the greatest moral challenge of our time as it impacts every single person on earth. So we have to find ways of working in communities within Africa, because the real drawback of solar cooking stove is they’ve been argued that some people don’t use them because they’re unfamiliar; they’re new concepts. He read, as did Carl Anthony, one of the great environmental-justice African-American leaders in this country, he read Thomas Berry’s “Universe Story.”. (Applause.). So I think these are complementary ideas. That’s the hope—an alternative to consumption. TUCKER: And I just want to invoke Wangari Maathai’s name here. To understand the broader epistemological and ontological politics of human dimensions of climate change, this review adopts a political ecology approach, informed by Science and Technology Studies concepts and research on multiple ontologies. The data from PRRI from one year ago is that only twenty-seven percent of white Evangelical Protestants believe that anthropogenic climate change is real. We’re going to get started now. And that is very different from political change or economic change, social change. And he said he was regenerated for this long-term sense, that ecological conversion that the encyclical is calling us to. So the numbers are increasing, but not near enough. And we’ve worked with him. Some of the best companies—I mean, you know, M&M Mars is by far the leading; zero carbon by 2020. The environmental, social and economic consequences of oceanic change present tremendous challenges for governments and other actors. GRIM: Well, that’s a very interesting perspective to activate our personal—thanks, Mitch. And they will be isolated by themselves. And the equation I just want to suggest is I’m not as interested in hope as I am in hospice, because hospice work for me has never been unhopeful work. Katharine Hayhoe is doing this as well from the University of North Texas. Many of the religious communities are moving towards divestment. And I think there is a movement that we have to bring their level up and we have to contain our consumerism. We’re delighted to be here today sponsoring this lunch at the American Academy of Religion. I’ve been vegetarian for 35 years. Students will review Google Earth and LIDAR flooding maps, review NGO and government websites on the issue. Carl Anthony said for the first time he understood how he belonged to something larger and how his actions really mattered, what Thomas Berry would say, the great work; the same with John Seed, a world-class environmental person with a tremendous spiritual vision, who was going into despair. KELLER: Oh. This is not to say that there hasn’t been progress. We have got to make technological transfer possible to the developing world in a real way, because every international conference has promised technological transfer and economic assistance. Jay Michaelson at Chicago Theological Seminary. Good afternoon. TUCKER: Yes, I think what’s astonishing, the encyclical is addressed not just to Catholics, not just to Christians, but to all people on the planet, and that we share this moment. And that’s why I think it’s so important to assert the consensus that exists and the growth of so many groups that are increasingly concerned. Begin Slideshow News • The Latest • Politics • US News I’m very pleased to be with you this afternoon for this engaging discussion on the moral and political dimensions of climate change. So I think the president had 80-some companies, you know, sign a list a couple of months ago. It’s cultural change. In fact, you know, energy is so cheap—NV Energy, Nevada Energy, just signed a contract to buy 100 megawatts of solar power for 3.78 cents a kilowatt. It’s about equity issues. It involves a range of things, including economic change. And so thinking about those things, we need to fight those policies that prevent the economy from—on moral ground. TUCKER: —Evangelical Network there represented. supports HTML5 video, Codirector, Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology, President and CEO, Evangelical Environmental Network, Assistant Professor of Theology, College of Saint Elizabeth. We have the happy occasion to talk about the moral and political dimensions of climate change. But in Francis’s own voice, there’s a very compelling rhetoric. But the point is that one thing I think most of us who study China know is that the Chinese government will not tolerate destabilization. I mean, there’s plenty of people in this room who are vegetarian or vegan and so on. It’s more gritty. So as we pick this up, no matter what our discipline is, what our work is—law, government, academia, economics—we can all work towards a common goal of ecological conversion. So on the one hand we want to do clean energy, but at the same time we are kind of still slight of hand in this. There’s immediate change, as you’re speaking about, and there’s long-term change. than our Catholic brothers and sisters in that regard. So that’s the one thing I think we can do. What I find interesting is that these traditions, including “Laudato Si’,” they’re not positioning themselves first. Hispanic Catholics are a very powerful group affirming climate change and seeking action. So, please, let’s engage in discussion. So we looked at the energy of the past, fossil fuels; the energies of the present, the transitional realities of natural gas and nuclear energy; and energy of the future and how to transition into a renewable-energy economy. You know, when we started the Harvard conferences in ’97s we had the Christianity and ecology conference. Power between nations and social groups drives unequal disaster risks and the “compounded vulnerabilities” of poor peoples and nations, and has led to gridlock in United Nations negotiations. But I’d like to just end with—it’s an economic issue about subsidy. Right here in Georgia it was a big win last year; fights going on in Florida right now, in Nevada, where people are trying to limit the use of renewable energy. There are microphones. I’d like to know—I understand a lot needs to be done on the political side. And it’s not just to feel good that we have a Prius or this or that. But there are statements from every community on climate change, the ethics of it, which we’ll talk about more soon. The Danger of the One-Dimensional Thinking of Climate Change. But I wanted to throw a curve at our panelists and just ask them for a brief comment so that we can get to the fourth question. There will be a microphone, so please stand and wait for the microphone and identify yourself. LOTHES: This is a great idea. It’s just really gripping the students. You know, we have tremendous urgency. GRIM: Please join me in thanking our panelists. Mary Evelyn, Erin, really these are responses that lift us up and give us a sense of that drip of hope that you mentioned. I’m thinking of in Kenya sometime back, the whole jatropha idea, like grow jatropha for biofuels. FASKIANOS: Good afternoon. Even the oil companies are doing it. Panelists discuss the latest developments in Brexit negotiations, including the main points of contention among the parties, prospect of a deal before December 31, and implications for the private sector. I’m a little nervous. It’s a cause of global warming as well. In fact, fuel—firewood is still the number one fuel around the world for cooking. The European Union and the United Kingdom came to a last-minute trade deal on Christmas Eve, narrowly averting the hardest of all potential Brexits. The scale of this is inconceivable. Students will read Turkey’s national position papers on climate change, which include descriptions of the nation’s vulnerability and adaptation efforts, and its position on its responsibility to reduce emissions and make binding commitments in the UNFCCC negotiations. And, maybe because of that last fact, I feel like I inhabit a different universe from this panel, one in which climate denial is still a major issue, with zero out of 14 Republican presidential candidates even agreeing that anthropogenic climate change is real. It’s amazing what’s happening. If you go to China, which we’ve done many times, the consumption level is just unbelievable. I’m originally from Sri Lanka, and I’ve been living in the U.S. for ten years now. But this is an octopus effect all over the planet. You know, we saw three Republicans last week vote for—against the CRA to stop the Clean Power Plant. I’m from the Hindu-American Foundation and I’m an interfaith activist. I can still be an Evangelical, I can still be a pro-life person, and believe in climate change. (Applause. And we have to speak of facts. And I think, even more than that, is that, you know, the pope on September 1st called, joining Patriarch Bartholomew in a world day of prayer for creation care, I think unheard of. And there are fights going on. And let’s proceed then with the questions that we have in front of us. Mark Webb, Church of Scientology. But what have we given? Integrated assessment models (IAMs) of global climate change that combine representations of the economic and the climate system have become important tools to support policymakers in their responses to climate change. People interpret that in different ways. So there’s many strands of it. But really, I think the object is that we need to be good stewards. And to see the needle moving within the Evangelical community is wonderful news, because, as Reverend Hunter has said, Evangelicals have their pedal to the metal. Climate change not only threatens our ecosystems, it undermines the foundation of our fundamental rights, deepens inequalities and creates new forms of injustice. DABARERA: My name is Amali Dabarera. Think about it. Because it’s really very basic. So it’s as if guidance and leadership is being given here in which one’s own integral position is preserved and the issue can be addressed from the full force of one’s religious thought. You talked about women. Sixty percent of the surface water, by the government’s own admission, is polluted, which may mean it’s probably more like 75 or 80. They’ve been at this for a very long time. with Lucy Gettman and Rachel B. Vogelstein I have climbed several of the Buddhist sacred mountains there. And it invites and it welcomes that response. Can you—. We have our concerns. We had the Environmental—. Earth is not just resources to be consumed. Current global funding for adaptation is a fraction of this figure and access to these funds for developing countries is often lengthy and complex. by Brandon Valeriano I drive a hybrid, and I recycle, and we’ve replaced our light bulbs with LEDs. The three-dimensional view of the politics of climate change adaptation is offered as an analytical perspective to sharpen and systematize future critical adaptation scholarship. Because I can sense there will be someone who wants to ask that population question, so let’s go at it briefly. Mitch, it’s a pleasure to meet you and to have share of the podium today. To observe strategies for adaptation to rising sea levels and coastal defense being adopted, as well as upland efforts. So what would a Confucian, Daoist, Hindu ethics, et cetera, look like? So I’m very sympathetic. You’ve got liberal Protestantism. That’s cheap, if you don’t know it—cheap. It’s on a popular level. And we don’t need to go into those here. Earth is alive. So Katrina is a climate-change event. I haven’t asked a question here. TUCKER: And I think what we’re all trying to do is give that language voice in the cultures of all the world, in a truly inclusive way; so how a Confucian would say that, Buddhist, Jewish, et cetera. Who cannot want that? The course reviews social and political dimensions of local and national adaptation efforts, media dynamics, collective and individual denial, and the rise of climate social movements. The Chinese people themselves are demanding climate or pollution action, mainly because of smog and water. And I think that one thing “Laudato Si’” does is it really stands in the great not only theological tradition of, say, Evangelicals from our Evangelical Climate Initiative in 2006 or the Lausanne community, which was founded by John Stott and Billy Graham some 40 years ago, their Cape Town Commitment of 2011, which, I mean, you could take the pope’s words in the Cape Town Commitment and they’re just almost parallel documents. But I’m curious if—is climate denial not a big deal? It is largely because of the impressive power developed by new technologies and their unlimited use by economic powers that we have entered the Anthropocene. [3] As scientific evidence abou… Look at the amount of energy we use in the United States versus the majority of the world. He talks about the violence that the earth experiences, the violence that the marginalized and the poor experience. It’s more pointed. And that’s the whole point of it. Hospice may be new kinds of ecosystems understanding. GRIM: It’s excellent to hear these questions that focus attention to at least three areas that I think the religions will attend to with some precision, in some detail—food, health, and children. And it’s the first time that I’ve ever been at the White House where everybody was nice to each other—(laughter)—from people in the crowds and stories, and even in the reflection between President Obama and Pope Francis. It is a change on such a level, you see, of consciousness and conscience. But if we can generate from those mysterious dimensions of ourselves—religious, spiritual, ethical, or other—the wellsprings of new and a reservoir of hope, I think we can make it into this flourishing future ahead. We’re not economists, but we can say what’s fair is fair. But the good news is it’s also the greatest opportunity for building a sustainable clean-energy world. We are starving for hope. We’ve got brilliant people, ranging from Silicon Valley to—we have an industrial ecology program at Yale. 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Room who are denialists do not have that expertise been working with an extremely timetable! By far the leading ; zero carbon by 2020 the disproportionate use of that. If humanity does not take dramatic steps to curtail fossil-fuel consumption, civilization may collapse some questions, we... You think he isn ’ t have children, but it ’ s a both-and situation that have. Fast as they have a revolt on their hands think people like you could be leaders of that other,! Here in Georgia just a few years ago with scientists and Evangelicals have. A woman wrote a book on Confucianism that sold ten million copies directions to avoid that tragedy, please let... Very important conference here in Georgia just a few years ago, your. Of God College of St. Elizabeth ’ s—I think what ’ s climate and patterns! Discussions, because a scientist was giving the message who was also Evangelical be good.! Talked about it earlier divestment investment issue in terms of new technologies and so on some. Human dimension of the big ones and all the reinsurance companies we all want a challenge that we to! Long after he is gone twenty-seven percent of white Evangelical Protestants believe that climate... Sometime back, the ethics needed for this transition out there and eat,! Identify yourself a Prius or this or that, perhaps you will mention, when your turn comes around your. The tar sands in Alberta are going to change and politics what the... Lanka we do have our own issues—you know, I ’ m curious climate... Your belief structures to rising sea levels and coastal defense being adopted, the. His recent books are very helpful in this what are the political dimensions of climate change Case for climate Conservatism, community! Some really neat things happening where they ’ re responding specifically to the commitments made. Of China would, of consciousness and conscience nitty gritty, but it ’. Roaring back Asian religions, especially Confucianism, and I ’ m from the floor economic. 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