Evangelical Leaders Issue Global Warming Policy Principles

Evangelicals Contend That Traditional, Conservative Perspectives Are Vital to Sound Policy

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 23, 2007—Leaders with the Evangelical Climate Initiative called on public officials today to draw on traditional, conservative perspectives to address the challenge of climate change facing the United States and the world. Federal policy must maximize the free market, care for the most vulnerable, assure national security, and protect personal freedom, evangelical leaders said in a document of principles that “should guide government officials as they establish policies at the federal level to begin to solve global warming.”

In the paper released today and announced in print ads that will run Thursday in the
Washington Times and Roll Call, the Evangelical Climate Initiative outlined 10 principles for policymakers, including a call for the “scope of the free market to be maximized to allow innovation, ingenuity, and entrepreneurship to generate climate solutions, and to ensure that U.S. businesses can compete internationally in clean technologies.”

See the full document: Principles for Federal Policy on Climate Change

The principles document reads: “We are in favor of climate policies that reduce our
dependence on foreign oil (e.g. increasing fuel economy) and thereby enhance our energy security and our advocacy of religious freedom and human rights.”
Since the launch of the Evangelical Climate Initiative last year, there has been great interest in a broader discussion of the solutions and how they should be applied, and public officials have expressed a desire for more information on evangelical positions on these issues,” said the Rev. Jim Ball, national spokesperson for the Evangelical Climate Initiative. “This document is an
effort to begin addressing these questions and to offer policymakers guidance on how global warming policies should be created.”

The 10 principles read in part:

1. The Problem is Real, the Objective Clear
We believe that human-induced global warming is real and, based on nearly universal agreement in the scientific community, we encourage policy-makers to accept this fact.

2. Maximize Freedom in Solving the Problem
When government deals with global warming, a proper policy framework will establish the “rules of the road” and what businesses call “regulatory certainty,” which can enhance freedom by allowing us to begin to solve a problem whose impacts will severely limit that freedom in the future if not addressed.

3. Maximize Protection from Harm from Generation to Generation
A primary function of government is to protect all of its citizens from undue harm, be it from foreign invaders, criminals, or pollution that impacts human health.

4. Take Special Care to Protect the Most Vulnerable
The most important way that federal government policy can protect the poor here and around the world from the impacts of global warming is to begin to solve the problem by reducing CO2 emissions 80 percent by 2050.

5. Enhance National and Energy Security, International Religious Freedom, & Rural Economic Development
American reliance on foreign oil also undermines our national security, and makes us
dependent on undemocratic, despotic foreign regimes that restrict the religious liberty of their peoples, and threaten the stability of democratic allies such as Israel.

6. Disburse Decision-making Authority to the Lowest Possible Level
A robust response to the threat of global warming will involve individuals, families, churches, businesses, and governments at multiple levels. In particular, we believe in states’ rights and responsibilities as the laboratories of democracy.

7. Solve the Problem through the Free Market and Protection of Property Rights
To help ensure competitiveness, climate policy should provide: (1) a stable, long-term, substantial research and development program; (2) long-term regulatory certainty, and; (3) a robust price signal that reflects the true social cost of greenhouse gas pollution.

8. Start Now and Solve the Problem in the Most Cost-Effective, Least-Disruptive Way Possible
Significant reductions in global warming pollution should start sooner rather than later in order to minimize disruption to the economy, and to avoid the necessity of drastic, steep reductions in the future.

9. Lead by Example
Regardless of whether all nations agree to be part of the solution, America must do the right thing.

10. Learn from the Future
Our understanding will continue to grow, and we may find that we must accelerate steps that address climate change.

(The Evangelical Climate Initiative, by the way, is a group of more than 100 evangelical leaders who are—-as a result of their commitment to Jesus Christ and concern for His creation—-encouraging action by evangelical Christians and all Americans to make life changes necessary to help solve the global warming crisis and to advance public policy that will limit global warming pollution, while respecting economic and business concerns.)

–Jim Jewell

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About Jim Jewell

I am a writer and consultant on faith and public life, active for many years in management and communications in the evangelical community. I now work as the director of the nonprofit practice at The Valcort Group (www.valcort.com). Everything on this blog, however, is my personal opinion and is not read or approved before it is posted. Opinions, conclusions and other information expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of Valcort.
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