How Moral Conviction Could Make the Difference at the Paris Climate Talks
Today, the UN Climate Conference begins in Paris. Stakes are high, as are the hopes of everyone who believes this is our best chance to protect our future. But will these talks be able to succeed where others have failed? Climate scientist, evangelical Christian, and MomentUs leader Katharine Hayhoe believes this time is different – and the reason is moral conviction.
For the first time, faith leaders have stepped up and vocally expressed our moral obligation as human beings to act on climate change. This message resonates regardless of one’s religious beliefs. Christian or Muslim, Jewish or Buddhist, atheist or agnostic, we share the common value of wanting to care for the most vulnerable among us – the poor, the disadvantaged, children, and the elderly. We want our loved ones to have clean air to breathe and clean water to drink. We want to provide a healthy world for future generations.
Faith leaders have helped their faithful see that one doesn’t have to choose between religion and science. They, along with health professionals and many others, have helped connect the dots between the science of climate change and how we respond as humans. And as Hayhoe says, this has the potential to transform the climate debate.
“What if,” she asks, “in the international discussions, we weigh our own personal short-term gain against the well-being of our brothers and sisters around the world? What if we value not only the resources we have today but also the wealth of diversity across the planet tomorrow?”
This year, this time, we at ecoAmerica believe it can happen.
By Katharine Hayhoe, contributor to Scientific American
Moral conviction, backed by facts, could finally inspire global action
It has been almost a quarter century since the majority of nations signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, agreeing to “limit dangerous anthropogenic [human] interference with the climate system.” And yes, nearly 25 years since the world agreed to prevent serious impacts on global food supply, the natural environment and the economy.
This December, 195 nations will be heading to Paris for the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) to discuss yet again how to accomplish what they all promised nearly a generation ago. As you can imagine, the question on everyone’s mind is, “Will this time be any different?”
Climate science has certainly advanced across this time frame. Our global climate models zoom down to finer and finer resolutions; our satellites reveal remote corners of the globe; we increase our understanding of the response of giant ice sheets and deep ocean currents to a warming planet.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons