The Case of the Curious Climate Covenant

Just in time for the Christmas season, we have a Dec. 13, 2010 article in USA Today titled "Advent: Let's start to heal our planet," about the association of basic Christian care with climate change concern:

The start of Advent, this season of waiting and watching, coincided with the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico.  We are not waiting for climate change.  It is here.  And religious communities are taking the lead with incremental solutions to a warming planet.

Untold numbers of well-informed individuals are rolling their eyes at all the "warming planet" warnings failing to happen, like low-lying islands swamped by rising seas, more frequent and intense hurricanes, and the Arctic starting down the path of being ice-free in the summer -- a process less likely to happen since the big ice cube up there keeps getting bigger each winter.

Eyes roll, but tough questions aren't being asked about the origins of faith-based organizations' climate change concerns, so those ideas are allowed to spread, ultimately corrupting a perfectly unsuspecting Advent season.

The question is this: what prompts this faith-based concern about an essentially political issue?

The USA Today article says, "Many of the 10,000 congregations involved in Interfaith Power and Light have joined a Carbon Covenant[.]"

Click on the link for "Carbon Covenant" at the article's page, and you are taken to the Interfaith Power and Light web page.  Click on IP&L's Resources link and continue to their "Building" page, and the #2 link is for a PDF file of "Bottom Line Ministries that Matter: Congregational Stewardship with Energy Efficiency and Clean Energy Technologies" by the National Council of Churches' Eco-Justice Program.  A handy online version of that PDF file shows that it was prepared by Matthew Anderson-Stembridge and Phil D. Radford, with absolutely no reference of who these people are.

Who is Phil Radford?  He's the current executive director of Greenpeace USA, and, as noted on Greenpeace's Experts page, he also worked at the enviro-activist group Ozone Action (11/29/12 Editor's note: Sometime between January and June 2011, Greenpeace rewrote Radford's bio at the aforementioned link, deleting the reference below.  The Ozone Action reference can still, however, be seen in internet archive pages here.  Backup version here.):

As field Director of Ozone Action from 1999 to 2001, Radford planned and managed a successful grassroots organizing campaign in the 2000 presidential primaries that convinced Senator John McCain to push for action to combat global warming.

Who is Matt Stembridge?  Another Ozone Action alumnus, as noted by a 2000 Dartmouth Annual Report's Environmental Studies Division:

Matt Stembridge '99, a.k.a. Captain Climate, now working for Ozone Action, we worked to focus the candidates' attention on global climate change and other environmental issues.

Captain Climate?  That's how Stembridge was described by a May 12, 2008 Bloomberg Businessweek article: "John McCain's global warming journey started back in 2000, when a strange apparition named 'Captain Climate' began to turn up at Presidential campaign events."

Stembridge moved on to several faith-based enviro-advocacy positions, and in his YouTube profile video at the 2:40 point, he describes how he was a rabid anti-Christian while working on environmental campaigns but later changed and ended up working for the Lutheran Church.  No surprise that he is easily found in a search of a current Lutheran enviro-advocacy website.

What was Ozone Action?  As I described in detail in my July 6 American Thinker article "Smearing Global Warming Skeptics," it has every appearance of being the epicenter of the long-term smear of skeptic scientists.  Ozone Action's primary accusation against skeptics is tied to a phrase from an unseen 1991 coal industry internal memo supposedly discovered by book author/"Pulitzer winner" Ross Gelbspan.  But Gelbspan never won a Pulitzer prize despite a huge number of descriptions to the contrary, nor was he the first to publish quotes from the unseen memo.

So what do we have here?  Apparently, a monumental problem concerning the "moral imperative" to save the planet.  Before these faith-based advocacy efforts can say it is some kind of sin to emit greenhouse gases, they are going to first have to ask if it was right to portray skeptic scientists as corrupt, considering a complete lack of evidence supporting that accusation, or considering even the lack of a basic effort to allow skeptic scientists the chance to defend themselves.  The Science and Public Policy Project had this to say after Gelbspan's first book was published:

We have yet to catch a glimpse of Gelbspan here at SEPP.  In gathering material for his book, he never visited our offices, spoke to no one on staff, and never contacted Fred Singer for an interview to cover point-by-point the claims he later made in his book.  He has had no contact with the Project whatsoever.

So which is the bigger sin?  Failing to stop a so-called global warming crisis which has increasing credibility problems with its underlying science assessments, or breaking the 9th Commandment in order to be sure scientists' criticisms aren't taken seriously?

Russell Cook's collection of writings on this issue can be seen at "The '96-to-present smear of skeptic scientists - or at least what I've dredged up."

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