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Sunday’s Compassion Forum: Climate Change

This Sunday evening CNN is broadcasting a conversation between diverse faith leaders and presidential candidates Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama.

The Compassion Forum is focused on just five important issues to folks of faith: domestic and international poverty, global AIDS, climate change, genocide in Darfur, and human rights and torture.


Climate Change

One of the reasons that climate change needs to be a presidential priority is expressed best by this April 2 Daily Show piece on the complete ineffectiveness of Congressional hearings in getting the fossil fuel industry to do anything substantial.

On the other hand, calling presidential candidates to responsibility on global warming seems to be having an effect. Newsweek has an interesting article up arguing that no matter which candidate wins in November, environmental policy will be different:

The environment, which typically ranks somewhere around “regulatory reform” among voters’ concerns, has emerged as a leading issue in this election cycle; last year more than three voters in 10 said they would take a candidate’s green credentials into account, according to pollster John Zogby, up from just 11 percent in 2005. “It was clear starting all the way back in Iowa and New Hampshire that this campaign would be much more about the environment,” says Dave Willett, a spokesman for the Sierra Club. “The questions weren’t ‘Do you think global warming is happening?’ but ‘How are you going to deal with it, what’s your approach?'”

This is in part due to the huge grassroots efforts by faith leaders and congregates working together in linking climate change and creation care. As the current documentary Renewal shows, Appalachian evangelicals who care about mountain top removal are connected to San Francisco-based Buddhists, Chicago Muslims, and New England Reconstructionist Jews. Perhaps beyond the candidates, the real question is what sort of climate for changing attitudes on CO2 emissions will the faithful create for their political leaders?

Key question: how will the presidential candidates mobilize industry, faith groups, the environmental community, and government together to cut 2% of CO2 emissions each year for the next 40 years?

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