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Friday, October 19, 2007

Evangelicals and Global Warming

The Family Research Council (FRC) is having their annual conference in Washington, DC right now. What better opportunity to share their views on climate change. The FRC champions marriage and family as the foundation of civilization, the seedbed of virtue, and the wellspring of society. FRC shapes public debate and formulates public policy that values human life and upholds the institutions of marriage and the family. Believing that God is the author of life, liberty, and the family, FRC promotes the Judeo-Christian worldview as the basis for a just, free, and stable society. Here is what they believe, according to their president Tony Perkins, right, about global warming:

"What do evangelical Christians see as the top issues that our nation must get right in the coming decade? If you listened to the media you would be inclined to believe it was creating more government programs, which are supposed to help the poor, expand government education or to adopt radical policies to fight global warming. But if you actually listen to evangelicals you will find a much different answer. That is what George Barna did in his most recent survey of Americans. While Americans as a whole identified the overall care and resources devoted to children as the number one issue, which is laudable, the number one issue for evangelicals was improving the health of Christian churches followed by upgrading the state of marriage and families, and improving the spiritual condition of the U.S. Last on their list is the environment. So much for the global warming hype. Despite what the media may want to project upon evangelicals, they understand that if we, as a nation, get the spiritual issues right and build strong marriages and families - most of the other problems will be solved in the process."

AAEA has to respectfully disagree with Mr. Perkins about the role of government in addressing climate change. Although we do agree that an inappropriate program could be ineffective in mitigating climate change and global warming, an appropriate program could be very successful. Such a program would have to have the market as the prime mover and the government as more of a referee. A command and control program will probably fail. The Acid Rain Program is a good example of how government can operate a successful environmental program. Industry, environmentalists, government agencies and just about everybody else agrees that the ARP was successful. Thus, it is a good model for a global warming and climate mitigation program. Such a cap and trade system will tap into private sector ingenuity while avoiding the litigious landmines of a command and control program.

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