iOS app Android app More

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors
Rev. Jim Ball

GET UPDATES FROM Rev. Jim Ball
 

Rick Santorum Is Wrong on Global Warming

Posted: 02/24/2012 12:23 pm

I hate to say this, but the man currently leading in the polls to become the Republican candidate for President of the United States, former Senator Rick Santorum, is woefully misinformed when it comes to global warming, one of the top challenges facing our country and the world. His own fears of more government control of individual freedom have blinded him to the facts on global warming, leading him to call it a "hoax" during CNN's Florida debate.

This week he took things a step further. On "Face the Nation" with Bob Schieffer Sen. Santorum connected global warming with what he had previously described as President Obama's "phony theology."

Here is part of the transcript from Santorum's appearance on "Face the Nation," where Schieffer asked him to clarify what he meant when he said that President Obama has a "phony theology":

RICK SANTORUM: Well, I was talking about the -- the radical environmentalists. That's why I was talking about energy, this -- this idea that -- that man is -- is not -- is here to serve the Earth as opposed to husband its resources and be good stewards of the Earth. And I think that is a -- is a phony ideal. I don't believe that that's what -- that's what we're here to do. That we, that man is here to -- to use the resources and use them wisely, to care for the Earth, to be a steward of the Earth. But we're not here to serve the Earth. The Earth is not the objective. Man is the objective. And -- and I think a lot of radical -- a lot of radical environmentalists have it upside down.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, how does that translate into some sort of theology that the president's theology--

RICK SANTORUM (voice overlapping): Well, it's -- it's a world view.

BOB SCHIEFFER: --is not based on the Bible. I mean that suggests that he's not a Christian.

RICK SANTORUM: No, I wasn't suggesting that president's not a Christian. I accept the fact that the President is a Christian. I -- I just said that when you have a -- a world view that -- that elevates the Earth above man and -- and says that, you know, we can't take those resources because we're going to harm the Earth by -- by things that are -- that frankly are just not scientifically proven, for example, that politicization of the whole global warming debate, I mean, this is just all -- all -- all an attempt to, you know, to centralize power and to give more power to the government.

It sounds like Sen. Santorum is saying that President Obama has, to some degree at least, a radical environmentalist world-view that "elevates the Earth above man," and this world-view is behind concerns for global warming. But in the next breadth he states that "this is just all an attempt to, you know, centralize power and to give more power to the government."

In Oklahoma City earlier this month, Santorum said this about climate change:

"You hear all the time, the left -./- 'Oh, the conservatives are the anti-science party.' No we're not. We're the truth party. The absurdity and the politicization and the manipulation of data, why? Because the left is always looking for a way to control you. They're always trying to make you feel guilty so you'll give them power so they can lord it over you."

Here Santorum is articulating what most of those ideologically opposed to overcoming global warming believe is the real goal of those trying to do something about climate change: it's all a power grab by the federal government, and more specifically by liberals wanting to use the federal government to "control" or "lord it over" people.

In his "Face the Nation" interview Santorum combines that with talk about world-view, focused on humanity's relationship to the environment. What is our role?

That's an important and legitimate question, one I've spent a good deal of time on myself. We all have a world-view, and our world-views shape both our values and our answers to such questions as what is our relationship to the environment.

But it is Sen. Santorum's stark either/or thinking on this question that helps lead him astray in my opinion. If you don't have a "drill baby drill" mentality, if you are not for unfettered use of fossil fuels, then you are a "radical environmentalist" who believes humanity's purpose is to "serve the Earth" at the expense of humanity.

Sen. Santorum does say we are "to care for the Earth, to be a steward of the Earth." But his voting record (10 percent LCV lifetime score), his proposed policies and his other recent statements all belie this.

What being a steward seems to mean for Sen. Santorum is that we use the Earth's resources "wisely" for humanity's benefit.

Well and good.

But is it wisdom to deny the facts of human-induced global warming out of a misplaced fear of being controlled by leftist radical environmentalists?

The main policy mechanism that Sen. Santorum decries is "cap-and-trade," something that Republicans helped create and was first enacted into federal legislation by the elder President Bush in the 1990 Clean Air Act. Cap-and-trade was devised to be a more cost-effective approach to environmental protection in comparison with a command-and-control approach that mandates a particular type of technological solution. In other words, it increased one's freedom when determining how to achieve environmental goals and did so at a lower cost.

Again, is it wisdom to deny global warming out of a fear of loss of freedom?

In my book I articulate why overcoming global warming is what I call "the next great cause of freedom." The solutions to global warming can actually help the poor around the world escape from poverty. And the impacts will hit the poor the hardest, diminishing their economic freedom by pushing them back down into poverty.

Those who fight to overcome global warming are the freedom fighters of our time. And for Christians like me who have committed ourselves to this fight, we do so not based on some "phony theology," but on our commitment to follow the Risen LORD as He leads the way in overcoming global warming. That's our role: to follow the true owner, the true heir of all things, Jesus Christ.

The Rev. Jim Ball, Ph.D., is author of 'Global Warming and the Risen LORD.'