The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is wrapping up its two-week long conference in Cancun, Mexico today. The conference brings together signatories to the UNFCCC treaty, as well as subsidiary bodies related to science, technology, and implementation, to discuss global responses to climate change.
Representatives of global governments are not only discussing climate change policies, but also attending workshops on how climate change relates to biodiversity, economics, commerce, technology, agriculture, alternative energy, and a host of other spheres. (To read about side events for each day of the Cancun conference, click here.)
Governments taking collaborative action to address climate change gives me hope that humanity can respond effectively to environmental issues. However, voices from the Religious Right have been mocking this important meeting, which says volumes about their priorities, as usual.
Some Religious Right voices have used the Cancun summit to scoff at liberals and "socialists." E. Calvin Beisner, founder of the Cornwall Alliance (the right-wing group that released the anti-environmentalism curriculum Resisting the Green Dragon) insists that the Cancun summit is really about "power and wealth distribution." In an online commentary, Beisner claimed that the summit and the environmental movement is tainted by a "socialist, redistributivist, global-government agenda." Also, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council looks askance at "liberals [who] are panicking about global dimming", claiming that the head of the U.N. Environmental Program will push for an international tax at the Cancun summit.
Other attacks are more petty. Several right-wing commentators have sneered at Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UNFCCC, who invoked the Mayan goddess Ixchel in her opening statement. Glenn Beck also made fun of Figueres and Ixchel on his December 6th show. In a column at OneNewsNow, Michael Youssef scoffs at "enviro-nazis" and "environmentalist fanatics" who worship nature, pointing to the invocation of Ixchel as proof of their devotion to "false gods."
Dale Hurd at CBN cackles at the "pampered and self-important global warming bureaucrats, many of them European elites" attending the summit. Climate change, he insists, consists of "exaggerated and discredited claims" which he refuses to take seriously. Hurd claims that the world is now in an ice age due to "natural and independent climate cycles set in motion by The Creator God", scoffing at the idea of negative human impact on global temperatures. Like other right-wing commentators, he scoffs at the Ixchal invocation, implying that environmentalism is a "pagan" religion.
Other commentators have focused on controversial people rather than the core issues of the Cancun gathering. LifeSite News, for instance, seems more concerned about demonizing Ted Turner's attitudes toward overpopulation than about the discussing the larger issues at stake.
These Religious Right voices have chosen to lob attacks at the UNFCCC conference, rather than offer well-reasoned commentary about environmental policies. This in itself is revealing. Rather than confront the environmental issues facing the planet, these commentators have taken cheap shots at the UNFCCC, thereby failing to enrich public dialogue about climate change. Instead of taking constructive action, they make fun of those who do.
For news and commentary on the UNFCCC Conference, visit these links.
CNN: UN Forests Deal Stalls as Climate Talks Remain Deadlocked
National Geographic: Climate Change Talks Hinge on "Green Growth," says De Boer
Washington Post: Cancun Climate-Change Summit Hinges on US-China Transparency Issues
BBC News: Climate Change Warning at UN Cancun Summit
Christian Science Monitor: Climate change negotiators in Cancun look to bridge gaps
Womens eNews: UN Carbon Planning Opens to Indigenous Women
Greenpeace: Commentary: Ancient Traditions, Modern Politics & the Future of Forests in Cancun