rev. Douglas Olds
14 October 2019
All rights reserved
Emission reductions, at a substantial rate, must begin promptly. CO2 released in fossil fuel burning remains in the climate system for millennia. The portion of CO2 remaining in the air declines rapidly at first. Half of the emitted CO2 is taken up in the first 25 years by the ocean, soil and biosphere, but uptake then slows such that almost one-fifth is still in the air after 500 years. Chemical weathering eventually deposits the fossil fuel carbon on the ocean floor as carbonate sediment, but that process requires millennia. Thus all together there are three slow processes that characterize the climate and energy problem, creating a difficult situation for young people. Unless urgent actions are undertaken, climate consequences will run out of humanity’s control. (1) First, Earth’s slow response to energy imbalance. Earth responds by growing warmer, until it radiates to space as much energy as it absorbs from the Sun. However, it takes at least several decades for the ocean to achieve most of its warming. Meanwhile, ice sheets and tundra are melting, providing amplifying feedbacks that increase the warming and stretch the response time. (2) Second, the long life of CO2. Much of the fossil fuel CO2 injected into the air remains in the atmosphere for centuries. The problem becomes [increasingly difficult to solve] if high emissions continue. Even with emissions terminated entirely in 2030, CO2 in the air does not decline to 350 ppm until 2300. (3) Third, the lifetime of energy infrastructure. Fossil fuel energy infrastructure is extensive and valuable. Fossil fuels provide 85 percent of the world’s energy, which has raised standards of living. Energy is needed to support a still growing global population. Replacement of fossil fuels by carbon-free energy sources will require several decades, even with effective planning that so far has been absent (Hansen 2018).
As introduced, this dissertation project submits proposals for ecclesial praxis. Five levels of social organization are considered. Level 1 praxis is social activity and lifestyle behavior undertaken as individuals. Individuals interact in small groups within neighborhood and friendships through Level 2 social activity. Level 3 praxis derives from the mediating social activity of institutions—its praxis matches Level 1 needs with Level 4 realities framed by Level 5 ideological authorities and world pictures. Level 4 praxis is social activity inside the political and economic aggregate. Level 5 praxis concerns itself with ideological and social frameworks: how world views and world pictures shape praxis at the lower levels in terms of motivation, suasion, and group formation, provisioning, and cohesion. This dissertation is concerned with how a Level 3 institution (a church or faith-based institution) frames meaning for and guides action by Level 1 and 2 individuals and small groups, promotes Level 5 worldview changes by the application of traditional authorities and texts, and activates congregants for engaging Level 4 governance and policymaking.
Level 5 praxis—the shaping of worldviews—was addressed in chapter 3 of this dissertation, specifically by the proposals for cultivating atmospheric virtues and implementing theological accountability through atmospheric trusteeship. Ministry intended to carry forth Level 1, 2, and 4 applications begins by framing ecclesial messages from Level 5 moral conceptualizations. This chapter begins by listing the most significant Level 1 lifestyle practices to bring down individual and family carbon footprints and GHG emissions. After this introduction, the practice of Level 2 lifestyle sharing amongst small groups is presented. Some specifics of Level 3 praxis of the institutional church follows in the Appendices—the methodological, homiletical, liturgical, and spiritual offerings and rituals that align a church’s theory on global heating and climate injustice with integrity of operations. This chapter intends broadly to guide Level 3 ministerial praxis by outlining specific applications directed to Levels 1, 2, and 4 actors and social arenas.
After the praxis of lifestyle sharing is presented, this chapter outlines three areas for changing policy and political economies of combustion: 1) microeconomic approaches to investment in mitigation and abatement of GHG emissions, 2) macroeconomic restructuring by carbon taxes, degrowth economic planning, and priorities for energy infrastructure; and 3) means of addressing climate debt. This chapter concludes with an exploration of how to activate social commitment as a response to the climate crisis and its resulting injustices.
Follows a list of applications to individual lifestyle that reduce carbon emissions: how individuals and households may enact atmospheric trusteeship. This list was developed in consultation with Marin Interfaith Climate Action and formed the basis of an Adult Education Seminar at First Presbyterian Church on June 16, 2019 (further discussed in the Evaluation chapter).
While the first item of this list is likely the most effective change that can be made by affluent households that fly transcontinentally at least once per year, other items follow in no particular order. However, by consulting the methodology in the Carbon Audit report in the Appendix, individuals may quantify for themselves the scale of their carbon footprints following a comprehensive scoping of their regular lifestyle activities. This useful exercise allows individuals to determine which reductions on this list have the most impact while discerning which are most feasible to enact. Necessary but not sufficient, Level 1 praxis of lifestyle adjustments meaningfully impact GHG emission while serving to structure--motivate and authenticate—activism inside Levels 2-4 social milieus.
a. Cut jet travel significantly. Vacation closer to home
b. If one must currently travel by plane for employment, substitute with and become an advocate for telepresence (including applications of videoconferencing)
c. Become a customer of the local electric utility’s renewable sources program (if available) to zero out carbon emissions from electricity
d. Reduce intake of animal and fish products, prioritizing grains and produce
e. Buy flowers and food products from local sources and farmer's market vendors rather than from sources requiring long-distance transport
f. Turn down the thermostat on hot water heaters; take fewer and shorter showers
g. Electrify heating sources where possible in lieu of natural gas [NG] furnaces and NG hot water heaters
h. Launder with cold water, not hot
i. Use cloth bags instead of single-use plastic
j. Buy in bulk and bring your own container
k. Forgo buying new when able to buy second hand, repair clothes, furniture, appliances
l. Do not exceed traffic speed limits
m. Use automobile and home air conditioning sparingly
n. Avoid cryptocurrencies
o. Avoid dry cleaning
p. Do not accelerate needlessly when the light turns green
q. Forgo leather car interiors and personal clothing and furniture items
r. Buy recycled paints, paper, toilet paper, tissue; compost organic wastes
s. Carry an aluminum bottle for water and coffee;
t. Store leftovers in recycled glass jars rather than plastic bags
u. Bring plants indoors to help absorb indoor toxins, sequester carbon dioxide and provide more oxygen
v. Use double paned glass for windows and weather strip doors
w. Use bamboo, which is sustainable, rather than wood and laminate
x. Use window drapes to keep hot air in; keep shades open during daylight in winter
y. No longer buy clothing made from petroleum (e.g. fleece)--the fibers break down into microparticles and pollute air and water
z. Economize automobile use by planning routes to decrease multiple trips for errands
aa. Take public transport when possible
bb. Divest from fossil fuel sector and its corporate financiers.
bb. Divest from fossil fuel sector and its corporate financiers.
Patrons at a US cafe who were told that 30% of Americans had started eating less meat were twice as likely to order a meatless lunch.
An online survey showed that of the respondents who know someone who had given up flying because of climate change, half of them said they flew less as a result.
In California, households were more likely to install solar panels in neighbourhoods that already have them.
Community organisers trying to get people to install solar panels were 62% more successful in their efforts if they had panels in their house too (Ortiz 2018).
Humans cognitively and neurologically mirror the actions of their peers in social settings while evaluating whether their peers and authorities match action with their statements. Marin Resilient Neighborhoods [MRN] has built a model of peer education and low-pressure activism for spreading the message and commitment to lifestyle change. Neighbors gather and discuss what they as individuals have committed for decarbonization praxis. This model of small group, face-to-face interaction matches commitments undertaken after education with peer accountability. This sharing of lifestyle decarbonization adjustments is demonstrating success at the margins of issues like adopting renewable electricity, eating less meat, and dispensing with consumer plastics, among other practices. Some quantification of the impact of jet travel is modeled by MRN, with the message promoted for members to “take one less trip by jet next year.”
MRN builds on research from Yale University that the sharing of personal concerns about global heating and climate disruption—and the practices and efforts that one is undertaking to address those concerns on a personal level—is effective at raising collective consciousness of the issue and spreading applications of practices. Expanding the collective scale of these activities and applied practices to connect small-scale concerns--including for enacting urgency and activism--of the small community to the aggregate scale of society—is a task for Level 3 mediating institutions.
The primary role for Level 3 institutions is their mediation of households’ (Levels 1 and 2) needs and desires with Level 4 (complex social and political-economic) realities and provisioning processes. As one example, the Level 3 institutional church or faith-based institution activates Level 1 and Level 4 praxis by framing their integration inside of Level 5 worldviews, stories, and traditions. This section will first describe the microeconomic (firm-scale) approaches toward remediating global heating and climate disruption then conclude with how the church can evaluate and activate microeconomic solutions to the crisis of Climate Injustice and Disruption. The next section will address macroeconomic policies and political programs for addressing this crisis. The concluding section of this chapter will then address how churches may frame and activate worldviews that promote activism for macroeconomic and political-economic solutions.
Hawken (2017) presents a comprehensive inventory of microeconomic solutions for reducing the scale of of GHG emissions. His team researched and provided a technical assessment of 80 types of microeconomic activity from the perspective of cost and efficiency of reducing GHG emissions (CO2e). Sectors covered include inputs into Building and Cities, Energy production, Food production, Land Use, Materials, Transport, and education and economic enablement of females and family planning (Ibid., 224-5). These microeconomic initiatives are paying dividends in terms of GHG reductions as they have been rolled out in demonstration projects and are expanding their impact in time. Two criticisms of Hawken’s presentation are offered here:
1) No consideration of putting a universal or macroeconomic price on carbon or GHG feedstocks is presented that could stimulate more rapid innovation and adoption of these microeconomic solutions. Part 4 of this chapter will outline the benefits of a carbon tax as the most effective way of pricing carbon feedstocks (fossil fuels) to stimulate buildout and adoption of microeconomic solutions that Hawken’s team details, as well as to incentivize innovations in technologies and processes that develop these and other solutions.
2) Hawken’s report downplays the Greenhouse Effect from aviation and its current impacts and limitations of technological mitigation. For example, it promotes biofuels as a source for jet propulsion without quantifying their GHG emissions profile in comparison with current fuels. Moreover, the report appears too sanguine regarding efficiencies from innovation of plane design to offset the 5% annual growth in the aviation sector (Carbon Brief 2019; Owen et al. 2010).
However, Hawken’s team reports on the potential for positive impact on emissions from other sectors traditionally utilizing combustion- and carbon-intensive inputs. The technical details of most of these microeconomic initiatives are beyond the scope of this dissertation, but the initiatives devoted to enabling women to act as economic agents and to effectively plan family size--alongside expanding educational and health opportunities for girls—should be a high priority for institutional and charitable support and government resources (Ibid., 76-81). These female-focused initiatives can abate population pressures on the atmosphere-depleting economy by reducing aggregate material demand. Additionally, female empowerment as farm leaders and tenure holders over land increases agricultural yields and reduces deforestation (Ibid., 77). Finally, female empowerment addresses, in part, gender injustices from Climate Disruption described in chapter 1 of this dissertation. Initiatives for female empowerment in microeconomic sectors thus can abate and mitigate GHG emissions at a relatively low economic cost—and in many cases with a negative cost—from an increase in benefits from efficiency. Moreover, these initiatives satisfy the conditions for increasing gender equity—conditions that ought not to be subject to a cost-benefit analysis.
A microeconomic initiative not presented by Hawken’s team includes corporate stockholder initiatives to make a firm’s operations less polluting. Alongside these initiatives in corporate governance lies the potential for bringing economic pressure to bear on polluting firms by commitments to divest capital from those firms if they do not make meaningful progress on GHG emissions. Divestment from the fossil fuel industrial sector—drillers, pipelines, refineries, equipment producers, fossil fuel combusting utilities—should be prioritized by both institutional and personal holders of endowment capital. The example of rolling back South African Apartheid by divestment and economic boycott provides a model for redirecting social finance toward reducing corporate GHG emissions.
Level 1 and 2 lifestyle adjustments are nowhere near enough to solve Climate Disruption. Some climate activists denigrate personal lifestyle commitments and changes as marginal without an activist commitment to change social structures. Approaches like those detailed by Hawken may be too slow or minimal absent macroeconomic policies that stimulate adoption, build-out, and innovation in the addressed microeconomic sectors. Atmospheric virtues of thrift and self-restraint in fossil fuel use by Level 1 and 2 individuals have no counterpart in the commercial firm pursuing profits. At the very least, Level 3 corporate institutions require predictable price-signals to direct their investments toward conservation and efficiency in GHG emissions and combustion. Likely too all levels of society require economic restructuring to reduce their treating the atmosphere as a cost-free carbon dump. The macroeconomic proposals detailed in this section of the current chapter include 1) restructuring of the energy grid to promote renewable sources to transition from fossil fuel inputs; 2) centralized programs of degrowth economics and international initiatives to allocate drawing rights for emissions among national economies; 3) sovereign climate debt relief and financing of international mitigation and adaptation; 4) re-imposition of capital controls and disestablishment of international trade conventions that contravene sovereign and multilateral regulatory frameworks addressing climate disruption; 5) the fundamental need for making GHG emissions costly—"putting a price on carbon” by the imposition of a carbon tax to promote both efficiency and equity.
Williams (2018) presents the three pillars of a structural policy to reform the energy economy and grid:
1) Increase energy efficiency—that is, reduce the inputs of fuel or renewable processes per unit of energy output;
2) Reduce carbon inputs into the electricity grid (by replacing them
3) Use electricity to replace power derived from carbon combustion.
These pillars to restructure the energy grid of localities and nations reduce gross inputs of fossil fuel into production processes from gains in technological efficiency, substitution by renewable sources, and the development of goods and services that run off an efficient, renewable electricity grid rather than off combustion.
Restructuring the energy grid with these features is an urgent priority for governmental regulators. It is most efficiently and equitably developed inside the social restructuring accomplished by the imposition of a carbon-consumption or carbon-emissions tax.
Hsu (2011; see also Daly 2014, 228) sets out seven “reasons to favor a carbon tax over the alternative policies of (1) government subsidies, (2) "command-and-control" style environmental regulation under the older parts of the Clean Air Act, and (3) cap and-trade:”
[One:] Innovation requires a price signal…that…does not [have government] pick a
winner; it lets markets do that. An appropriate price signal on the emissions of
greenhouse gases will unleash a competition among innovators to come up with
the best and cheapest technologies to reduce emissions… Greenhouse gas reduction opportunities are diverse…Incentivizing innovation will require a broad price signal that ripples throughout the entire economy, scrambling every single business in a search for a lower carbon footprint in the hopes that it can gain a price advantage over competitors.
[Two:] Economic efficiency demands that there be a fair competition [among entrepreneurs and innovators]…to assure that the lowest cost reductions will prevail…[Developing] long-term habits [through financial incentives derived from a] consistent carbon tax, annually adjusted for inflation, represents a long-term commitment. It is superior to cap-and-trade because a cap remains fixed no matter what happens in a given year (cap-and-trade programs may allow permit "banking" and "borrowing" across years, but that would only imperfectly simulate the flexibility offered by a carbon tax). In economic downtimes, carbon dioxide emissions fall; in those years having a "loose" cap is a missed opportunity to reduce emissions.
[Three:] Funding of limited government subsidization of research and development of renewable and alternative technologies may be derived from a carbon tax.
[Four:] Carbon taxes do not subsidize the formation of capital [or continue its establishments]...Capital has a downside: when we discover that there is something harmful or inefficient about the expensive capital we have acquired, it can be very difficult to get rid of that capital.
[Five:] Carbon taxes are administratively simpler [than cap-and-trade].
[Six:] Revenue raising.
[Seven:] [Promotes feasible] international coordination. Almost every international treaty has sought to oblige signatories to abide in a certain common code of behavior…[that formalizes] global cooperation. A carbon tax stands a better chance of achieving this than the alternatives.
To this list of Hsu may be added these considerations:
[Eight:] Revenue derived from carbon tax allows for progressivity to fund infrastructure build-outs in the renewable electricity grid and for investment in adaptation to climate change--as along coastlines.
[Nine:] Set at a high enough rate, Carbon Taxes allow funding of domestic international transfers as reparations for climate debt, reparations that can be applied for adaptation paid to citizens and nations made vulnerable by high-emitting sectors and nations.
[Ten:] Set at a high enough rate, Carbon Taxes effect thrift and conservation by both the producer (Level 3 firm) and individual (Level 1) consumer.
Because the rationales given establish the benefits of making carbon emissions more costly by putting a significant price on them by taxation, I will now move in this section to a consideration of how a carbon tax might be structured for purposes of efficiency, innovation, and conservation (as outlined by Hsu) within the context of “Just Transition” in the energy economy toward the principles of equity presented in the first chapter of this dissertation.
A Just Transition carbon tax should bring about the following social and environmental objectives:
1) Promote thrift, conservation, and technological innovation thereby reducing GHG emissions.
2) Match or exceed the social cost of carbon emissions reckoned globally to internalize its damages into the economic transactions from whence they flow.
3) Promote progressivity (Shue’s  second ethical principle.
4) Create a fund for addressing a nation’s climate debt: its imposition of costs and environmental degradation from an unjustified level of emissions onto parties and nations who have not shared fairly in general economic benefits (Shue’s  first and third ethical principles).
5) Generate revenue to fund progressive tax rebates to lower-income citizens, satisfaction of carbon debt, and infrastructures of carbon mitigation and adaption to climate change.
6) Restructure taxation on value-added (a social good) by replacing its revenues by taxation of social “bads, illth.”
7) Enact Shue’s (1999) third principle by generating revenue from institutions and social sectors that not only are very wealthy but also transition society toward a more just and peaceful basis.
To accomplish these objectives and conditions, this exercise of considering the imposition of a carbon tax includes following political-economic conditions:
To quantify social cost and bring about significant thrift, studies of the global social costs of a tonne of CO2 emissions range from $100-805 (Than 2015; Ricke et al. 2018)—far beyond the Obama administration’s (and British Columbia’s tax) calculations of $35/tonne.
To finance objectives 3), 4), and 5), the rate of carbon emission taxation derives from estimates of the midrange of its social cost—i.e. around $400/tonne of CO2e (Ricke et al. 2018). To add objective 6) to the mix, I model the revenues from this rate of taxation for its effects on government revenue so to replace value-added taxes on earned income from employment.
A 40% cut in the U.S. defense budget models frees up funds for these last four objectives and re-orients society toward peace by reducing and rationalizing the mission of the military away from preparing for a simultaneous two-front war, preparations for nuclear warfare under any consideration, and the wholesale projection of tactical, intervening force in foreign regions. Even 60% of current funding far exceeds the needs of a military strictly defined by and limited to protecting the homeland, its Constitution, and the shipping lanes of commodities necessary for but limited to those definitions.
Assuming a 25% reduction in GHG emissions as a result of the thrift-promoting effects of a $400/tonne of CO2e tax, I estimate carbon tax revenues of $1.7 trillion (T). Current tax revenues from unearned income are estimated to add about $1.3T, and restoring the pre-2018 tax rate of corporate income (35%)—and zeroing out all corporate tax preferences—is estimated to raise $800B (again applying a 25% reduction from the impact of the carbon consumption tax). The 40% reduction in defense frees up about $250B. One other tax policy flows from Shue’s principles of equity and contemporary proposals in the Democratic Party of the U.S. (Eckert 2019; Cassidy 2019). That is the imposition of a “wealth tax” to disestablish the power of concentrated and inherited wealth that increasingly has brought about anti-democratic and material-expansionist feedback onto politicians and regulators. This model includes a 4% annual tax on wealth over $10M which generates the potential for $775B in increased tax revenue.
Other potential sources of tax revenue not modeled by my exercise include a cap on the preferential treatment of unearned income (dividends and capital gains). Another is to continue taxing the top-most wage earners to capture exorbitant corporate executive pay and the expected transfer of some current stock-based corporate compensation of officers toward salary and wages to take advantage of the phase-out of taxes on earned income. Further budgetary relief results from an even more significant cut in defense—not modeled in this exercise but socially and morally warranted. Finally, the issue of transforming corporate tax preferences for resource depletion into a direct tax on resource depletion changes the realization of revenues from allowing deductions for depletion to taxing it, promoting conservation (a good), fulfilling a condition of the political theology of trusteeship presented in chapter 3—specifically the management of ecological capital for sustainability.
Remembering that this exercise cuts all taxation on earned income on employment, the above exploration (not yet counting the budget cut in defense) generates about $4.5T in revenue to which is added $250B freed from the defense budget. Progressivity is accomplished in the following ways:
1. Unearned income continues to be taxed with the sources of that tax concentrated among wealthier taxpayers.
2. Corporate taxation is increased by restoring its pre-2018 higher rate and the reduction of its preferences.
3. Moderate and middle-upper income wage and salary earners have their taxes on earned income zeroed out.
4. To address the effects of this significant carbon tax on the unemployed and people of low income who would not receive the benefit of the zero-out of earned income taxation, a rebate of their carbon tax payments should be effected through the U.S. Treasury. Because world per capita carbon allowance (derived from McKibben ) is about 3 tonnes, a family of four should be rebated for an allowance of 12-15T of its carbon tax payments that apply to its subsistence needs-- commuting, food, and certain utilities--all of which would go up significantly in price under a $400/tonne CO2e tax regime. I model a $6000 rebate to an estimated 40M non-federally taxed U.S. families, at a budget cost of about $250B.
5. Current spending by the U.S. Federal government was $4.1T in 2018. Adding up all these budgetary items allows for a budget surplus of $700B. If this surplus was split evenly between funds for international climate debt and domestic infrastructural investment for mitigation of carbon emissions and adaptation to oncoming climate change, I calculate each budget stream of this surplus could finance close to $4T over 10 years (@ 3% discount rate) in both domestic buildouts and compensation to fund international climate adaptation projects. Based on the U.S. current 15% contribution to GHG emissions, its $3.8T contribution to international efforts would imply a $28T scale of obligation for international investment over ten years applied to global adaptation to and mitigation of climate disruption. The scale of financing needs for global adaptation to global heating and climate disruption has been estimated at $60T over the next decade (Farand 2019b, see also below). Economic returns from this financing are expected to be positive (upwards of $23T [Roberts 2018]) and could be applied to funding the implied adaptation liability depending on how projects are structured.
The UNFCCC Kyoto Protocol negotiated in 1997 that went into effect in 2005 introduced market-based mechanisms as a way for signatory nations to fulfill their GHG-emission reduction commitments. One market-based mechanism that developed from this Protocol was the instrument of “carbon offsets.” Emitters of CO2 purchase a share in a carbon-emitting technological or sequestration project as an investment to “offset” or zero-out their emissions. Projects to reduce, mitigate, or sequester CO2 emissions have a per-tonne cost of investment. The theory behind offsets is that an activity that emits a tonne of CO2 can be offset by investing in a tonne of carbon abatement from an abatement project. Neoclassical economics supports the theory of offsetting CO2 emissions at the lowest marginal cost of abatement—that is, the cost of abating a tonne of CO2 emissions at the project—rather than social--level. For this reason, an offset almost always has a far lower cost per tonne of CO2 abatement than the average social cost of a tonne of CO2 emissions.
There are at least six problems with carbon offsets as currently structured:
1 1) Offset vendors have an incentive to underprice offsets to compete for purchases. They capitalize on their certification of offset projects taking as much as 20% for administration. Not only do some undercount the Global Warming Potential of aviation by focusing only on its CO2 emissions (and not on other of aviation’s effects on radiative forcing), they may promote projects with the lowest per tonne of CO2 abating cost—which may be significantly below $10/tonne.
2) Offset projects may not be subject to adequate oversight by the vendors to fulfill their advertised impact.
3) Some countries in the global south have moved to restructure sectors of their economy—for example, forests—to generate international investment from offsets. Indigenous peoples have noted that this has promoted their removal from ancestral lands to serve international capital flows and commitments.
4) There is a time-lag in many if not most offset projects, so that a one-to-one offset purchase for CO2 emissions neglects to zero-out emissions except over a long time frame. As offsets are privately most often used to putatively zero-out emissions from aviation, a unit of CO2 emissions from the flight are an immediate imposition of radiative forcing on the environment, while a carbon-abating project takes time to offset this unit of emissions.
5 5) Neoclassical economics has proven itself ineffectual in solving the problems of global heating and climate disruption. Marginal cost abatement of CO2 emissions has not demonstrated a meaningful impact over the first 14 years of offsetting since the institution of the Kyoto Protocol.
6) A tonne of CO2 emissions imposes a social cost onto the global environment of $100-$420/tonne. Neoclassical economics proposes that offsetting a tonne of CO2 at a project’s marginal cost is most efficient (subject to discounting to account for time lags in 4), above). That argument is quantified by +x – x = 0: the imposition of a tonne of CO2 is offset by its mitigation elsewhere, with a net zero effect on the atmosphere. However, this equation—which one advocate of offsets claimed was “scientific”-- ignores the irreversibility of contingencies set into effect by the emissions of CO2. Offsetting a consumer action with CO2 emissions one-to-one does not and cannot restore the status quo ante. Mathematically, this can be represented by the equation: +xt=1 – xt=n ≠ 0 where x = emissions, t = time, and n > 1. It follows that the most environmentally sensitive action is to forgo the consumption activity (so that 0=0) rather than to assert one’s responsibility under the Kyoto Protocol is satisfied by simple equivalence of carbon offsetting.
The commercializing of carbon offsets promoted by the Kyoto Protocol includes the following ethical dimensions:
a. Allows the rich to pay a relative pittance to continue high-emissions lifestyle.
b. Highlights issues of pricing: underpricing marginal costs of abatement stalls meaningful action.
c. Indigenous people’s concerns per 3), above.
d. Problematic incentives of offset vendors and foreign governments seeking cashflow.
e. The necessity for a criterion of “additionality”--that any offset investment be directed to a project that would not otherwise happen but for the offset market. In other words, a credible carbon offset is not marketed as “additional” when it would have otherwise been undertaken as a matter of normal business or government policy.
For these reasons, Carbon Offsets are not a morally warranted substitute for a carbon tax to reduce consumption of GHG-emitting goods and services. I presented these findings to a public forum sponsored by Marin Interfaith Climate Action on April 23, 2019, where I concluded, “Carbon offsets are an unproven, unregulated, and mostly negligible tool to apply to Climate Disruption, Injustice, and Global Warming. They are not scientifically, ethically, or economically warranted as a substitute for carbon taxation. More effective and more just: far better to make lifestyle changes and institute thrift that reduce personal and social emissions to move toward Carbon Neutrality.”
The prior recommendation of a Just Transition Carbon Tax demonstrates its progressive application to funding adaptation and mitigation of the effects of global climate disruption. In this, such a tax could generate funds to satisfy U.S. climate debt for overconsumption of fossil fuels and culpability since the mid-1980s for failing to limit emissions even though their global heating effects and risks were well-appreciated by policymakers and administrators. A carbon tax promotes thrift and technological innovation by its substantial price signal. A macroeconomic benefit includes the Carbon Tax’s rationalization of social costs from economies exceeding their optimum ecological scale:
Suppose for a moment that GDP growth, economic growth as we gratuitously call it, entails uneconomic growth by a more comprehensive measure of costs and benefits – that GDP growth has now begun to increase counted plus uncounted costs by more than counted plus uncounted benefits, making us inclusively and collectively poorer, not richer. A positive interest rate restricts the volume of investment but allocates capital to the most productive projects. A negative interest rate increases volume, but allows investment in practically anything, increasing the probability that growth will be uneconomic.
Why would we allow growth to carry the macroeconomy beyond the optimal scale? Because growth in GDP is considered the summum bonum and it is heresy not to advocate increasing it. If increasing GDP makes us worse off we will not admit it, but will adapt to the experience of increased scarcity by pushing GDP growth further. Non-growth is viewed as ‘stagnation’, not as a sensible steady-state adaptation to objective limits.
The economy can expand forever, either into the void or into a near infinite environment. It does not grow into a finite ecosphere, and therefore has no optimal scale relative to any constraining and sustaining environment. Its aggregate growth incurs no opportunity cost and can never be uneconomic. Unfortunately, this tacit assumption of the growth model is seriously wrong.
This is an upsetting prospect for growth economists – growth is required for full employment, but growth now makes us poorer. Without growth we would have to cure poverty by redistributing wealth and stabilizing population, two political anathemas, and could only finance investment by reducing present consumption, a third anathema. There remains the microeconomic policy of reallocating the same GDP to a more efficient mix of products by internalizing external costs (getting prices right [through taxes]) (Daly 2014, 221-3).
“De-growth,” steady-state economists recognize that the material growth economy has overflowed its ecological optimum and has instead brought about accelerating environmental degradation (Daly 1999; 2013). De-growth economics proposes to limit material resource throughput in the economic production process, to disestablish Gross Domestic Product as a measure of social utility or well-being, and to apply income from flows of material resources to the capitalization of investment in renewable substitutes (Daly 1991). In the case of the latter, the primary objective is to take a predominant portion of the income stream from non-renewable fossil fuel stocks and invest it in renewable energy—transitional infrastructure and technological innovation and efficiency. This objective would fix the scale of the material economy and allow for the development of efficiencies and economic integration and development of human capital within ecological limits.
It is eas[y] to pretend that there is no conflict between growth and care of
creation—that unlimited “economic” growth can support an ever-growing
… population of people and their products, as long as prices are correct. The idea of a steady-state, sustainable, [material] economy goes out the window, and the idolatry of growthism is reaffirmed as the “win-win” option that it might have been in the empty world of the past, but cannot be in the full world of the present (Daly forthcoming, 92).
Pope Francis in his encyclical Laudato Si’ (2015, paragraph 194) characterizes the objective of rejecting the idolatry of material growth economics:
For new models of progress to arise, there is a need to change models
of global development; this will entail a responsible reflection on the
meaning of the economy and its goals with an eye to correcting its
malfunctions and misapplications. It is not enough to balance, in the
medium term, the protection of nature with financial gain, or the preservation of the environment with progress. Halfway measures simply delay the inevitable disaster. Put simply, it is a matter of redefining our notion of progress.
Measures of social welfare and development distinct from (national or per capita) GDP have been explored along various lines. One promising approach has been developed by international economist Amartya Sen and classicist Martha Nussbaum (Nussbaum 2008; Cf. Olds 1997). Applying an Aristotelian evaluation of categories (“capabilities”) of human flourishing--and quantifying how a political-economic system actualizes them (“functionings”)--Sen and Nussbaum’s approach provides measurable—though non-financial--indicators of human development. Functionings may be measured across time and compared with a standard derived from an ideal or international norm. In either case, this approach prioritizes material growth for deprived societies and material “de-growth” for societies that have surpassed aggregate full functionings—yet which, in the case of the U.S., are continuing material expansion and depletion of the carbon sink capacity of the atmosphere. This overflow of the sink capacity of the atmosphere for GHG emissions causes additional deprivation in groups and societies with insufficient levels of functionings for a decent life. The traditional measure of aggregate welfare, GDP, does not allow for this fine-grained analysis of differential human development (or deprivation).
The domestic imposition of a Just Transition Carbon Tax, in part to de-scale and “de-grow” the material, high-combustion political economies of developed nations, must provide for procedures to eliminate “cheating and gaming.” That is, a transnational corporation that nationalizes profits is to be regulated from gaining a competitive advantage by locating production overseas, undercutting the social priorities of and ecological benefits from a significant domestic carbon tax. The usual solution to this competitive gaming by corporations is the imposition of “carbon tariffs” to counter relocation’s undercutting of domestic environmental and labor protections. Tariffs could equalize the tax costs of complying with international and domestic law so that goods and services produced in low-regulation, low-cost tax regimes do not promote worsening ecological (or labor) conditions. Chapter 1 of this dissertation discussed the feasibility of tariffs in general terms, but they may, in this case, be contextualized by the proposed multi-lateral instrument of “Green Drawing Rights.”
Green Drawing Rights (GDRs) “allocate the costs of rapid reductions (as well as costs for adaptation) in a way that protects a ‘right to development’ by linking obligations to ability to pay and responsibility (for prior emission of greenhouse pollution)” (Baer 2010, 216). GDRs are proposed as an instrument for international agreements regarding economic “carbon budgets.” They are macroeconomic policy instruments intended to allocate to each nation a defined permit to contribute to GHG emissions subject to a negotiated global cap and allows for redress of prior and specific national underdevelopment and deprivation. If the global cap is set low enough, GDRs may serve to limit the scale of the material and combustion economy for long-term sustainability (fulfilling a condition of atmospheric trusteeship detailed in chapter 4 of this dissertation). Moreover, if GDRs are allocated according to principles of international equity, they can prioritize developmental goals in deprived societies, “catching them up” relative to societies liable historically for climate debt.
GDRs framework has two fundamental elements: the allocation of obligations in proportion to capacity (income) and responsibility (historical pollution) and the calculation of those indicators (capacity and responsibility) in a way that takes into account the distribution of income within countries and is relative to a development threshold defined for individuals, not countries (Ibid., 222).
Determining the proper scale of the allocation of these instruments is crucial to recover an appropriate scale relationship between material economies and the ecological systems in which they are embedded—and to allow for reparative justice and the satisfaction of historical climate debt. GDRs may be usefully integrated with domestic carbon taxes: GDRs may set the material limits of combustion to optimize them ecologically (i.e., according to the capacity of the atmospheric carbon cycle), while the taxation of GHG emissions inside this optimum allows for innovation, efficiency, thrift, and revenue to fund general purposes and climate adaptation.
As introduced in chapter 1 of this dissertation, the concept of climate debt is applied to the historical responsibility of industrialized nations for their disproportionate portion of GHG emissions that cause climate disruption and global heating—and their additive liability to non-industrialized nations deriving from the latter's vulnerability to climate disruption. “Simply, it is wrong to harm others by abusing the [ecological] commons, and if one does, one owes compensation” (Baer 2006). Climate debt involves the net liability for climate disruption owed by the Global North to the Global South and also liability for domestic adaptation costs from wealthy elites in the South to their poorer compatriots (Ibid.).
International negotiations solicit commitments (routinely unmet) by industrialized nations to mitigate emissions and fund and finance adaptation to climate disruption. The United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiated at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 prioritized the stabilization of GHG “concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system” (Jamieson 2005). However, by 2002 the UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP 8 in New Delhi) entered into “an era in which the world has given up on significantly mitigating climate change, instead embracing a de facto policy of ‘adaptation only’” (Ibid.).
Creating funds for adaptation and technological innovations in mitigation, sequestration, and abatement, as well as reparations, requires both the quantification of international financial needs and obligations arising from climate debt. Financing needs absent reparations are estimated to range from $20T (derived from World Resources Institute 2015) to $40T (derived from Farand 2019b) by 2050. Regarding abatement costs, Hansen (2018, 52) reports recent research: “[The] Cost of carbon capture, not including the cost of transportation and storage of the CO2, is $113-232 per ton of CO2. Thus the cost of extracting 1 ppm of CO2 from the atmosphere is $878-1803 billion.” Considering 2018 saw an atmospheric concentration of CO2 estimated at 415 ppm [parts per million] (Le Quéré et al. 2018, 2143), reducing concentrations back to 350ppm would, at its midpoint, cost $60T or more at present levels—in 2019, about 20% of all current global wealth (Shorrocks et al. 2018). At its upper range, the current liability for similarly addressing CO2 in the atmosphere is about $110T, or 35% of total global wealth. Failing to immediately and drastically reduce GHG emissions commits climate debtors to continued growth in abatement costs, while the cost of global adaptation to global heating and climate disruption adds another $16T to this current tab.
Financing $150T over the next 30 years at 3% requires $3.2T yearly. Assuming the U.S. is responsible for 15% of current global emissions and that defines its responsibility to the yearly financing, that suggests its $450B annual commitment to global climate financing, a magnitude within the range of calculated in the Just Transition Carbon Tax modeling, above. Because these figures imply the historical accounting of climate debt, funds on this order of magnitude should be made available as reparative grants and international aid.
As the prior discussion suggests, the scale of climate debt and liability for reparative justice is enormous. So too are the financial debts of the 2/3 World. Might there be some rapprochement where one partially satisfies the other? Looking to the Debt Codes in the Bible may offer moral guidance regarding a grand reckoning of debts and the potential to plan for a Jubilee—a grand sabbath—for the atmosphere to replenish its life-giving properties and recover its cycles and stabilizing balances. Calling for a “fossil fuel” sabbath in 7 years, followed by a grand reckoning of debt forgiveness in the next Jubilee year of 2049-50, may offer a way to break the impasse in international negotiations regarding climate debt and responsibility for satisfying reparative justice among nations.
Lev 25. 10 And you shall hallow the fiftieth year and you shall proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you: you shall return, every one of you, to your property and every one of you to your family. 11 That fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you: you shall not sow, or reap the aftergrowth, or harvest the unpruned vines. 12 For it is a jubilee; it shall be holy to you: you shall eat only what the field itself produces.
Leviticus 25.12 notes the scale of economics within a debt-freed landholder’s jubilee. Householding--not accumulation of commodities for trade, not capitalism--defines the grand sabbath of land “rest.” The need for the atmosphere to experience a homologous (theologically and cross-categorically similar) sabbath rest from GHG emissions provides the framework for a 30-year goal for climate negotiations. Not only must GHG emissions be zeroed out by the Jubilee year, but economics must be restructured to provide households with sufficiency—to discontinue the neoclassical and neoliberal “economistic” fallacy that defines and applies labor as the means of capitalist production rather than its ends. Once this fallacy is overturned, incentives can be re-considered on a human- and non-accumulative scale to serve the needs of the deprived for the appropriate scaling of human use of the atmospheric system and its sinks of GHGs.
Applying the Biblical Debt Code to frame international climate negotiations necessitates the next 30 years involve radical financial debt reduction (abatement, mitigation, and adaptation), technology grants from developed nations, and interest-free loans and direct foreign aid to nations made vulnerable to climate disruption by excessive combustion and GHG emissions of industrialized nations. In addition, national economies must restructure incentives to flow to innovations that solve or abate the climate crisis and away from speculative finance and capitalization of expanding material production. This economic restructuring in the run-up to the Jubilee would allow for and guarantee access of all households to primary functionings (Nussbaum 2008) which include political rights and sufficient provisioning of material needs.
Deut 15.1 Every seventh year you shall grant a remission of debts. 2 And this is the manner of the remission: every creditor shall remit the claim that is held against a neighbor, not exacting it of a neighbor who is a member of the community, because the LORD’s remission has been proclaimed… 4 There will, however, be no one in need among you, because the LORD is sure to bless you in the land that the LORD your God is giving you as a possession to occupy, 5 if only you will obey the LORD your God by diligently observing this entire commandment that I command you today… 10 Give liberally and be ungrudging when you do so, for on this account the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake.
Torah’s injunctions (esp. Lev 25 and Deut 15) to cancel debts transforms conventional transactions and economic assumptions. The injunction has practical value: "There will be no one in need among you" (v. 4). A second value of this injunction for the sabbath of land is the receipt of YHWH’s blessing so that it restores to the ecological system YHWH's overflowing abundance. Applications of the Biblical Debt Code can reconstruct material provisioning on a householding scale—with the result of sufficiency and ecological sustainability for so long as God intends human existence. Adopting the injunction toward land sabbath and Jubilee for the structuring of debt—both financial and climate—may, subject to further work, bring justice and healing to peoples and the productive system in question—the atmosphere as natural capital and source of the Spirit’s revelation and God’s blessing.
There is no future in which Christians avoid the battle lines of climate-driven social and ecological change, either as survivors or as agents of transformation
This dissertation has explored the religious praxis of framing worldview change to bring about climate activism at the individual and socio-political levels. In the case of the Biblical injunctions toward debt jubilee and ecological sabbath just presented, it may be asked how recalcitrant international negotiations can be redirected toward responsiveness to these injunctions along with accountability to justice. In other words, how might the Level 3 institutional church promote a worldview that is conscientious regarding atmospheric ecology and activate its members and the broader political society toward accountability to the vulnerable, future generations, and other species? Is civil disobedience a necessary spur for negotiating Jubilee and atmospheric sabbath?
Relatedly, it is necessary to investigate whether global political elites and corporate fossil-fuel industrialists are amenable to the claims of justice and addressing climate debt. Is there a basis for their recognition of accountability to justice that can align with more grass-roots, congregational activism? Alternatively, do these elites and corporatists demand principles of and accountability to justice for others that they themselves do not enact? If the latter case holds, then climate activism from the grassroots necessitates civil disobedience to compel these elites to share power and resources to address climate debt and mitigate global heating.
The church’s awakening from its own moral inertia in the case of climate disruption could activate and counter moral torpor in the Level 4 state and aggregated corporate actors. How may the praxis of decarbonization ecclesiology stimulate this awakening and activation?
First, the church committed to climate activism must guide its members to the atmospheric virtues. Individual praxis must align with public proclamation. The church must have an integrity of operational praxis in order to proclaim moral reform in society. This dissertation has proposed as a first step the audit and mitigation of a church’s carbon emissions from operations to create an ecclesial culture of awareness, thrift, and self-restraint.
Second, proclamation and preaching of the political theology of atmospheric trusteeship ought to frame the church’s social messaging regarding individual and aggregate accountability to justice--political as well as individual virtue. Differing faiths will have differing world pictures of what justice looks like and entails, but there is enough overlap that a broad religious and humanist movement on these principles can build coalitions once a particular institution has authenticated its voice and messages within the integrity of praxis.
Third, social activation among different worldview holding groups may come together to agree on process and values. A useful template is found in SNEEJ (1996). One strategy for ecumenical activism would be to articulate a shared vision of what accountability to climate justice entails both individually and politically. What follows that challenging exercise is to agree on tactics for policy activism.
A second tactic could involve legal challenges to corporate malfeasance in the fossil fuel industry. Additionally, legal challenges to convictions for civil disobedience enacted against the fossil fuel infrastructure is ripe for expansion and activism (e.g., Bradford 2019).
arches, grassroots organizing, and protests. Occupy Wall Street in 2011, Black Lives Matter beginning in 2014, and the Women’s March of January 2017 all seemed to fail strategically. Is the “Climate Strike” of September 2019 destined for the same result?
These methods [may be] more habit than solution. Protest is too ﬂeeting. It ignores the structural nature of problems in a modern world. “The folk-political injunction is to reduce complexity down to a human scale promot[ing] authenticity-mongering, reasoning through individual stories, and a general inability to think systemically about change… If we look at the protests today as an exercise in public awareness, they appear to have had mixed success at best. Their messages are mangled by an unsympathetic media smitten by images of property destruction—assuming that the media even acknowledges a form of contention that has become increasingly repetitive and boring” (Heller 2017, 70-2).
Implications of Heller’s critique include social rejection of property destruction as a tactic of civil disobedience as well as climate activists’ routine, anecdotal, and simplistic analysis of cause and effect. To these he adds the deconstruction of centralized planning and common values:
[Recent p]rotesters have tried to move past the groaning actions of the past by coördinating instantly across distance and embracing leaderless or “horizontal” movements….A nagging question is how to get the people going when there’s no Gandhi to lead the charge… Authority, in the new tactical model, arose from the number of people who showed up. It swept away the need for common principles or precisely coördinated strategies; the choices behind public protest could be personal and private. As Srnicek and Williams observe, “Folk politics prefers that actions be taken by participants themselves—in its emphasis on direct action, for example— and sees decision-making as something to be carried out by each individual rather than by any representative.”…To the extent that such projects made political arguments, they were expressed through what is often called “preﬁgurative” politics: you behave according to the rules of the society you hope to create…Movements…lost their leaders, gained [subjective] force, and oﬀered personal autonomy. (Ibid., 72-5).
These leadership- and values-deconstructed movements of the new millennium harmonize with the ideology of self-direction and subjective self-authentication reported in chapter 2 of this dissertation. In contrast with the successes and tactical agility of the anti-Vietnam war protests and the American Civil Rights movements of the 1960s, “shifts in tactics are harder to arrange. Digital-age movements tend to be organizationally toothless, good at barking at power but bad at forcing ultimatums or chewing through complex negotiations… [R]ecent studies make it clear that protest results don’t follow the laws of life: eighty per cent isn’t just showing up. Instead, logistics reign and then constrain. Outcomes rely on how you coördinate your eﬀorts, and on the skill with which you use existing inﬂuence as help” (Heller 2017, 75-7).
This chapter presentation of Level 3 praxis was directed mostly to microeconomic, profit-seeking firms and projects. However, church praxis may be directed to stimulate Level 4 social activism and Level 5 reflection and reconstruction. From the preceding critique of and proposals for modern civic protest, it follows that the Level 3 institutional church can step into the subjective void and become an organizing force for social mission on the issue of Climate Disruption and Injustice. However, it cannot become parochial: it needs pragmatically to build organization and alliances, to explore and learn from the history of tactical success of protests, and to involve the non-church community in its efforts. By this, the ecclesiological praxis of Level 3 activism is humble yet firm, open to considering where worldviews are in agreement, and cognizant of the operational need to embody the Christian ontology of non-violence, including non-destruction of property. Taking on a leadership role in combating climate disruption and injustice, the Church can initiate interfaith organizing for strategic movements of civil resistance and disobedience, while promoting the civic virtue of hospitality by deferring leadership as the organization takes hold. It need only to insist on non-violence, not on any doctrinal litmus test on ecology or climate. Drawing on the example of Jesus’s civil disobedience of overturning the tables of money-changers in the Temple (Matthew 21:12-13, Mark 11:15-18), disruption of income-producing property (as in the Valve Turners, see Bradford ) may be tactically allowable in contrast with property destruction. Through resistance, the church can build coalitions demonstrate to our grandchildren that we were not complicit with nepocide that destroyed their rights to flourishing. Through resistance, we can demonstrate to others our rejection of structural evil and our culpability of silence.
Daniel Berrigan (quoted in Hedges 2019) wrote:
The law, as presently revered and taught and enforced, is becoming an enticement to lawlessness. Lawyers and laws and courts and penal systems are nearly immobile before a shaken society, which is making civil disobedience a civil (I dare say a religious) duty. The law is aligning itself more and more with forms of power whose existence is placed more and more in question. … So, if they would obey the law, [people] are being forced, in the present crucial instance, either to disobey God or to disobey the law of humanity.
Property holders who have abandoned the demands of justice over their own behavior demonstrate that they cannot be reasoned with. They have abandoned deliberative praxis and acceptance of communal values. When groups and individuals holding established social power demand accountability of others but cease themselves being receptive to those same strictures of justice and demands for accountability, civil protest and disobedience are measures of ultimate resort.
In addition to supporting legal action for the defense of activists of civil disobedience, another potential priority is lobbying local and national governments for the declaration of climate emergency. This initiative would give priority of political agendas and deliberation in governing councils to the consideration of policies to address climate disruption. A declaration of climate emergency as Level 3 directed activism toward Level 4 governance would elevate the politics and solutions to climate disruption to the appropriate urgency the crisis warrants. Accomplished locally, civic protest can undergird the momentum toward a political acceptance of emergency and urgency embedded in the issue of climate disruption.
Combating climate despair is a priority for pastoral ministry. Despair often may lead to personal apathy and moral inertia, though some reports claim that it introduces spiritual renewal and promotes commitment to action. My experience of congregants reporting despair is ambivalent regarding despair’s benefits and activism. Some congregants, reporting despair, have requested chaplaincy care and rituals of “hospice” for the earth and atmosphere.
To the end of addressing climate despair, rituals of lament and catharsis can serve to foreground activation. These rituals could provide congregational authentication to individual feelings of powerlessness and despair at the seeming intractable an inexorable degradation of atmospheric ecology. Ritualization in a church setting links the personal with the divine, as the habitus of lament and petition is linked with the participatory endorsement of the faithful and worshipping community. Incorporating lament into liturgies of confession and community prayer allows the despairing to feel heard—in community, and by proxy of the community’s aggregate weight of faithful concern, by God. In addition to feeling heard, the ritualization of lament connects contemporary ultimate concerns with dark periods in history experienced by the people of God. The Book of Lamentations is an extended treatise of communal lament and catharsis that models the people of God’s historical despairing. From that scripture and elsewhere, a praxis of ritual lament can develop resources for counteracting the isolation of grief, build communal support and appreciation, and ultimately breakthrough, after catharsis, in renewed faith and activated resilience.
In the ritualization of lament and catharsis, an appropriate frame is the (repeated) question, “Where is God in this crisis?” or even, simply, “Where is God?” Always a useful question for designers of liturgy, it is especially indicated for the despairing and the isolated. A ritual exercise of lament is offered in the appendix as well as lament addressed in one of my sermons undertaken as part of this dissertation project. Some additional scriptural considerations regarding God’s Biblical involvement with climate concludes this chapter.
Jamail (2019) proposes a vision of the Earth nearing its culmination manifested by the “end of ice.” He reports firsthand how ice, frost, and cold are disappearing as a result of runaway global heating from a combustion economy.
The Anthropocene era’s defining positive feedback loops are disrupting the frost cycle. These feedbacks manifest the confluence of Anthropocene decadence: economic idolatry; global heating; evasion of responsibility not just to the Creator but even to basic contingencies and adaptation to environmental limits; and the seeking of personal agency that evades every moral scheme of accountability. The anthropogenic disruption of the cryosphere seems the keystone indicator of culpable society’s direct challenge to the prerogatives of God—to direct it to ecological trusteeship and soothe swelter and heat primarily afflicting God’s favored, the agricultural workers addressed by many of Jesus’ parables.
The Book of Job locates with God the power and prerogative to give ice:
Job 37:10 By the breath of God ice is given,
and the broad waters are frozen fast.
Job 38:29 From whose womb did the ice come forth,
and who has given birth to the hoarfrost of heaven? (Implied: NO ONE BUT GOD)
Also: Psalm 147:17 He hurls down hail like crumbs—
who can stand before his cold?
Cold is likened to faith for the servant of Israel's God:
Proverbs 25:13 Like the cold of snow in the time of harvest
are faithful messengers to those who send them;
they refresh the spirit of their masters.
Cold immobilizes agricultural pests, and heat invigorates them:
Nahum 3:17 Your guards are like grasshoppers,
your scribes like swarms of locusts
settling on the fences
on a cold day—
when the sun rises, they fly away;
no one knows where they have gone.
And heat comes after human treachery to wither foes away:
Job 6: 14 Those who withhold kindness from a friend
forsake the fear of the Almighty.
15 My companions are treacherous like a torrent-bed,
like freshets that pass away,
16 that run dark with ice,
turbid with melting snow.
17 In time of heat they disappear;
when it is hot, they vanish from their place.
Heat--and the lack of cold, frost, and ice--is also associated with God's future day of judgment:
Zechariah 14 See, a day is coming for the LORD, when the plunder taken from you will be divided in your midst. 2 For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses looted and the women raped; half the city shall go into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city. 3 Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle. 4 On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives, which lies before Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley; so that one half of the Mount shall withdraw northward, and the other half southward. 5 And you shall flee by the valley of the LORD’s mountain, for the valley between the mountains shall reach to Azal; and you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of King Uzziah of Judah. Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.
6 On that day there shall not be either cold or frost. 7 And there shall be continuous day (it is known to the LORD), not day and not night, for at evening time there shall be light.
Global heating confronts economic elites with their idolatries and their disruption of God’s soothing coolness. How will the Church go forward to discern each cool breeze it infrequently encounters? Is humanity’s remaining destiny to experience virtue refined in a feverish planet’s crucible of fire? Whether our idea of an immanent Christ embodied in the Church can halt the calamity of disrupting the cryosphere I am not hopeful. Whether the transcendent Christ has determined to bring human history to its long-promised end in fire rather than ice seems to be the ultimate teleological and ecological question of our contemporary age of combustion-fueled haste and injustice. An appropriate resolution to the ritualization of lament explored above is to address God’s judgment and power over human destiny in a way that recognizes individual grief while celebrating the dawn of God’s new age. For those who lack the anticipatory confidence of faith, despair from the current crisis of Climate Disruption and Injustice is rational. For those of faith who wonder at God’s seeming absence from the current crisis, we may alternatively continue in confidence that even if human extinction plays out, that will not be humanity’s or God’s final word. Our actions during collapse will partly determine our individual destiny inside God’s eternal being. Even if it becomes apparent that all is lost, God-pleasing faith actualizes in continued good works, virtue, and confidence in God’s loving power.
Baer, Paul. “Adaptation: Who Pays Whom?” In Fairness in Adaptation to Climate Change, edited by W. Adger, J. Paavola, S. Huq, and M. Mace, 131–153. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2006.
———. “Greenhouse Development Rights: A Framework for Climate Protection That Is ‘More Fair’ than Equal Per Capita Emissions Rights.” In Climate Ethics: Essential Readings, edited by Stephen M. Gardiner, Caney, Simon, Jamieson, Dale, and Shue, Henry. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.
Bradford, Nicole. “WA STATE SUPREME COURT REFUSES TO REVIEW APPEALS COURT REVERSAL OF ‘VALVE TURNER’ KEN WARD’S CONVICTION.” Press Release 09.05.2019. ShutItDown Climate Direct Action. Last modified 2019. Accessed September 27, 2019. http://www.shutitdown.today/press_release_09_05_2019_-_wa_state_supreme_court_refuses_to_review_appeals_court_reversal_of_valve_turner_ken_ward_s_conviction.
Caney, Simon. “Cosmopolitan Justice, Responsibility, and Global Climate Change.” Leiden Journal of International Law (2005): 747–775.
Cassidy, John. “The Growing Debate Over Elizabeth Warren’s Wealth Tax,” September 12, 2019. Accessed September 24, 2019. https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/the-growing-debate-over-elizabeth-warrens-wealth-tax.
Daly, Herman. “A Further Critique of Growth Economics.” Ecological Economics 88 (April 2013): 20–24.
———. “Ethics in Relation to Economics, Ecology, and Eschatology.” In The Oxford Handbook of Professional Economic Ethics, edited by George DeMartino and Deirdre McCloskey. Oxford University Press, 2016.
Daly, Herman E. Steady-State Economics. 2nd ed., with New essays. Washington, D.C: Island Press, 1991.
———. “Uneconomic Growth in Theory and Fact.” Feasta Review 1 (1999): 1–15.
Daly, Herman E. “Laudato Si’ and Population.” In Laudato Si and the Environment: Pope Francis’ Green Encyclical, Ed. by Robert McKim., 76–94. New York: Routledge, forthcoming.
Daly, Herman E. “Laudato Si’ and Population.” In Laudato Si and the Environment: Pope Francis’ Green Encyclical, Ed. by Robert McKim., 76–94. New York: Routledge, forthcoming.
Dougherty-Choux, Lisa. “The Costs of Climate Adaptation, Explained in 4 Infographics.” World Resources Institute. Last modified April 23, 2015. Accessed September 15, 2019. https://www.wri.org/blog/2015/04/costs-climate-adaptation-explained-4-infographics.
Eckert, Toby. “Sanders Targets Highest-Income Americans with ‘extreme Wealth Tax’ and ‘National Wealth Registry.’” POLITICO. Accessed September 24, 2019. https://politi.co/2lmqNv0.
Farand, Chloe. “Preparations for the Climate Crisis Will Save Trillions, Commission Finds.” Climate Home News. 2019a. Accessed September 23, 2019. https://www.climatechangenews.com/2019/09/10/preparations-climate-crisis-will-save-trillions-commission-finds/.
Farand, Chloe. “Only One-Fifth of Climate Finance Going to Adaptation, Finds OECD.” Climate Home News. 2019b. Accessed September 16, 2019. https://www.climatechangenews.com/2019/09/13/one-fifth-climate-finance-going-adaptation-finds-oecd/.
Hansen, James. “Climate Change in a Nutshell: The Gathering Storm,” 2018. Accessed September 16, 2019. http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2018/20181206_Nutshell.pdf.
Harvey, Chelsea. “CO2 Emissions Reached an All-Time High in 2018.” Scientific American. Last modified December 6, 2018. Accessed September 4, 2019. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/co2-emissions-reached-an-all-time-high-in-2018/.
———. “The Top 7 Climate Findings of 2017.” Scientific American. Accessed July 31, 2018. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-top-7-climate-findings-of-2017/.
Hawken, Paul, ed. Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming. New York, New York: Penguin Books, 2017.
Heller, Nathan. “Out of Action: Do Protests Work?” THE NEW YORKER (August 21, 2017): 70–77.
Hsu, Shi-Ling. “The Case for a Carbon Tax: Getting Past Our Hang-Ups to Effective Climate Policy,” 2011. Accessed May 1, 2019. http://myweb.fsu.edu/shsu/HSU_carbon_tax_precis4.pdf.
Jamail, Dahr. The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption. New York: The New Press, 2019.
Jamieson, Dale. “Adaptation, Mitigation, and Justice.” In Perspectives on Climate Change, edited by Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and Richard Howarth, 221–253. Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2005.
McKibben, Bill. “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math.” Rolling Stone, July 19, 2012. Accessed September 4, 2018. https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/global-warmings-terrifying-new-math-188550/.
Rolander, Niclas, Jesper Starn, and Elisabeth Behrmann. “The Dirt on Clean Electric Cars.” Bloomberg.Com October 15, 2018, 2018. Accessed September 27, 2019. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-10-16/the-dirt-on-clean-electric-cars.
Nussbaum, Martha Craven. Women and Human Development: The Capabilities Approach. The John Robert Seeley Lectures 3. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2008.
Olds, Douglas. “Adding Duty to Opportunity in the ‘Capabilities’ Approach: A Proposal for Sustainable Human Development.” Journal of Public and International Affairs, 8: 91-107. (1997).
Ortiz, Diego Arguedas. “Ten Simple Ways to Act on Climate Change.” Last modified 2018. Accessed September 4, 2019. http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20181102-what-can-i-do-about-climate-change.
Ricke, Katharine, Laurent Drouet, Ken Caldeira, and Massimo Tavoni. “Country-Level Social Cost of Carbon.” Nature Climate Change 8, no. 10 (October 2018): 895–900.
Roberts, David. “We Could Shift to Sustainability and Save $26 Trillion. Why Aren’t We Doing It?” Vox. Last modified September 5, 2018. Accessed October 2, 2019. https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2018/9/5/17816808/sustainability-26-trillion-global-commission-economy-climate.
Rowling, Megan. “Failure to Adapt to Climate Impacts Will Hike Inequality, Commission Warns.” Thomson Reuters Foundation News. Last modified September 10, 2019. Accessed September 12, 2019. http://news.trust.org/item/20190909233700-oqus6/.
Sauer, Natalie. “UN Agency Calls for Global Green New Deal to Overhaul Financial System.” Climate Home News. Last modified September 25, 2019. Accessed September 27, 2019. https://www.climatechangenews.com/2019/09/25/un-agency-calls-global-green-new-deal-overhaul-trade-system/.
Shankman, Sabrina. “What Is Nitrous Oxide and Why Is It a Climate Threat?” InsideClimate News. Last modified September 11, 2019. Accessed September 11, 2019. https://insideclimatenews.org/news/11092019/nitrous-oxide-climate-pollutant-explainer-greenhouse-gas-agriculture-livestock.
Shorrocks, Anthony, James Davies, and Rodrigo Lluberas. “Global Wealth Report.” Credit Suisse. Last modified 2018. Accessed September 27, 2019. https://www.credit-suisse.com/about-us/en/reports-research/global-wealth-report.html.
Shue, Henry. “Global Environment and International Inequality.” International Affairs, no. 75 (3) (1999): 397–413.
[SNEEJ] Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic Justice. “Jemez Principles for Democratic Organizing,” 1996. Accessed September 1, 2019. http://www.ejnet.org/ej/jemez.pdf.
Than, Ker. “Estimated Social Cost of Climate Change Not Accurate, Stanford Scientists Say.” Stanford News. Last modified January 12, 2015. Accessed March 10, 2019. https://news.stanford.edu/2015/01/12/emissions-social-costs-011215/.
US EPA, OAR. “The Social Cost of Carbon.” Reports and Assessments. N.d. Accessed October 2, 2019. https://19january2017snapshot.epa.gov/climatechange/social-cost-carbon_.html.
Williams, Dr James H, Benjamin Haley, Dr Fredrich Kahrl, Jack Moore, Dr Andrew D Jones, Dr Haewon McJeon, Dr Sam Borgeson, et al. “Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States” (2014): 118. Accessed September 12, 2019. https://biotech.law.lsu.edu/blog/US-Deep-Decarbonization-Report.pdf
Williams, James. “Climate Change: What Do We Know? What Can We Do?” presented at the Marin Interfaith Climate Action, June 26, 2018.
———. “Findings of the U.S. Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) Team” presented at the U.S. Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) Talk, May 11, 2016. Accessed October 5, 2018. https://www.evolved.energy/single-post/2016/05/11/Jim-Williams-Pathways-to-Deep-Decarbonization-in-the-United-States.
 Adoption of vehicles with alternative sources of power (hydrogen, electricity [EVs], hybrid) in lieu of fossil fuel gasoline is absent from this list. This absence is due to ongoing, credible questions regarding technological substitution, including 1) the putative unquantified GHG emissions from intensive mining for metals that go into the manufacture and replacement of batteries; 2) the carbon footprints of the infrastructure buildout of EV charging stations and liquid hydrogen fueling depots; and 3) the impact on GHG emissions by delaying vehicle substitution for the advent of fleets of self-driving, communally-shared vehicles powered by alternative fuels (Cf. Rolander, et al. 2018). Because of time and space limitations, this dissertation defers to other researchers for defining vehicle policy and individual guidance.
 Marin Clean Energy’s “Deep Green” program offers 100% renewably sourced residential electricity to that county’s customers of Pacific Gas and Electric. The cost is minimal, abating CO2 emissions at around $25-30/tonne.
 The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) proposes that “global trade, be it under the form of regional or bilateral agreements, should not have the authority to shape questions such as the cross-border flow of capital, debt or equity. Instead, the international community should privilege capital controls and put an international system into place to oversee capital flow between countries,” including developing ones (Sauer 2019). See also chapter 1 of this dissertation for a discussion of the effect of climate disruption on international trade regimes and their conventions.
 Cap and trade also allows for corporate “gaming,” for example by managing production levels inside regulatory units with higher caps and trading allowances. As these are tightened, production involving combustion can be opportunistically relocated.
“But the most relevant choice is between cap-and-trade and a carbon tax. Cap-and-trade is an instrument whereby an overall limit, or ‘cap,’ is set on total national emissions, and emitters can trade amongst themselves in mostly unregulated market transactions to allocate those emissions. Although cap-and-trade and carbon taxes both encourage innovation to reduce emissions, the two are not equal in their ability to induce innovation. There are at least three ways in which a carbon tax will better encourage innovation than a cap-and-trade program. First, a carbon tax introduces a steadier price signal than cap-and-trade. Cap-and-trade sets the quantity of emissions, but lets the price fluctuate according to market demand. Investors interested in lower-carbon or non-carbon alternatives would rather not have price
volatility. Second, if a cap-and-trade program is successful in encouraging innovation in greenhouse gas-reducing technologies, the ironic effect is that this innovation will reduce the price of emissions permits and thereby reduce the price incentive to innovate. A carbon tax, by contrast, represents a continuing price signal to find lower-carbon alternatives. Finally, if a cap-and-trade program gives away emissions permits instead of auctioning them – which history suggests politicians would much prefer – then emitters with these free permits will have less incentive to innovate because innovation would reduce the value of those emission permits. The free allocation of allowances creates an asset in the hands of emitters, something that does not happen under a tax regime” (Hsu 2011).
 “One reason that addressing climate change is so difficult is because the world has trillions of dollars' worth of coal-fired power plants that cannot be simply unplugged overnight and replaced with other energy sources...the accumulation of excess capital [was based on the idea that] cheap electricity is an unambiguously good thing…But cheap electricity requires expensive capital, and so government …has thus always … heavily subsidized [combustion through] numerous tax benefits”(Ibid.).
“China and India are likely to be more open, however, to a global carbon tax [than a limited, though tradeable cap]. For one thing, [their] governments [could] keep the proceeds from a carbon tax, so that it does not smack of an externally imposed mandate that intrudes onto sovereignty. Also, a global carbon tax, insofar as it really looks more like international treaties that have been successfully negotiated in the past – in which signatories all agree to do the same thing – is a policy that is more likely than Kyoto to gain the kind of international agreement that will be needed to actually solve the climate policy problem” (Ibid.)
 Shue’s (1999) second ethical principle for equity and progressivity: “Among a number of parties, all of whom are bound to contribute in some common endeavor, the parties who have the most resources normally should contribute most to the endeavor.”
 Shue’s (1999) first principle of equity: “When a party has in the past taken an unfair advantage of others by imposing costs upon them without their consent, those who have been unilaterally put at a disadvantage are entitled to demand that in the future the offending party shoulder burdens that are unequal at least to the extent of the unfair advantage previously taken, in order to restore equality.”
His third principle for equity in climate relations: “When some people have less than enough for a decent life, other people have far more than enough, and the total resources available are so great that everyone could have at least enough without some people from still retaining considerable more than others have, it is unfair not to guarantee everyone at least an adequate minimum.”
 “Value-added” is the amount by which the value of a good or service is augmented during its production, exclusive of initial costs. In the case of this discussion, I am referring to the “value-added” by labor, proposing to replace taxation on labor’s remuneration (wages and salaries) by the proposals that follow in the text.
“It makes much more sense for taxes to be proportional to resource use than to income. A resource tax falls on all citizens in proportion to their resource consumption, how much of a burden they impose on the biosphere, and not according to how much value they add to the resources necessarily extracted. Also, resource taxes are harder to evade than income taxes because, unlike resource depletion, income is not an easily measured physical quantity, but an abstract concept subject to manipulation by lawyers and accountants. As to the reasonable objection that a resource tax is regressive with respect to income, that can easily be remedied by some combination of the following: (1) retaining an income tax on higher incomes, (2) spending the tax revenue progressively, including by abolishing existing regressive income taxes such as the payroll tax, (3) instituting a significant and progressive inheritance tax...In fact, any internalization of environmental and social costs would also raise prices and thereby create a trade disadvantage relative to countries that did not internalize those costs….So why not shift the tax base from value added (earned income) and on to that to which value is added (natural resource throughput)? This would help us to count all costs and minimize depletion and pollution. It would stop penalizing the desired creation of value added by taxing it. It would reduce unemployment. It would use the revenue from natural resource taxes to substitute that from the eliminated value-added taxes. The first value-added taxes to be eliminated would be the most regressive ones, thereby serving both efficiency and equity. Value added is a good, so we should stop taxing it. Depletion and pollution are bads, so we should tax them” (Daly 2014, 228-9 emph. added).
 The social costs of methane and nitrous oxide are far higher than CO2 (US EPA, n.d.).
 Seawalls and coastal hardening, residential relocation, agricultural assistance, urban reforestation, and technological Carbon Capture and Storage are some of the projected and costly adaptions to climate disruption. In addition, ecologically-sensitive adaptation measures to sea level rise include restoring coarse beaches to reduce wave energy, conserving wetlands to act as buffers, and preparing marshes to transition into “migration spaces.”
 The present value (@3%) of the $40T cost of adaptation by 2050 from the figures presented by Farand (2019a).