Today the 18th international climate negotiation conference (COP18) starts in Doha, Qatar. I don’t know how they chose host country for the conference, but since Qatar is rich on oil, owns the “best airline in the world” and has turned into one of the richest country in the world per capita, it wouldn’t have been my primary choice. To end the enormous problem with climate change, we need to dramatically decrease oil use, flying and wealth.
Scripture tells us that the love for money is the root of all evil (1 Tim 6:10), which is evident when it comes to the horrors of climate change. Of course, developing countries have a right to develop and fight poverty, I am defenitely not against that. But I’m against that rich countries, corporations and individuals keep getting richer although they know that this will result in coming catastrophies.
The climate problem has been publically known for 20 years, but global greenhouse gas emissions are still increasing. Recently the World Bank published a shocking report which said that even if all countries implement what they have promised to do, we still risk a rise of global temperature with four degrees, resulting in humanitarian disasters affecting millions. The aspirations of especially rich countries are simply far too weak. We really need to pray for miracles in Doha.
But we also need to have a simple lifestyle ourselves. While it is important that people living in poverty get richer to achieve a better quality of life, it is equally important that rich people get poorer so that they stop consume unnecessary products. This is what the Bible talks about:
“Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.” (Prov 30:8)
“Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.” (Lk 3:11)
In contrast to this biblical vision of economic equality, some debaters and politicians argue that we can and should combine sustainability and economic growth, so that the richer may get richer with a good conscience. This is of course false; an infinitely growing economy cannot exist within a finite ecosystem, if everyone lived like the avarage European, we would need three globes (five if everyone were living like Americans).
Let’s go back to the biblical vision. Let’s fight climate change through fighting wealth.