Hat tip to Kendall Harmon who spotted this interesting and revealing lecture by the Rt. Rev. James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool, who recently distinguished himself by being the ony bishop in the Church of England's General Synod not to vote in favor of the proposed Anglican Covenant. (He abstained.)
I was recently in America. It’s a country I love but it was depressing. All the energy for legislating on climate change has drained away. Those once leading the debate are now silent, the deniers have turned up the volume. The Administration has stalled on this vital subject. The President said in his State of the Union speech “the nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy”. If that’s true (and I believe it is) then America has already begun to cede its premier place in the world economy.
The Chinese are already talking about the economic downturn as “the North Atlantic Crisis”. And according to the Pew Centre Research “China is emerging as the world’s cleanest energy powerhouse”. It has already become the world’s leading investor in renewables aiming for 15% of its energy to be generated through renewables by 2020. It has designated 5 provinces and 8 cities as China’s Low Carbon Pilots, representing 350 million people, 27% of the population and one third of the economy. The centre of gravity is shifting from West to East not just for the World Economy but for the Green Economy.
Future historians will ponder long and hard on why the North Atlantic nations fell so easily on their swords and pressed the self-destruct button.
As a lover of history I often wonder what future generations will make of our own era. I imagine that they will look with amazement at how we could have called ourselves with such ease “the consumer society”. Did we not understand the meaning of the word: “to eat, to devour, to destroy”? They will ask, “Did they not have the science?” “Did they not know that the earth was not a limitless larder?” With cruel irony we comfortably call ourselves “consumers”. Well, that’s the truth of it! We’re living in an era of global self-harm.
In the past several years, Bishop Jones has done an excellent job of making this issue his own. He offers a text book example of how religious figures can make themselves credible advocates in the secular arena.