During the last two weeks the UK has seen the world’s elite leaders fly in and out of Scotland.
They have been congregating in Glasgow as the UK has been hosting the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26).
Royalty, presidents, former presidents, prime ministers, ministers, senators and the great and the good from industry and business have all descended on Scotland to give their opinion and ensure their agenda is met in tackling climate change.
The BBC reported on Monday that “There are more delegates at COP26 associated with the fossil fuel industry than from any single country.
They found that 503 people with links to fossil fuel interests had been accredited for the climate summit.
These delegates are said to lobby for oil and gas industries.” (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-59199484)
UK Climate Change Conference 2021.
It seems remarkable that a conference organised by the UN, to tackle climate change and the associated problems, has so many delegates from companies who naturally want to lobby for continuing to use fossil fuels. This single story highlights the wider issue associated with all of these efforts.
Yet as the fossil fuel giants are criticized for lobbing for their agenda, so each country lobbies for its own!
The delegation from the UK finds it almost impossible to look beyond the national interests of the UK. As does the delegation from Brazil for Brazil’s interests, or the US, or Russia, or India – or any of the 200 countries attending the summit.
Naturally the wealthy nations seem to set the agenda and the poorer nations suffer the consequences. Thousands of delegates from developing countries are at the summit, many arguing for compensation from richer nations who got rich on the earth’s resources that they are now seeking to save!
Fossil fuel industry has the largest delegation at the climate summit.
The rich nations agreed in the Paris Climate Conference of 2015 that they should pay poorer nations for the damage they had inflicted on the world. Six years on, the money never came.
What are we to make of all this? Do we agree with Obama who flew in this week to add his opinion challenging the world’s young people to ‘stay angry’ on their fight for the climate?
Do we look to ‘spiritual’ leaders for the answers? The Pope has called for the world to pray – he said, when commenting on the climate conference: “Let us pray so that the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor will be heard and that this meeting may give effective answers offering concrete hope to future generations.”
For Christadelphians and any serious Bible students, the Bible provides the answers to all of these challenges.
The Bible makes clear that it is better for everyone to trust in the Lord God, rather than put confidence in man. The Psalmist writes: “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.” (Psalm 118:8-9)
Should we protest about climate change?
For Bible believers the UN’s latest climate conference may provide interesting viewing, but it has nothing to do with our hope. We don’t hope that Barak Obama will have the solution for the world’s young people, or that Boris Johnson is going to convince everyone to cycle to work, or that China will suddenly agree to stop burning fossil fuels. We don’t get caught up in the protesting to change the world – not because we don’t care, but because it’s so obvious that man is too selfish to deliver the solutions and because God has already set in place the answer!
Jeremiah the prophet, over 2500 years ago wrote:
“Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land. “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:5-8)
The language captures the climate crisis. The man that trusts in man – he will be like the dying shrubs in the desert – parched by the boiling sun. What a problem that is in today’s world. The front page headline of the BBC website on Tuesday this week was: “One billion face life-threatening heat under 2C rise – study”.
This is the problem many at COP26 are trying to address. Yet, Jeremiah goes onto say that the man who trusts in the Lord – he has no problems with the climate crisis for he is like a tree planted by a river of water, never concerned by the year of drought.
Who can solve the threat of climate change?
The point is not that Bible believers don’t suffer all the effects of climate change, like everyone else in the world. Of course they do. The point is that for the man, whose trust is in the Lord, he will ultimately be able to live in a world that has been transformed and free from all the effects of the current crisis the world finds itself in.
What the Bible offers is a genuine and a real hope. It makes clear that men and women will never provide the answers to the problems the world will suffer. It describes a world that will ‘groan in travail’. A world that is broken because of the problem of sin and its consequences.
What will God do to solve the climate crisis and all the other problems the world is suffering from? Send his son back to the world to be a leader, a righteous ruler, a just judge and an honest king. A man free from the problem of sin, because 2000 years ago he defeated the problem of sin in laying down his life.
Jesus will change the climate and in so doing will meet the needs of the poor and needy. He will offer hope for this hopeless world and change it to become world full of people who reflect the character of God himself. A character of goodness, mercy and truth.
So, young people – don’t rise up and be angry – don’t waste your time in protest. Open your Bible and find the real solution to the problem of climate change. Begin by reading two Old Testament scriptures, Psalm 72 and Isaiah 35. Go and read them! There is the hope of the Bible.
If you want to live in a just world under a leader who will only make right decisions, in a climate that is perfect for the planet – forget COP26 (or COP27 if we get there) get your mind into the Bible to read of the God who made the world and look to Him and his son the Lord Jesus Christ for the solutions in fixing it.
(This week's Bible in the News is brought to us by Pete Owen.)