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Daily News and Prayer is inspired by The Christian Science Monitor, one of the most important (and most underappreciated) newspapers in the world. Posts are usually (but not always) responses to articles in the Monitor about events and trends that call for prayer.

The blog's aim is to help strengthen humanity's collective confidence that we can triumph over even the most deeply entrenched evils, in ourselves and in the world.

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Friday
Jul102015

Is a climate agreement possible?

From November 30 to December 11 this year, negotiators from scores of nations will meet in Paris to try to finalize an agreement to limit emissions of greenhouse gases that most scientists and governments agree are causing a rise in the earth’s temperature and changes in climate.

But near-unanimous agreement on the cause of climate change does not mean there is consensus on how humanity should respond. Many developing countries see the more prosperous nations as having built their wealth on restriction-free production and pollution, and they want the same freedom for themselves as they struggle to catch up. They also want financial help to cover the cost of converting to more modern, less polluting technology and adapting to a changing climate. They did not cause the problem, they say, and they should not have to pay to adapt to it or correct it.

Developed nations, for their part, see a growing portion of the pollution in the world now coming from the developing world, and no matter what happened in the past, they insist there is no hope of slowing climate change unless everyone plays by the same rules. As for giving financial help, there’s virtually no chance of that without agreement on emissions cuts.

On its own island, in a way, has been the United States, with some powerful business and political interests insisting that, even if climate change is happening, emissions aren’t causing it, and controlling them will just limit economic growth and throw people out of work.

Some of these rigid positions are starting to break down. The United States, led by the Obama Administration and some forward-looking businesses and politicians, is quietly making moves to limit greenhouse gases through both federal and state regulations. China, the world’s biggest polluter (the US is second) has agreed to cap its emissions growth by 2030, and experts are now saying it may happen even sooner.

Some developed and developing countries are also quietly working together in other venues than the main climate talks to do something about climate change. Last year at the UN Climate Summit in New York, the environment ministers of Sweden and Bangladesh joined together to author an article on the importance of one approach to emissions control.

But despite the good signs, there is still serious disagreement on the fairest way to deal with climate change. With less than five months to go to Paris, there’s not a lot of time to bridge the differences (although negotiators are trying). So maybe you and I can do something.

Here’s what I propose: To see unity in Paris, let’s see if we can find some of it ourselves. Where is unity needed in our lives? If even a handful of us can break through the mesmerism of selfish interests and come to agreement somewhere important to us, the unity of seemingly intransigent parties on the global level will be that much more feasible because we have demonstrated that it is possible.

But there is a catch: This has to be done through prayer, because defeating mental forces of disharmony through divine power is what will make the difference. Here’s a Bible verse to get started, whether thinking about our own situation or the Paris talks: “God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”

For my part, I’m going to focus on a disagreement I’m having with a commercial establishment in another country. It’s tempting to label them intransigent, clueless about customer relations and other qualities that are often placed on this nationality. But I’m not going to do it. I’m going to pray with confidence and not let resentment or other emotions color my thinking about them or the situation (or myself).

I’d love to have your comments below as to what your plan is to bring out spiritual unity in your life -- for the sake of the Paris talks, and for your own sake, too!

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