by Cat Boyle

Cat Boyle is one of nine UU representatives, and one of two UUYACJ members, going to Marrakech, Morocco as an observer of the UN climate change summit COP22. World leaders are convening Nov 7-18 to discuss the implementation of the Paris agreement, which aims to keep global climate change below an average of 1.5 degrees Celcius. Read another of Cat’s reflections here. More info can be found here.

One of the persistent forces against resolute and absolute action against climate change in the United States come from the barrage of disinformation. These forces have prevented the United States from adopting meaningful greenhouse gas emissions reduction legislation for almost 20 years. Donald A. Brown, Scholar in Residence and Professor at the Widener University of Law and member of the Unitarian Church of Harrisburg, presented an analysis of the dispensers and methods of disinformation at COP22 in Marrakesh, Morocco today.


Photo courtesy of Cat Boyle

His presentation covered the maleficence of public policy thinktanks such as the Heartland Institute, corporations such as ExxonMobile as well as the media’s role in creating this disaster by promoting “fair” “skeptics” to counter against scientists. Another method is cuber-bullying and silencing of climate scientists from climate change deniers. It is no longer a question of if climate change is human made. The clear yes to that question and our responsibility has been known for over forty years. There has been a failure to act promoted and maintained by politicians in this country funded by these groups who have stated the science is not yet resolute and that if we were to act as country, it would be economically devastating to this country.

When asked what Unitarian Universalists can do stand up to climate change deniers, Brown suggested we hold the press accountable by promoting an agenda of asking ethical questions to politicians who are opponents of climate change. Some questions he suggests are:

  1. You argue that climate change policies should not be adopted because there will be adverse economic impacts on US jobs or the economy, given that greenhouse gas emissions from the US are threatening others outside of the US do you deny that the US has duties, responsibilities, and obligations to others to stop emissions potentially harmful to others?
  2. Do you deny that those nations who are mostly responsible for global climate change emissions have stronger duties to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions than those nations who are emitting greenhouse gases at a lower level?
  3. Do you deny that those who are most vulnerable to climate change’s harshest potential impacts have a right to participate in a decision about whether to act to reduce the threat of climate change in the face of scientific uncertainty given that waiting to act is likely to make the problem more dangerous?
  4. Because climate change is a global problem, does any one nation have the right by itself to refuse to reduce the climate change threat based upon scientific uncertainty without giving those most vulnerable to climate change impacts the right to consent to be put at risk?

Brown’s full presentation and more can be found at his website,
As Unitarian Universalists, we recognize that we are a part of a great biosphere, an interdependent web of life which depends upon us to care and protect this world. Ban-ki Moon once said, “There is no Plan B because there is no Planet B.” We must hold our leaders responsible for the one planet we all share.
Our Blue Boat Home depends on us.