10 December 1998

The Right Reverend Jim Thompson, Bishop of Bath and Wells

As we’ve just heard American Vice President Gore’s visit to the conference on global warming at Kyoto seems to have had little effect. Europe has been asking for 15% reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases. He offered more ‘flexible’ negotiation. John Prescott says this is the crossroads. "It’s time for the political science to take over from the real science and for the horse trading to begin". One of the speakers said his island home would disappear under a deluge of Biblical proportions if nothing was done. Meanwhile the political bargaining goes on - the talk about quota buying and selling and planting new forests, timing and enforcement.

I wondered what the conversation would be like if God was at the conference table.

At first He’s silent - seeing if they’ll take His warnings, but then someone mentions compromise and God asks "Compromise with whom?".

"A compromise with other nations" they reply.

"So", said God "its not a deal with future generations or with me!"

"No comment"

God continued: "You know, it was very difficult to create the Big Bang. All the potential for life on earth had to be programmed into the biggest explosion ever." God is getting enthusiastic. "One of my problems was how to get the sun and the earth in exactly the right relationship. The sun could have become a Super Nova and made the earth into toast, or barren like Mars. It was such a delicate balance to give you the light, heat and power, and yet at the same time preserve the earth from danger and give a chance for rational life to thrive in this beautiful paradise of a planet."

As the prophet Isiah put it "God stretched out the skies like a curtain, spread them out like a tent to dwell in" Now we’ve even managed to make holes in the tent itself.

But the resistance went on: "The trouble with you, God, is you’re not accountable to anyone. If you were, you’d know what the electorate want. There are sound reasons for not doing any more. There’s our industry, our multi-national corporations, our life style - it would be political suicide. The people want to have total freedom to use their cars, they like life as it is."

"But" said God "I thought it was the task of politicians to lead, to explain the reality and persuade the people to support the policy which will preserve the earth and life on it for generations."

"Now, God, that’s a bit extreme. No wonder you didn’t even get a seat at the conference!"

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