Get Off the Global Warming Bandwagon

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In my humble opinion, our leaders should end their crusade to prod our denomination onto the Global Warming Bandwagon. Some of us will not board peacefully or quietly to participate in the politicization of Christ’s church.

Swedish climatologist Hans Jelbring speaks for objective scientists when he exclaims, “The dysfunctional nature of the climate sciences is nothing short of a scandal.” Nobel Prize-winning physicist Robert Laughlin agrees: “Please remain calm: The Earth will heal itself. Climate is beyond our power to control. . . . ”

How then do we account for alarmist hysteria?

Climate alarmism is a profitable business. Tabloid scientists cash in on research grants; skeptics need not apply. The media fully understand that sensationalism sells. Activist organizations require a crisis to keep donations flowing. Climate tycoons like Maurice Strong and Al Gore are positioned to amass staggering fortunes through consolidation of the energy industry.

Alarmist scientists make no pretense of objectivity. Their operating philosophy is termed “post-normal science.” According to proponent Eva Kunseler, “scientific goals are controlled by political or societal actors.” Influential global-warming alarmist Mike Hulme admits, “‘self-evidently’ dangerous climate change will not emerge from a normal process of truth-seeking. . . . Scientists—and politicians—must trade truth for influence.” In other words, “science” has become a perverted technical means to a political end.

The problem for Christians is far more serious. Climate alarmism is pursued with religious fervor. The late scientist and popular author Michael Crichton observed that environmentalism has become “the religion of choice for urban atheists.” Likewise, atmospheric physicist John Reid warns, “Global warming is the central tenet of this new belief system in much the same way that the Resurrection is the central tenet of Christianity.”

This subject is powerfully explored in a new 12-part DVD series titled Resisting the Green Dragon. The project was headed by Presbyterian pastor and scholar Calvin E. Beisner. He enlists today’s top Christian-worldview thinkers to expose this eco-heresy. The series, along with its companion book by physicist James Wanliss, provides a mandatory curriculum for anyone seeking to effectively discern between authentic biblical stewardship and the green serpent. It is particularly critical for our church leaders, who have the responsibility to direct our denomination toward a position that is consistent with revealed truth in Scripture and our Reformed heritage.

See also: Why Christians Should Care About the Environment by Kathryn Guindon.

About the Author

Paul Rhoda is a support analyst and a member of Sunshine Community CRC in Grand Rapids, Mich.

See comments (50)

Comments

Since the editors don't seem inclined to provide the link to outside sources here (they do for the other article advocating global warming hysteria), I'll put it in the comments section:

http://www.resistingthegreendragon.com/

That's the web site for the DVD series Mr. Rhoda is referring to. It includes a video promo to be seen.

http://www.climate-skeptic.com/

That's a blog by Warren Meyer, a guy with a degree in aerospace engineering and whose work is in predicting and managing complex dynamic systems - like the climate.

http://www.drroyspencer.com/

Roy Spencer is a climatologist and former weather-guy for NASA and NOAA who did a fair bit of work with hurricanes.

PNR, thanks for posting the links. It was striking to me that the editors included links for the "Why Christians Should Care about the Environment" article, but not for this one. I hope that they add links to at least appear not to take sides.

Very nice article. My trouble with it is that it confuses two issues. One is the scientific arguments for and against climate change (as well as the near-religious nature of the debate which clouds reason). The second argument is whether or not it is appropriate for our denomination to get involved in it. I find the latter to be the more pressing debate since there are a whole host of very important issues in the world but that does not mean our denomination needs to take sides and get involved in them. They'd just get in over their heads.

We're very capable of engaging these things without church leaders trying to take charge.

I have seen parts of this video. It should be shown to everyone at Synod 2011.

The Global Warming hysteria is rallying all nations to a One World Global Governmental political/religious system through Sustainable Development Goals. The initiatives put forth by the United Nations are meant to control all nations, peoples, wealth, resources and land by restricting human rights and religious freedoms. National governments like Canada have been throwing money to non governmental organizations like the CRWRC, to help develop action plans that will override local policies and bring communities into compliance with the UN mandate.

The World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) which the CRC is a member of is pushing for socialism and the global control of all wealth, land and resources, big time. The Accra confession that many in the church have not heard of, but has been adopted by the WCRC, is coming to a church near you. The Accra confession will tell you what is politically and not biblically correct and I believe slowly indoctrinate the church to conform to social justice (socialism) and government control of all religious aspects of our lives. Global warming policies will only help to accelerate this movement.

We should all be concerned about the "environmental spirituality " our church leaders are taking us in.

James,

You said about global change, "The second argument is wether or not it is appropriate for our denomination to get involved in it."

My dear brother the CRC has already chosen sides. Go to our church website, "The Office of Social Justice" and you will see how immersed we are in the green agenda. The CRWRC has been working for years through government agencies for the millennium development goals of the UN. Leaders of our denominations have signed onto climate change documents. The World Communion of Reformed Churches is implementing the green gospel, in fact they go so far as to say their main mission is not the proclamation of Jesus Christ but rather social justice. Our denomination for years has been proclaiming the green gospel and it's getting worse. Anything about social justice in the church is tied into global warming.

My friend, people need to stop trying to rally the church around environmental issues and get back to the truth of proclaiming the pure gospel of Jesus Christ and salvation through Him alone.

truthmatters,

thanks for the note. If that is true it just renews my belief that the question of appropriateness is more important than getting buried in an argument about whether or not climate change is true.

The pressing question for the denomination is whether or not it should be our priority. There are many important issues that are not appropriate as a denominational focus. Christians can and should think and write on the issue, but our official denominational work should be more focused.

My perspective is that we should focus on the Gospel message. I'm very sad so much energy is diverted.

"Climate alarmism is a profitable business." I have a hard time taking this statement and the following paragraph seriously in light of the profits of the coal power plants and oil companies...and the scientists they payroll.

Human-induced climate change and increased climate variability ("Global Warming" is a misnomer) should not be a political issue at all -- it has been made so by the powerful lobbies of the oil companies and the legislators they payroll. I hope that regardless of political persuasion, Christians can study the science and examine the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence.

I am incredibly disappointed to see this printed in The Banner, and find it irresponsible to propagate such misinformation.

Ms. Katt-Reinders,
Climate alarmism *is* a profitable business, though you are correct in noting that it is not the *only* profitable business.

There is one slight difference, however. You're free to not buy coal if you wish. Global warming alarmists tend to get their money almost exclusively via the coercive power of the state to tax. Yes, I'm aware of the subsidies and tax benefits given to various energy producers. I disapprove of all such attempts to manipulate the market via the tax code. (Flat tax, and if 10% is good enough for God, it should be good enough for government.)

If we're going to go after misinformation, the spate of e-mails garnered from the East Anglia Climate Research Unit not long ago strongly suggests that there's a fair bit of propaganda coming from that end, too. Maybe if we had a little less politics and a little more actual science, we'd have a better idea of what's really going on but at the moment, so much of this is merely an excuse to take from one group to give to another (on all sides of the discussion) that one has a hard time discerning the truth, though personally, I'm betting on Mr. Rhoda's position.

Free to not buy coal??! I only wish I had more sway over my state's (and nation's) decision to run coal-fired power plants, let alone sell them in no-bid contracts to the Koch brothers and their cronies. As long as the power of the corporate interests over our politicians and Exxon-funded scientists remains, politics-free climate science will be stymied. I assert that any profit made by those who devote their careers to studying and communicating about climate change and its impacts pales in comparison to the profits of those who stand to benefit from the status quo (i.e. a society dependent upon fossil fuels which makes a small group of people disgustingly rich).

Follow the funding, people. We cannot let the church and it's leaders become pawns of corporate greed and power, pitted against each other over a perceived threat to our faith. Frankly, I fear the power and influence of the coal and oil companies much more than the "Green Dragon".

Ms. Katt-Reinders -

You are free not to buy coal - and not to buy electricity produced by coal, if you like. Such a principled stance entails some sacrifice, true, but since when have principles not required sacrifice? You might purchase a personal generator and only run it a few hours at night, for instance. That would use gasoline or diesel, but it would minimize the use of fossil fuels. I recommend a waste retrieval system, similar to some currently used in places like Nepal or Afghanistan that can provide cooking fuel from naturally produced methane, too. Easy? No. Efficient? Not at all. But you are free to do so.

I love it when leftists shill about "corporate interests", as if George Soros isn't a "corporate interest", or the investors in ethanol plants or windmills aren't "corporate interests". It's not "corporate interests" versus the noble individual, but corporate interests versus other corporate interests.

And what, pray tell, is "disgustingly rich"? You have access to a computer, electricity, health care, reading material, education, clothing, shelter, at least one vehicle (I presume a bicycle of some sort). Why are you not "disgustingly rich" but the Koch brothers or George Soros are? Why is it disgusting that God in his providence has given 5 talents to one servant and only 1 talent to another - to cite a biblical parable? Or don't you believe in divine providence?

Which brings us to the real motive behind the Climate Alarmists. It isn't really to take care of the climate. It is to centralize power in some human agency who will "justly" distribute wealth, power, and electricity because a sovereign God simply can't be trusted with these decisions. In a word, this is collectivism and collectivism, as Friedrich Hayek correctly noted in The Road to Serfdom, always ends in either totalitarianism or economic collapse or both.

As someone who most closely identifies with the libertarian viewpoint if forced to choose parties, I find these climate change arguments interesting. I do think there needs to be laws against pollution to protect our air and other communal property. Why should a corporation be able to negatively affect public property or even personal property? As for whether the church should be involved . . . I suspect because it's an easy way to appear relevant, and possibly to counteract the materialistic culture in which we find ourselves.

@PNR -

When someone hiding behind the security of anonymity begins to make presumptions about me, my lifestyle or my politics beyond this discussion at hand, that is when I bow out of "debate".

That and when someone tries to tie companies who make millions and use loopholes to avoid paying taxes to God's providence.

Human-caused global climate change has been a scientifically settled matter for some years now. Arguing against it makes as much sense as arguing against plate tectonics.
Time to move on to what the Christian response should be to this terrible injury to God's creation. Christians would do well to take the lead on this matter and not to cling to fringe elements who wish to delude themselves and others on such an important issue.

While "climate alarmism" may be a profitable business, there are existing profitable businesses also in play, such as the oil industry, right wing political groups active in climate science denial, and others.
"Resisting the Green Dragon" is a campaign funded by the Cornwall Alliance, whose ties to the oil industry and political groups sounds an alarm for me, as do, quite frankly, the climate "alarmists".

"The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it; "

It's not ours, it's His...treat it as such.

Ms. Katt-Reinders,

I am not hiding behind the security of anonymity. I do think it appropriate to distinguish my own personal beliefs from those I declare as a minister and I also think it appropriate to protect my congregation from any harrassment they might receive on account of my political views (see my blog for a fuller explanation if you wish: http://pnrmiscellany.blogspot.com/)

But it is not really a secret. How many former Navy chaplains currently serving CRC congregations in South Dakota are there?

Nor do I make any presumptions about you. I make some deductions from your writings - politics to the left of center, access to a computer (you post on this site), etc. I'm sorry that this offends you, to the point you cannot answer a few simple questions (Where is the line between poor, rich, and disgustingly rich? On what basis do you draw those lines? And where does divine providence figure in to this?), but not surprised.

Sorry, Mr. Bosch, but human-caused global warming/climate change has not been settled in the science, not by any stretch.

To be sure, it has been settled in certain highly politicized quarters of the scientific community, as the CRU/East Anglia e-mails made clear, but there is significant doubt as to whether global warming is occurring at all and, if it is, whether human activity is a cause, a primary cause, or not a noticable factor.

@ David,

The global warming hoax is one of the main driving factors behind socialism or rather social justice in the church. According to the Accra Confession that the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) adopted, I now live in the "evil empire" of the United States who is responsible for all woes of the world. If there is a famine, drought, or over abundance of rain, if there is poverty and lack of resources in other countries, it's the United State's fault. Never mind the fact that God says he is in charge of the weather and causes the rain to fall among the just and the unjust and that volcanos send megatons of toxic heat and pollutants into the environment. Never mind that God blesses nations that pattern their constitutions and laws according to the principles of the Bible. Never mind the fact that corrupt governments for centuries have squandered money and oppressed their own people. Never mind the fact that the Bible says the earth is wearing out like a garment and that famines, earthquakes and destructions have been prophesied.

Surely we can fix the weather if we force change and make people drive old rusty Volvos and change all our light bulbs over to the poison laden mercury filled CFl's, then the world will be Ok, right?

@truthmatters

The Accra Confession only mentions the United States government once; in regards to political, economic, and military alliances to advance their economic interests. You may disagree with that if you want, but those things have, do, and will happen, in my opinion.
Never does it call the U.S. an "evil empire", or blame all these catastrophes on the U.S. Never does it blame "all of the woes of the world" on the U.S. You have to be careful with such accusations, because truth does matter.
One can be against adopting this Confession; I have no problem with that. There does seem to be a political influence in it that goes against our capitalistic system; a system you believe is patterned on the principles of the Bible, I presume. It, our system, probably is "better" patterned than others but it is certainly not perfect.
However, in my opinion there are many articles within this confession that a Christian would be hard pressed to go against, or do you actually disagree with everything in it. Whether or not it should have been adopted is one thing, but your disparaging of it as you have is another, as it seems it is completely political, and your first sentence is so Becksian it made me laugh.

@JD,

The Accra Confession redefined the word empire to mean "a system of death," and by the WCRC's definition of what they believe social justice is. The United States falls under their category of: "a system of death" The WCRC has developed a global curriculum plan that unites the new global social justice ideology of the church with the political social justice ideology goals of the United Nations. This marriage between politics and religion will help unite the world under the banner of New World Order, One World Government.

The WCRC is politicizing the church under the flag of social justice. Global Warming is the fuel or catalyst that is giving the traction needed to rally the World under a one common cause and curriculum. This New World Order manifest itself in things like environmental issues, economy/wages, interfaithism, redistribution of wealth, etc.

I think its time for the WCRC to be exposed for what it is and for the people of the church to rise up against our membership in this political ideology. Its time for the CRC to withdraw from the WCRC!!!

@truthmatters

Sorry, I don't share your paranoia.

In 2007 “the leading international network of climate scientists has concluded for the first time that global warming is 'unequivocal' and that human activity is the main driver, very likely' causing most of the rise in temperatures since 1950”.
For every 2000 peer-reviewed scientific papers published supporting human-caused global climate change there is one paper published quibbling with some aspect of the overwhelming scientific consensus.
Human-caused global climate change is a settled matter and ad hominem attacks on those that point out that fact doesn't change reality.

Just so we remember who is controlling the weather.

"As the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word." 1 Kings 17:1

"Men, why are you doing this? We too are only men, human like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them...He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons: He provides you with plenty of food and fills your heart with joy." Acts 14:15-17

"He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." Matthew 5:45

The Lord Speaks to Job

"Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge?
Where were you when I laid the earths fountain? ... Who shut up the sea behind closed doors... when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, when I said, this far you may come and no farther...What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed, or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth? who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain, and a path for the thunderstorm, to water a land where no man lives, a desert with no one in it. to satisfy a desolate wasteland and make it sprout with grass? Does the rain have a father? Who fathers the drops of dew? From whose womb comes the ice? Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens when the waters become hard as stone, when the surface of the deep is frozen?... Do you know the laws of heaven? Can you set up God's dominion over the earth? Can you raise your voice to the clouds and cover yourself with a flood of water? Do you send the lightning bolts on their way? Do they report to you, hear we are?"

"The Lord said to Job: Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him?" Job 38

Mr. Bosch - I'm aware of the number of peer-reviewed articles claiming anthropogenic global warming. I'm also aware of the systematic exclusion from publication of contrary papers orchestrated by the Climate Research Unit of East Anglia University among others. I'm also aware that the models used tended to show global warming no matter what data was actually entered - also demonstrated by the leaked electronic documents from CRU.

I'm aware of scientific skeptics, some skeptical of global warming all together, some merely of whether or not human activity causes it - all of whom have difficulty getting published regardless of the strength of their data. So all your stats really tell me is that a priori belief in global warming is a requirement for publication. Given most of this is based on models, the "data" becomes highly fungible, susceptible to people with an existing faith who conveniently verify that faith through the models they devise.

Some questions - which the global warming crowd has never answered:
1. IF global warming is happening, why is this a bad thing? Why must we assume our present climate is ideal and any deviation must be bad?

2. If human kind were not causing climate change (assuming, for argument's sake, that they are), how would the climate be changing at present, and why? If you can't answer this, doesn't that mean you don't really know what causes climates to change and therefore don't know - and cannot know - whether current changes are caused by human activity?

3. How is it that the same things that were causing the supposed "ice age" threatening us in the '70s can be the exact same things threatening "global warming" now?

4. Why is it that the answer to any and every possible environmental problem is government regulations that effectively shut down advanced economies even though these tend to be the cleanest societies?

I got so upset when I read this article that I sent a letter to the editor questioning why they would print such a one sided and ill informed editorial.

This is one of the most right wing, politically motivated, anti-scientific, anti-intellectual, contrived opinion pieces I have read in a long time.

Take a trip to the North pole if you don't believe in climate change - the science is real, climate change is real, and the earth is changing due to human factors.

This is all true irregardless of the Scripture passages you choose to quote, the attacks on the character of some of the scientific members, the regional politics amongs the scientific community and the claims around motivation.

The pressing question is: How do we as Christians respond in a biblical way?

I believe Scripture is clear - we are called to be stewards of the earth and all that is in it. Right now, we are doing a pretty poor job.

It seems to me that the issue of global warming (or "climate change" if you prefer) can be broken down into four more meaningful questions as follows:

1. is the world getting warmer?
Yes it was for awhile, but there seems to be some questions about the data and recent trends.

2. if so, are we humans causing it?
Having read a lot about this, I would judge that we are causing 50% +/-40% of any effects seen; i.e. somewhere between 10 and 90%. That should satisfy almost everyone (and therefore no one), and probably fairly represents the truth.

3. are climate changes necessarily a bad thing?
Well, yes, doubtless for some people, but others will benefit. There seem to be arguments both ways.

4. is there anything we can do about it?
Given the difficulty in getting any global policy in place, one might be cynical, and given most peoples' unwillingness to make even simple lifestyles changes, one has to wonder.

Regardless of the eventual answers, I also believe that most of the practical suggestions that have been made for individuals and organizations to reduce their environmental impact are probably good things for Christians to do anyway: reduce, re-use, live within our means, be good stewards of what God has entrusted to us, buy a smaller house, take the bus or ride a bike, use electricity carefully, reduce our consumerism, and so on. Leave the science and political hype alone and focus on areas we can agree on!

I would like to thank JD below to raising the profile of the Accra Confession. This is a wonderful example of a clear and prophetic response to the way the world is currently being organized.
Our calling as Christians it to strive for justice and peace in all aspects of our lives, including our political lives.

As for the humble opinion expressed by Paul Rholda, I wonder if he is aware that the Cornwall Alliance which ultimately pays Calvin Beisner's salary receives an important part of it's funding from the Oil industry. Strange?

I checked out the Resisting the Green Dragon site website and their trailer on line, I encourage others to do that as well. They claim to have a biblical response to one of the greatest deceptions of the day. From what I have read and heard of the Cornwall alliance they seem to being their best to deceive many Christians, with some success.
I pray that the Spirit of God will work in the lives of those in the Cornwall Alliance so that they may see the truth as it was demonstrated in the life of Jesus Christ.

One wonders, Michael, do you also get upset at the left-wing, politically motivated, anti-intellectual, anti-science, anti-reason, contrived opinion pieces that also get published in the Banner from time to time?

Part of the problem is precisely the attempt to politicize the church by offering a "Christian" view on every political question that comes down the pike. While, lately, the opinions offered by the CRC leadership have been uniformly leftist and liberal it would be just as irksome and wrong if every opinion offered mirroed the talking points of conservative outfits.

It gets old. It's time to break off from this trend and stick to the church's central mission.

To PNR (and others): Before you claim that "the global warming crowd" has "never answered" your questions, please do a little real research. Your third question refers to the supposed "consensus" of climatologists in the 1970's that we were about to enter a new ice age. I recommend that you read "The Myth of the 1970's Global Cooling Consensus," by Peterson, Connoley, and Fleck, in The Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, September 2008, pp. 1325-1337. The authors show conclusively that there never was such a consensus among climate scientists, although there was a brief journalistic fad around that prediction. From the "infancy" of climate science, the warming prediction has been dominant; and it has only become more so since then. Could God be trying to tell us something through his book of nature?

David-
There's no consensus now, either. There is a contrived consensus - contrived by the deliberate exclusion of contrary evidence and dissenting views - but no genuine consensus. That it was also a contrived rather than genuine consensus in the 1970s doesn't surprise me.

It also doesn't answer the question which is: Why does the "cause" (and therefore the "solution" - but that's my 4th question) of climate change, regardless of the direction of that change, seems to always be the same?

Climate science is still in its infancy, and its predictive power seems - so far - noticably lacking. Making broad, culture-wide and devastating changes based upon such flimsy hypothetical models (which are highly suspect on ethical grounds as well as scientific/evidentiary grounds) and such slim evidence strikes me as extremely foolish.

PNR,

The cause cited by proponents of global cooling in the 70's was NOT the same as the cause cited by proponents of global warming. The former pointed to the release of industrial aerosols and other kinds of pollutants, while the latter pointed to the release of greenhouse gasses. As the data on greenhouse gas concentration became more precise (due to the measuring projects at Mauna Loa and in Antarctica) and as the long range temperature trends became clearer, the warming view prevailed. There was no "contrivance," only healthy debate that yielded -- yes, I'll say it -- a consensus.

It would be comforting to think that an entire field of science whose conclusions upset us is peopled by incompetents, fanatics, or greedy grant grabbers who can't be trusted. However, that requires a larger suspension of disbelief than I can manage. And I'm not ready to entrust the future of God's planet to a dissenting fringe within climate science.

Joseph Fourier in 1820 proved mathematically that without green house gases the earth’s surface would be too cold to for humans to inhabit, so to say climate science is in its infancy is a relative term.

Through the work of Milankovitch and others the short term and long term drivers of climate are well understood. These include solar radiation and greenhouse gasses such as Methane and CO2 as well as the tilt of the earth, the variations in its orbit etc. etc.

Most will agree that predicting with precision what the relative impact of each climate driver eludes us.

However, the majority of glaciers are receding, the arctic icecap is disappearing, many areas have seen greater than normal variability in their weather, many places have seen highest recorded temperatures. All this despite the fact that we are actively mitigating the impact greenhouse gases by throwing tonnes of particulate matter in the air.

I know it seems too simplistic but back in my grade 10 science class if the lab produced the predicted result, we considered it as good evidence that the theory proposed might be correct.

"Proved mathematically" is not a phrase that inspires confidence. Malthus also "proved mathematically" quite a few things that just ain't so, as have others before and since. Fourier mathematically demonstrated a hypothesis was plausible, which is different from "proved".

I have not seen much predictive in the climate drivers you mention - not in the 30 years or so I've been hearing of gloom, doom, and the imminent destruction of the planet. So far, I have seen a lot of reactive, ex post facto thinking.

Back in the '70s, we had a few cool years, so they predicted a global ice age and the cause of it was...human industrial activity in the (more-or-less) free-market West (they can't blame it on aerosols now because they successfully banned CFCs even though some later research - particularly after the eruption of Pinatubo in 1991 - indicated human CFC productin and use was not a significant factor).

We had some warm years after 1989, so the globe must be heating up and the cause of it is...human industrial activity in the (more-or-less) free-market West.

Temperatures, however, have been flat or declining since approx. 2000 - something *not* predicted by the models in use at that time. Indeed, there is some evidence certain elements within the climate research community went out of their way to mask that data. Then some files were leaked files from the CRU of East Anglia and when analyzed it seemed that those models were hard-wired to predict global warming no matter what data was entered. These models were highly influential throughout the climatology community.

There is little substantive evidence that either of these trends (cooling or warming) is more than normal, even cyclical, variation in the earth's climate and even less to justify the massive reductions in energy use, the expense and inefficiency of wind/solar power, or any of the other fads du jour that will supposedly "save the planet". There is even less substantive evidence that these trends are in any way a threat to the planet.

The solution proposed - essentially centralized government planning via regulation or outright control of industry, the curtailing of fossil fuels, and significant reductions in energy use - are all solutions that mitigate against human freedom and prosperity. Where they have taken hold, stewardship of the environment has deteriorated. But the whole thing strikes me as far more "politics" than "science".

http://www.drroyspencer.com/global-warming-101/

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070315101129.htm

http://climateaudit.org/

Just some of the sources behind my skepticism. I'm not a polished climate scientist, I'll grant you, but neither am I inattentive to evidence.

Finally some one has the fortitude to stand up to the Global Warming Tidale wave. The church should not support or condem a particular point of view on enviromental issues. It is divisive to the church. I agree that we have a responsibilty to care for the world that God gave us, but the science begin the global warming movement , in my opinion, still is not proven to any degree of certainty.

I don’t think that climate scientists are saying that the problem is all man-made. But they are asking us to consider whether anthropogenic (man-made) factors are a significant element in climate change patterns. The theory behind greenhouse gases is pretty well established, and the measurements of their increase in the atmosphere are quite definite. So although there are many factors that can influence the weather (short-term), if we find that the (long-term) climate patterns are heading in a direction that is consistent with the theory and the measurements, it would seem like something we ought to pay attention to.

I guess that for me, the big point made by climate change advocates is that population growth and industrial/technological development have created an unprecedented situation for our species: our actions can have significant unintended impacts on natural systems world-wide; these impacts are more likely to be negative than positive, both for our species and for other species and entire ecosystems; hence, there is urgent need for new thinking and far-sighted policies. The message of the skeptics seems to be, “Maybe not; so let’s keep partying.” That attitude strikes me as willfully irresponsible. The debate should not be over whether we should respond to this challenge, but over how. I think that the church has a legitimate role in calling us to environmental stewardship and in focusing our attention on specific issues that arise from that calling.

I'm pretty much with you, David, until you say "these impacts are more likely to be negative than positive".

Let's look at life expetancy and general health... much better in industrialized, free-market societies.

Let's look at core environmental care questions like, oh, acreage under forestation...stable or increasing in industrialized, free-market societies and declining in those that are not.

Species preservation? Gee. That seems to be faring better in industrialized, free-market societies, too.

Part of the reason for this is that industrialized, free-market societies make much more efficient use of resources - we can afford to leave more land fallow when we get such high yields from the lands we farm, for instance.

Part of the reason for this is that those efficiencies make us richer and that wealth means we can afford to take care of the environment - it costs money to clean things up.

And part of the reason for this is that free-market societies are premised on private ownership of property and wealthy people who own property have every incentive for taking care of it while poor people who don't own property have every incentive for not caring about it.

Where environmental regulation makes sense is when, apart from such regulation or law, the cost of pollution would be borne by others. For instance, a factory that dumps pollutants into a river because only people downstream will be bear the costs of the pollution should be made to bear the cost instead. This has less to do with global warming, however, than it does with respect for your neighbor's property.

@PNR. Sorry, I've been out of the loop for awhile but yes, I do get upset at the left-wing folks that lose sight of gathering evidence as well.

I am not a climate scientist either, but I am well read and have investigated many opinions, but on this one the evidence seems pretty clear.

A turning point for me was the book "Storms of My Grandchildren" by James Hansen. He was a director for NASA and lays out the evidence pretty clearly, as well as gives some historical perspective on the debates you describe. After reading that book, I felt that to NOT take climate change seriously, was to put my head in the sand. I am not an alarmist, but the evidence is pretty compelling and in light of God's call to take care of his creation, I do think we need to take it seriously (divisive or not).

@PNR "free-market societies make much more efficient use of resources"

I cannot reconcile that statement against the fact that the average North American consumes more fossil fuels in the first day of the year than the average Tanzanian uses all year? If we are so efficient why must we consume so much?

@PNR "part of the reason for this is that free-market societies are premised on private ownership of property and wealthy people who own property have every incentive for taking care of it while poor people who don't own property have every incentive for not caring about it"

So to follow this logic the solution is to restore ownership to the poor so they will be incentivized to care for their own wealth creating potential?

An interesting and timely read:

"The Science of Why We Don't Believe Science"

http://m.motherjones.com/politics/2011/03/denial-science-chris-mooney

Tim -
You make a mistake in thinking that the sheer volume of resources consumed is indicative of efficiency. Efficiency is a question of productivity relative to resource consumption. The resources we need to produce a bushel of wheat, for instance, are far, far less than what a Tanzanian uses to produce that same bushel. You need to look not just at how much the average North American consumes, but how much he produces, too.

So, US GDP is $14,120 billion (2009) and Tanzania GDP is $21.6 billion (2009). That translates to a per capita GDP of $45,990 in the US vs. $1,356 in Tanzania. Our use of resources, including time, labor, energy, raw materials, and so on (isolating one resource - oil or fossil fuels is also misplaced) is thus about 34 times more efficient than that of Tanzania.

Granted, one should be careful in putting too much stock in these numbers, but it does give a rough comparison in productivity and it is undeniable that the U.S. is significantly more efficient than Tanzania.

On your second point, I'm not sure we can "restore" ownership to the poor - many of the poor have never owned in the first place. But on a larger front, yes. The objective would be to encourage the kinds of economic and social behaviors that tend towards ownership of property by private individuals. It is useless to simply give it to them when they have no sense of having earned it. This is why, for instance, Habitat for Humanity requires some "sweat equity" from those they serve.

I have to believe that the beliefs expressed in this article are in the small minority within the CRC. If this is a typical approach in our Church, I worry about the survival of our denomination. My generation -and those that follow it- won't tolerate this. Some of us will surely leave to join Christians who don't stick their heads in the sand.

I've heard that support for the CRC decreases with age, and I think this sort of attitude is a big factor behind that trend. Even though this article is the opinion of one individual, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth towards the CRC in general.

lalala-
I'm sorry that you think that the church's position on global warming is the most important part of a church's mission. I find that very sad. I rather doubt that young people are primarily looking for a church that is jumping on the latest socio-political fad, either. They are not all so shallow as that. In my own conversations with young people who have left the CRC the reasons are as varied as the young people and their circumstances. I have not noted a trend.

By way of mitigating your destress, might I suggest that being opposed to the global warming hype (dare I say, hoax?) and the state-planning regimen universally proposed as a "solution" is not the same as wanting to trash the environment or avoid caring for the world God has entrusted to us.

@PNR re: efficiency

I can't claim the following as mine, but I will hang my hat on it.....

An efficient product contains physically efficient or ideal amounts of energy and matter, regardless of numerical or monetary considerations. Monetary cost efficiency can not exist outside the concepts of physical efficiency and becomes a cost transfer on other sectors. Therefore it is not efficiency, but temporary convenience.

Nothing can be made "cheaper" than the limits of physical efficiency of "no waste". Fiduciary money is a concept, not a reality and can not overrule the laws of physical, or ecological efficiency. Somebody, something, sometime, somewhere must pay the full costs.

@PNR

The solutions are not universally proposed as “state-planning regimen” unless you consider a revenue neutral carbon tax as state planning regimen?

I have 20+ years experience working in chemical process industries, in this time I have seen countless projects fall by the wayside because of inappropriately priced carbon. These projects if they had been completed 20 years ago would have long since been paying dividends to the shareholders. Many, I would say most of the solutions will result in a better life for all. (Which is always the case when we follow the directions we find in the Bible.)

Finally I find it disrespectful to call it a “global warming hoax”, in as much as the science showing anthropogenic global warming may not be satisfactorily conclusive for you; the matter is far from settled.

A revenue neutral carbon tax is a fiction. It will affect the price of everything, rippling through the economy like a shockwave. Taxes are also a form of government control and central planning. The reason for all the loopholes, deductions, etc., etc. is these direct money in ways the government wants when freely acting citizens otherwise would not. That is, in fact, the whole purpose of a tax on carbon.

Whether it will do anything to affect the climate is seriously doubtful, particularly since it would be limited to a single country. Here, too, that fact would damage our competitiveness with others, causing even more massive shifts of enterprise overseas to more welcoming nations.

How many lives and livelihoods are you prepared to destroy in pursuit of this Fountain-of-Youth-type goal of ending "global warming"?

As for "efficiency", what constitutes "ideal amounts of energy and matter"? And how do we determine that apart from "numerical and monetary considerations"? How do we determine it apart from the objectives in view? And who sets those objectives - free individuals, or a constraining state? Check out Friedrich Hayek's ROAD TO SERFDOM for more on this.

Money is a tool for measuring relative value of commodities in order to allow us to prioritize their use. Determining "ideal amounts of energy and matter" in a complex economy, when using this barrel of oil or ton of corn here means not using it there, cannot be done apart from money. Indeed, the advent of money - particularly paper currency, bonds, and so on - has been a tremendous boon in humanity's efforts to increase efficiency for precisely that reason.

So, you may hang your hat there if you wish, but it's faulty economic theory.

You're right - it is disrespectful to call it a hoax. It's also disrespectful to completely upend an economy, cause massive disruptions in trade, and radically alter - often in significantly negative directions - the lives of millions (as all the proposed "solutions" for it will do) for a cause that is "far from settled"

PNR:

In my opinion your response to lalala represented a gross exaggeration.

lalala never stated that "that the church's position on global warming is the most important part of a church's mission."

Also, you earlier mentioned the East Anglia etc unethical conduct as outed by their e-mails, as if it proved something other than a certain amount of unethical conduct.

The body of evidence is much greater than anything coming out of East Anglia (if I have the name correct) and if analysis of the e-mails that I have read is credible, which I have every reason to believe it is, the East Anglia e-mails do nothing to undermine the climate change theory.

precherkid-
lalala indicated that the ideas in this article would be determinitive in the choice of denomination both for lalala and young people in general, unless I misread the post. I find that to be a sadly misplaced sense of priorities when considering church.

The Climate Research Unit of East Anglia is/was influential in the development of various predictive computer models and those models were used in much of the research and theories conducted elsewhere. The e-mails also indicate a concerted and often successful effort to exclude from publication contrary evidence and opinion in order to create a false appearance of "scientific consensus." This, too, has repercussions far beyond the one institution. In other words, the nature of their unethical conduct taints a significant portion of that body of evidence.

On that score, it undermines both the "global warming" claim per se (granted, not to the point of rendering it unbelievable - though I, personally, do not believe it) and all but destroys the case (to date - it's possible new, more legitimate research could re-establish it) for human causation.

PNR:

You are getting closer but still exaggerating:

what lalala stated was: "If this is a typical approach in our Church..." which leave a lot more room for a spectrum of reaction than the word you are now using "determinative."

As far as the East Anglia issue: yes, they were influential but the evidence was there without their influence.

what you neglect (exaggerate?) is that their "influence" continues.

Again, there is a preponderance of evidence that does not need any "influence" from the (totally/somewhat)discredited East Anglia source.

To the extent, then, that I misunderstood lalala, I apologize.

As for my two main points throughout this discussion (1. Global warming might not be happening and, even if it is, its causes are opaque; 2. Free markets and private ownership of property are more conducive to environmental stewardship than centrally-planned, gov't controlled and regulated systems), see the Almanac of Environmental Trends (http://www.pacificresearch.org/docLib/20110419_almanac2011.pdf)

p. 14 of the report...

"In the case of the EPI [Environmental Performance Index], the data make clear two critical aspects of environmental improvement: the correlation of wealth or prosperity (and hence economic growth) with environmental quality, and the centrality of property rights and the rule of law to environmental protection."

p. 104...
"The argument that currently observable climate changes are outside the range of normal climate variability is a key tenet of the climate campaign, and
despite the incessant refrain about the 'consensus' that 'the debate is over,' this core question is far from settled."

Note also the chart on p. 106 showing an increase in the average temperature anomaly from 1910-1940 roughly double that from 1980-1998 - an increase that occurred prior to any radical increase in human caused "greenhouse gas" emissions. Note also the decline in average temperature anomaly from 1998 to 2001.

Read the whole report - it strongly challenges any notion that it is settled science, that there's a genuine consensus either about what's happening or even how to measure it, and even less agreement on what's causing it.

PNR - April 20, 2011
First, respect in a discussion means that you acknowledge that you could be wrong. So suggesting that I seek to upend the economy, etc., is disrespectful just much as if I suggest that you wish to flood the many people living meet near sea level. I am certain that is not the case.
A carbon tax can be revenue neutral as far as government revenue is concerned. I understand the implication of energy cost on the economy, everything including food is = to fossil fuels in todays way of food production. I am a proponent of simple tax systems, loopholes are failure of policy and tax law but outside of this debate I feel.
A carbon tax implemented over 5 to 10 years allows business to shift their expenditures. I have enough experience in industry to KNOW that this is not fountain of youth as you put it, but a reality. The net result is an industry which in a 5 year window is less profitable, in a 10 year window is more profitable, therefore the smart money stays here.
I believe all Christians should be advocating for a carbon tax because it is the most efficient facility we have in our system to guard the fossil fuels for use by future generations. This is justice issue because future generations have no way to participate in our current market, if they did, you can be certain the price of carbon would better reflect its true value.
That you have to ask what the idea amount of energy and matter is shows how deeply entrenched you are in the ideology of capitalism.
The thermodynamic theory of efficiency that I presented is supported by Newton’s second law of thermodynamics, and what I would consider a “first principles theory”, if an economic model does not fit with it, it indicates a failure of that model to fit with reality, and as such it is demonstrated to be a faulty theory. Your argument that the theory is faulty because it doesn't work with our current monetized system is putting the cart before the horse. “If and when the true laws of economic efficiency are recognized and implemented, the problems caused by the present false concepts can be eliminated. It won't bring Nirvana and to a great extent it will mean cutting back on many things we now accept as part of the system, therefore it will bring on the loss of certain luxuries.”
Finally the a there is much talk about what will happen if we follow these paths, how many jobs will be destroyed etc. etc. I find this disingenuous, since, in as much as debate amongst scientists about any theory postulated will go on for years and years, the same is true (and even more so) amongst economists and economic theories. Ask 10 economists the same question you will get 10 different answers…. So really to say that this, or that, will happen to the economy and jobs is fear mongering, just as much as what so called “global warming alarmists” are accused of.

@Tim Binnema
I respectfully disagree. If you were to argue that 2+2=6 and I told you, with absolute certainty, that this is wrong, would that be disrespectful?

The fact is, our economy would be seriously and negatively affected by your proposals.

I, too, am a fan of simple tax systems. I fail to see how a carbon tax fits into any such system.

I am also, I guess, not a faithful Christian (talk about disrespect!) since I do not, and will not, support a carbon tax. I appreciate the clarification of what you meant by "revenue neutral". I point out here, since it bears on your argument later, that tax, revenue, and other such concepts are inherently monetary, numerical concepts.

I am aware of Newton's laws. How those laws should determine the price of carbon-based energy is beyond me. You say in your original post that projects failed because of "inappropriately priced carbon". On what basis do you claim the price was "inappropriate"? That the projects failed? Do you know what other potentialities might have been closed off had they succeeded, drawing resources that in the event ended up being used elsewhere? How do you know that the success of these failed projects would have been better for the world than their failure? You don't. You can't.

You may know a fair bit about chemistry, but it's apparent you know little about economics and are confusing a thermo-dynamic and chemical understanding of "efficiency" with an economic one. And your denial of any certainty in the field of economics is misplaced.

Say we get rid of this monetized system that troubles you. How do we determine who gets what - not just of carbon fuels, but everything: food (including the question of what variety), clothing, shelter, water, medicine, transportation, entertainment, education, jobs, communications...? Who, other than God himself, is wise enough to distribute these justly? What council of priests would you have interpret God's will in such distribution? Markets are not an option in the scheme you're suggesting, so some other, external individual or council must determine the answers.

To be sure, most of the places where such a process has been attempted have rejected God and replaced Him with the State (i.e., Soviet Five Year Plans and others), but I highly doubt that the Pope, Synod, the WCC, or any other body would do better. A monetized, numeric system allows individuals the freedom to prioritize within the limits of their resources and do so with great efficiency. A command economy, regardless of who or what issues the command, necessarily entails an end of freedom and massive inefficiencies since the person issuing the commands requires a god-like omniscience he (she, or they) cannot possibly acquire.

So I am entrenched in the capitalist system. Because it works. It provides greater freedom and prosperity to more people than any other economic system proposed or implemented to date. I like freedom and prosperity.

What you're proposing has been attempted and it has failed every time - and some of those times the failure has been near catastrophic. Its failure is not based in a numerical, monetized system but in a failure to understand human nature. Those failures have not just meant a few lab projects or engineering projects never came to fruition, but entire nations virtually enslaved for decades. Again, I highly recommend you read Hayek's ROAD TO SERFDOM or Adam Smith's seminal work THE WEALTH OF NATIONS.

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