Ah, you who join house to house, who add field to field, until there is room for no one but you, and you are left to live alone in the midst of the land!
Last week, Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh said this: "If you believe in God, then intellectually you cannot believe in manmade global warming.” According to Rush, there's no such thing as a faith-based climate activist. According to Rush Limbaugh, you (or any of the other people I'm about to mention) aren't real.
But see the thing is, we know that's not true. Here are a few prominent people of faith who do believe in and care about manmade global climate change.
- Pope Francis who, in his inaugural mass, discussed defending the environment and the poor
- And then there's this group of 200 Evangelical Christian scientists who wrote an open letter to congress
- Rev. Rich Cizik has given countless speeches on creation care, stewardship, and fossil fuel divestment. He recently had this article published in the Washington Post: "Fossil fuels are a faith issue"
- NETWORK, founded by a group of Catholic sisters, intends to pursue ecological justice by supporting environmentally-conscious transportation (shifting from oil-based to “green” alternatives), construction, and infrastructure development.
- And Rev. Mitch Hescox, the President and CEO of the Evangelical Environmental Network.
- Lastly, YOU! Sign this petition, share our website and mission on social media, and tell your friends. You are a person of faith, you believe in global climate change, and you also believe in the importance of stewardship and creation care. So shout from the rooftops!
When interacting with skeptics of widely-accepted climate change science, we at the Good Steward Campaign have found it’s critical and indeed necessary to have a sense of humor. Some of the most reliable climate skeptics out there are the folks at the Cornwall Alliance. This group under the façade of fighting for “stewardship of creation” blatantly spreads misinformation about climate science and ridicules those who have accepted the reality that the earth is warming and we are the primary cause.
Recently, the Cornwall gang set their sights on Deborah Fikes, an executive advisor to the World Evangelical Alliance. Fikes has come out in support of addressing the climate crisis, saying “What you hear most of in the media are evangelicals who are very opposed to climate change advocacy…[but] the good news is that younger evangelicals in the U.S. really get this issue. It resonates with them. They see it as a moral imperative that we speak out, because not only is it good for our own self-interest, national security here in the U.S., but it is also part of our faith, of loving our neighbors as ourselves.” Watch her full comments:
Cornwall goes onto accuse Fikes of listening to environmental alarmists, and supporting mandatory reductions in carbon dioxide which will “cost trillions of dollars, millions of jobs and delay economic development for poor countries around the world.”
They must be kidding! A classic argument of climate skeptics is equating support for environmental regulation to economic calamity! As evidenced by the growing clean energy economy, we are witnessing thousands of good-paying jobs being created right here in America, which are acting as an economic stimulant rather than depressant. While in any industry there are failures, on the whole the green economy is the wave of the future.
Dr. Beisner, the Founder of the Cornwall Alliance, then continues to bring quizzical looks to our faces, stating that scientists all over the world reject any connection of carbon dioxide emissions with global warming. He must be kidding! Beisner also gives us a head-scratcher when he brings to light warnings from economists of “turning from high-density, affordable, reliable energy sources (conventional fossil fuels) to low-density, expensive, unreliable energy sources (wind, solar, and biofuels)” which will bring economics distress. He would have a point if it wasn’t for the fact that no one is arguing this transition is going to happen overnight.
This transition will take time and gradually we can wean ourselves off dirty fossil fuels without sending the world into an economic apocalypse. Instead of desperately clinging to the status quo like Tom Hanks to Wilson the volleyball in “Cast Away”, we can invest in American innovation, creating millions of jobs and let us not forget – obey God’s word and be good stewards of the planet by combating global warming.
We commend Deborah Fikes for having the courage to bear witness on behalf of God’s creation! And to the folks at the Cornwall Alliance – you must be kidding!
In another edition of "They Must Be Kidding!" we bring you the brilliant satirist, Stephen Colbert. In North Carolina, an appointed panel of scientists, the North Carolina Coastal Resources Commission, have reported that there will be a 1-meter level in sea rise by 2100. The state lawmakers recently passed a law that puts a moratorium on predicting sea level rise.
We are entering very dangerous territory when policymakers start overstepping their expertise and begin legislating science. As Christians, we believe that God gave us the ability to think critically and observe our surroundings. While our scientific knowledge of the world will always be limited (any scientist would tell you so), it is ignorant to ignore the peer-reviewed science which warns us of sea level rise.
We are living in a critical time in our history. Will we act to combat climate change? Or will we bury our heads in the sand? If we do the latter, we will be at risk to lose much more than our beach homes...
For more information check out these stories:
May 28: Coastal NC Counties Fighting Sea-Level Rise Prediction
August 2: New Law in North Carolina bans Latest Scientific Predictions of Sea-Level Rise
A new series that we are very excited to produce here at the Good Steward Campaign is entitled “They Must Be Kidding!” We've started to wonder why, in Christian circles, there's still disagreement on climate change, despite the overwhelming scientific consensus that the planet's getting hotter, largely due to human actions. This begs the question – why are there so many Christians who question climate science when 97% of climate experts agree humans are causing global warming?
Historically, there have been several reasons Christians are uncomfortable with climate change – like concern about science and mistrust of the government. But it’s pretty clear there’s a lot of misuse of facts and, at times, blatant lies spread by people who don’t want action on climate change – including those who profit from the status quo. Evidently they aren’t concerned about the long-term effect of dishonesty (see Prov. 19:9) – or about the future of our generation.
It was Hotter in the Medieval Times!
One common misconception about climate change is that it was hotter in the Medieval Times than it is now. Here you can take a look at this point of view. The root of this argument comes from the Medieval Warm Period that spanned from 950 to 1250 AD. I’ll let the good folks at Skeptical Science take it from here:
The Medieval Warm Period spanned 950 to 1250 AD and corresponded with warmer temperatures in certain regions. During this time, ice-free seas allowed the Vikings to colonize Greenland. North America experienced prolonged droughts. Just how hot was the Medieval Warm Period? Was the globe warmer than now? To answer this question, one needs to look beyond warming in a few regions and view temperatures on a global scale.
Prior temperature reconstructions tend to focus on the global average (or sometimes hemispheric average). To answer the question of the Medieval Warm Period, more than 1000 tree-ring, ice core, coral, sediment and other assorted proxy records spanning both hemispheres were used to construct a global map of temperature change over the past 1500 years (Mann 2009). The Medieval Warm Period saw warm conditions over a large part of the North Atlantic, Southern Greenland, the Eurasian Arctic, and parts of North America. In these regions, temperature appears to be warmer than the 1961–1990 baseline. In some areas, temperatures were even as warm as today. However, certain regions such as central Eurasia, northwestern North America, and the tropical Pacific are substantially cooler compared to the 1961 to 1990 average.
Figure 1: Reconstructed surface temperature anomaly for Medieval Warm Period (950 to 1250 A.D.), relative to the 1961– 1990 reference period. Gray areas indicates regions where adequate temperature data are unavailable.
How does the Medieval Warm Period compare to current conditions? Here is the temperature pattern for the last decade (1999 to 2008). What we see is widespread warming (with a few exceptions such as regional East Antarctic cooling)
Figure 3: Surface temperature anomaly for period 1999 to 2008, relative to the 1961– 1990 reference period. Gray areas indicates regions where adequate temperature data are unavailable (NOAA).
The Medieval Warm Period was not a global phenomenon. Warmer conditions were concentrated in certain regions. Some regions were even colder than during the Little Ice Age. To claim the Medieval Warm Period was warmer than today is to narrowly focus on a few regions that showed unusual warmth. However, when we look at the broader picture, we see that the Medieval Warm Period was a regional phenomenon with other regions showing strong cooling. What is more, and as can be seen in Figure 4, globally, temperatures during the Medieval Period were less than today.
Figure 4: Global surface temperature reconstruction from Mann et al. (2008)
As you can see, the global temperature has actually warmed since the Medieval Warm Period. In addition, and perhaps most notably, there are no natural cycles of the earth to explain the sudden peak in temperatures we have experienced since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. Scientists have concluded that the only explanation for this dramatic shift is the staggering increase in greenhouse gas emissions we are releasing into the atmosphere.
We would be kidding ourselves to think that we can’t make a drastic impact on the world’s climate system. God created this world, declared it good, and gave us, His greatest creation, the responsibility to take care of it. Look around. We’re not doing such a good job. Join us at the Good Steward Campaign by recognizing our Biblically mandated responsibility to take care of God’s creation, taking individual action, and advocating that our leaders no longer turn a blind eye to climate change!