Keep­ing the faith in spite of wrong cli­mate as­sump­tions

The Washington Times Daily - - EDITORIAL - By An­thony J. Sadar An­thony J. Sadar is a Cer­ti­fied Con­sult­ing Me­te­o­rol­o­gist and author of In Global Warm­ing We Trust: Too Big to Fail (Stair­way Press, 2016).

‘‘Car­ing for Cre­ation: The Evan­gel­i­cal’s Guide to Cli­mate Change and a Healthy En­vi­ron­ment” by Evan­gel­i­cal En­vi­ron­men­tal Net­work pres­i­dent Rev. Mitch Hescox and broad­cast me­te­o­rol­o­gist Paul Dou­glas is ex­cep­tion­ally well writ­ten and re­flec­tive. The book gives com­pelling ar­gu­ments over­all for at­tain­ing and main­tain­ing a healthy en­vi­ron­ment and for tran­si­tion­ing to cleaner tech­nolo­gies for en­ergy pro­duc­tion. I found my­self us­ing check­marks and writ­ing “good ad­vice” and such in the mar­gins fre­quently. But the ad­mirable goals and prac­ti­cal so­lu­tions found in the book are based on a wrong premise, one that is grounded on a be­lief in an­thro­pogenic cli­mate catas­tro­phe.

“Car­ing for Cre­ation” prof­fers many sen­si­ble ac­tions to re­solve per­sonal and na­tional air and waste is­sues. Rec­om­men­da­tions fo­cus on re­duc­tion of food waste, en­ergy ef­fi­ciency, pre­pared­ness for ex­treme weather events, use of safe, non­toxic clean­ing prod­ucts, boost­ing in­vest­ment in ba­sic re­search, and the like. The au­thors point out the in­creas­ing cost-ef­fec­tive­ness of al­ter­na­tive en­ergy sources, such as from sun, wind and sus­tain­able biomass. In ad­di­tion, the book en­cour­ages more aware­ness and care for the needs of the com­mu­nity both in­side and out­side the church walls.

All th­ese rec­om­men­da­tions are ap­pro­pri­ate for en­cour­ag­ing ac­tions to ben­e­fit the earth and its in­hab­i­tants. But to pro­mote th­ese on the ba­sis of what the au­thors iden­tify as “the great­est moral chal­lenge of our time” — man-made cli­mate change — is to do the right thing for the wrong rea­son. That can lead ul­ti­mately to in­ef­fi­cient, in­ef­fec­tive and even harm­ful, ac­tions.

Make no mis­take, global chal­lenges are se­ri­ous. The au­thors note that “[a]bout 1.2 bil­lion peo­ple have no ac­cess to elec­tric­ity, an­other 2 bil­lion have only lim­ited elec­tric avail­abil­ity, and ap­prox­i­mately 2.6 bil­lion peo­ple still use tra­di­tional cook­ing meth­ods, caus­ing 1.5 mil­lion deaths per year from in­door air pol­lu­tion.” Yet, con­trary to ar­gu­ments made or im­plied in the book, the fastest, most di­rect and proven way out for those in such en­ergy poverty is the tried and true route of tra­di­tional and plen­ti­ful fos­sil fu­els.

The au­thors cor­rectly ob­serve, “God pro­vided all means for abun­dant life … .” How­ever, ap­par­ently to cli­mate-cri­sis ad­vo­cates, some­how God de­signed and cre­ated an at­mos­phere that goes hay­wire when His pro­vi­sion of co­pi­ous nat­u­ral re­sources are ex­tracted and har­nessed to ad­vance civ­i­liza­tions and al­le­vi­ate the suf­fer­ing of the world’s poor­est pop­u­la­tions.

Us­ing the au­thors’ own com­pas­sion­ate ad­vice, “[w]e need to care for the least of th­ese, as the Bi­ble com­mands us, and stop fear­ing fear it­self.” To me, that en­tails re­spon­si­bly ac­cess­ing and dis­tribut­ing what God has pro­vided in abun­dance. As the au­thors con­tinue, “[t]hat’s not to say we ig­nore safety or health risks. We just put it into per­spec­tive … .” We learn “to un­der­stand and then ad­dress the risks.” Good ad­vice.

Most fear­ful state­ments on cli­mate con­di­tions and pro­jec­tions may very well orig­i­nate from the U.N.’s In­ter­gov­ern­men­tal Panel on Cli­mate Change re­ports — the de­fault bi­ble on all things cli­mate. Yet the foun­da­tional covenant and goal of the IPCC re­ports was to as­sess “the sci­en­tific, tech­ni­cal and so­cio-eco­nomic in­for­ma­tion rel­e­vant to un­der­stand­ing the sci­en­tific ba­sis of the risk of hu­man-in­duced cli­mate change, its po­ten­tial im­pacts and op­tions for adap­ta­tion and mit­i­ga­tion … .” Re­gard­ing the pro­fu­sion of re­search work that seems to ful­fill this goal, the au­thors quote from Up­ton Sin­clair may be ap­pro­pri­ate: “It is dif­fi­cult to get a man to un­der­stand some­thing when his salary de­pends on his not un­der­stand­ing it.”

Re­gard­less of the re­cy­cled, re­futed ar­gu­ment cited by the au­thors that “97 per­cent of cli­mate ex­perts” agree on a dis­as­trous vi­sion of cli­mate, the science on cli­mate change is def­i­nitely not set­tled. That is why I and about a third of Amer­i­can Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal So­ci­ety mem­ber­ship still have con­sid­er­able ques­tions about the nat­u­ral and hu­man con­tri­bu­tions to and long-term out­look for Earth’s chang­ing cli­mate.

Solid sci­en­tific ev­i­dence leads many good, hard­work­ing, knowl­edge­able, Chris­tian cli­ma­tol­o­gists and me­te­o­rol­o­gists to doubt the faith so many other Chris­tians have in the prospect of cer­tain cli­mate doom from hu­mans con­tin­u­ing to live com­fort­ably off of fos­sil fu­els.

I have been an at­mo­spheric science prac­ti­tioner for nearly 40 years. In my spe­cial­ized field of air-pol­lu­tion me­te­o­rol­ogy, I have wit­nessed too much di­ver­sion of time, tal­ent and tax dol­lars away from more crit­i­cal con­di­tions ad­versely af­fect­ing the at­mos­phere and public health, like haz­ardous air pol­lu­tants, and to­ward du­bi­ous causes like as­sail­ing “car­bon pol­lu­tion” for its sup­posed out­sized con­trol of cli­mate change. Al­though dis­cour­aged at times, I take heart that fu­ture cli­mate con­di­tions will con­tinue to un­fold con­trary to the dire pre­dic­tions prof­fered by doom­say­ers (con­di­tions like cli­mate-pre­dic­tion mod­els over­stat­ing ac­tual plan­e­tary warm­ing by a fac­tor of two, and the sub­stan­tially re­duced num­ber and sever­ity of land-fall­ing U.S. hur­ri­canes for more than a decade). Once again, quot­ing the book, I ac­knowl­edge that “God is in charge. With­out the hope of faith, I would be de­spon­dent.”

I trust that more rea­son­able dialog and wider science-based per­spec­tive will pre­vail in the near fu­ture on the im­por­tant cli­mate is­sue. But to get Chris­tians and non-Chris­tians alike to un­der­stand that God’s glo­ri­ous plan for peo­ple and the planet is far be­yond the reach of cli­mate-change ac­tivism (or ac­tivism for any other cause), may truly be “the great­est moral chal­lenge of our time.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.