Thoughts on Global Warming

Thoughtful articles like this have kept me from jumping on the “stop global warming” bandwagon, in spite of the fact that a number of recent evangelical leaders have come out in support of this cause. When approaching the issue of global warming (which does not necessarily indicate one’s stance toward other environmental issues), several factors that are usually overlooked need to be taken into account:

1. Can it be scientifically proven that human activity is the cause of global warming? I doubt it.

2. Can it be scientifically proven that human activity has the potential to slow down or bring the process to a halt? Again, I doubt it; climate change is a fact of life and always has been.

3. If global warming continues, will it necessarily lead to the catastrophic consequences claimed by so many alarmist scientists? The article to which I linked argues that severe weather will be less likely, not more likely, as a result of global warming; I remember reading articles about how global warming is necessary to prevent us from plunging into another ice age. There is too much debate on this issue for me to throw in my lot with the alarmists, and I am theologically inclined to believe that God will providentially care for his creation no matter what the climate ultimately does. The earth and its diverse inhabitants are remarkably adaptive.

4. If we seek the well-being of humanity, shouldn’t we consider all factors that contribute to human well-being, including economic factors? In other words, we need to take into account the human suffering that would result from the economic consequences of any plan that is put in place to deal with global warming. In light of the fact that (a) we do not know for sure that human activity has caused global warming, (b) we do not know that human activity could actually have any effect on slowing it down, and (c) we cannot predict the consequences of global warming, I am not willing to support any action that would have negative economic results. I do not take this position because I am materialistic (I am not); I take it because I recognize that economic well-being is a major part of human well-being. Therefore, those who advocate plans like the Kyoto Protocol must meet a high burden of proof in order to convince me to commit to such a costly endeavor. At this point, that burden of proof has not been met. In addition, market forces are already pushing us toward technologies that do not depend on fossil fuels, for a variety of reasons. Let the market take care of this problem, if it is indeed a problem in the first place.

Finally, I think we should all listen to the wisdom of Dennis Miller, who once said on The Tonight Show (I am paraphrasing from memory):

“So the temperature rises 1 degree every 100 years. So what? It’s one degree. I’m always a little chilly anyway.”

[HT: Justin Taylor]

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5 Responses to “Thoughts on Global Warming”

  1. chrischaeffer Says:

    This website needs an RSS feed.

    Oh, and hi Aaron.

  2. Aaron Says:

    Hey, Chris! You know, I sent you an email several months ago, but I don’t know if you still have the same email address. Send me one (you probably still have mine; it has been the same for several years now) and we’ll talk.

  3. Cogito Says:

    RSS wha?

  4. chrischaeffer Says:

    RSS = Really Simple Syndication, a form of web syndication used by news websites and weblogs.

    I don’t know your email Aaron, and I don’t see it on this site.

    Email me at chrischaeffer@gmail.com, and I’ll reply using my real email. (i hate junk mail, so I don’t want to post my email here)

  5. R. Mansfield Says:

    Answers to your questions:

    1. Yes. It pretty much can. At the very least the correlations are quite overwhelming. But even if it couldn’t be scientifically proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, does that mean the conclusion is wrong? I believe that Jesus Christ rose from the grave, but I cannot scientifically prove it.

    2. It may be too late. Regarding the issue of scientific proof, see #1.

    3. It may be worse than you can imagine. Yes, God is sovereign and in control, but it’s a biblical fact that the innocent often suffer because of the sins of the unrighteous.

    4. The issue of global warming may become THE number one sanctity of life issue.

    And as for Dennis Miller, he’s funny, but his facts are wrong. And that’s not funny.

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