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The Scandal Over Global Warming
Okay, I’m back. Between end of the year church stuff, my obsession with my book Jesus Versus Jehovah, some drama with friends and family, and trying to keep up with the incredible number of orders on Nate’s site (thank you!), I just haven’t had space to blog.
Well, you’ve probably heard about the brewing scandal: somebody hacked into the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (which I’m told is one of the principle driving forces behind the politics of global warming) and published a ton of their personal e-mails on line. While there’s debate about how significant these e-mails are, they at least reveal that the science (and politics) supporting the claim that humans are to blame for global warming (called “the anthropogenic theory”) isn’t as purely objective as some would have us believe. Among other things, we find in these e-mails several scientists discussing how to minimize, if not completely cover up, data that counters the anthropogenic theory.
I’ve remained largely silent on this issue (one has to choose battles carefully), but I may as well tip my hand now. While I don’t at all agree with those who claim there’s anything like a “conspiracy” among anthropogenic advocates, and while I don’t for a moment question the sincerity of anthropogenic advocates, I’ve personally been convinced for the last two years that the science behind the anthropogenic theory is one-sided, at best. I devoted a month to reading books, articles and websites on both sides of this topic while preparing for a chapter on earth stewardship for The Myth of a Christian Religion. Having heard for several years that “the scientific debate is over,” I was rather shocked to discover how strong the case against the anthropogenic theory is. (For some references, see my note [*] at the end of this blog). So far as I can see, the debate is far from over! Rather, it seems to me that those scientists who refused to get on board the anthropogenic train have simply been silenced – and the newly released e-mails seem to support this suspicion.
Yet, as I argued in The Myth of a Christian Religion, from a Kingdom perspective none of this should matter in the least. Our commitment to live as good stewards of creation and as good caretakers of the animal kingdom shouldn’t be affected in the least by the state of the ever-changing and usually ambiguous scientific or political debate. Rather, our motivation for living as good stewards and caretakers should be rooted in the simple fact that God commands us to take care of his earth and his animals. It’s our magna carta. In fact, the way we live shouldn’t even be influenced by pragmatic considerations such as how much measurable difference we actually make by (say) conserving energy or refusing to eat meat from Industrial Farms. We are to seek first the Kingdom simply because we are people submitted to the King. We should need no other motivation or argument.
So I encourage you live in a way that reflects God’s tender love for the earth and all animals. But I also encourage you to do it for the right reason — and its got nothing to do with what these recently released e-mails may or may not tell us about the anthropogenic theory.
* For those who are interested, the best critiques of the anthropogenic theory I read several years ago were B. Lomborg, Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist’s Guide to Global Warming; P. Michaels, ed. Shattered Consensus: The True State of Global Warming; and S. Singer and D. Avery, Unstoppable Global Warming – Every 1,500 Years. Several of the more interesting websites on the topic I found are here, here and here.