Evangelicals and Climate Change

By Keith Kloor | July 30, 2014 2:49 pm

Nearly a decade ago, I wrote a profile of Richard Cizik for Audubon magazine. He was, at the time, a prominent lobbyist for the National Association of Evangelicals and a member of good standing among social and political conservatives. But Cizik’s views on a number of hot-button issues were evolving. In 2008 he was forced to resign, or as he later put it, fired for remarks he made on NPR:

In a broad-ranging conversation about my work to educate my fellow evangelicals about the impacts of climate change, I told Terry Gross, the host of NPR’s “Fresh Air,” that I could support “civil unions” for gays and lesbians and that government funding of contraception was morally acceptable as a way to avoid abortion.

As I wrote in my Audubon piece, Cizik had come to view global warming as an urgent, moral issue. History would judge the evangelical community, he believed, just as it had on another defining issue:

“It was to our eternal . . . ” he says, struggling to find the right words, “it was to our discredit that evangelicals didn’t join [Dr. Martin Luther] King in the civil rights movement. It was forever a black mark on us that we weren’t part of that. And I dare say—I could be wrong, I’m not a prophet—in a few years people will say, ‘Were the evangelicals engaged in the environmental issue?’ And again, it will be to our discredit if we are not.”

I think it’s still too soon to say, even nine years after he told me this, if the conservative evangelical community has fully embraced climate change as a morally compelling issue. But that day appears to be coming.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: climate change, global warming
  • Richard_Arrett

    This is a very tough religious issue.

    On the one hand – stewardship, including stewardship of the planet, is a religious value. So a catholic (as I am) wants to be a good steward of the planet. I personally don’t consider CO2 to be a pollutant – but that issue aside, I certainly don’t want to help make the planet uninhabitable.

    On the other hand – what is more important to a 3rd world person – food clean water and electricity or more expensive green electricity – delayed for years – which is not always available and which will make food and water more expensive?

    I believe that the moral cost/benefit is to get electricity to the 3rd world poor as quickly as possible – over worrying about green power.

    Jesus believed in feeding the poor – and cheap electricity will help feed the poor (better than no electricity).

    I believe the correct thing to do is first raise the standard of living of all existing people – before making food, water, energy and fuel more expensive to poor people who currently have no electricity and no clean water.

    • Paul Shipley

      It’s all about priorities. Electricity is one thing but not being able to produce food because of drought is another. How was that harvest in Russia the year before last and the harvest in the Mid West right now. This is far from third world when it affects the prices of food for the Western World. How many people on the economic fringe are going to suffer this winter. Now that is truly scary
      http://www.voanews.com/content/drought-corn-harvest-midwest-farmers/1496764.html
      http://voiceofrussia.com/2012_07_30/Drought-and-wild-fires-destroy-Russian-harvest/

      • Buddy199

        I don’t know if you’ve noticed while spending a day at the beach or strolling through Whole Foods, but starvation is the last thing Americans are, or are likely to be, suffering from any time soon.

        The Green prescription can be summed up very simply:

        Get used to a poorer life style, making do with less, that costs a lot more.

        Except, of course, for wealthy progressive Greens whose life style will not be affected at all since the richer you are, the less the necessities of life take of your wealth or income. Their wonderful eco-utopian plan will slam the middle class, and especially the poor around the world the hardest. It’s somebody else’s sacrifice that they’re happy to lay at the altar of Gaia. .

        • Paul Shipley

          I agree Buddy199 but I believe that lifestyle is about to change this is not a commentary of the present but the very near future.

        • http://cendax.wordpress.com/ Norbrook

          Um, you need ot get out more. In fact, get away from your nice suburban enclave where they have nice beaches and Whole Foods. Take a trip out into the rural areas, or even into the inner city and you’ll find out that while “starvation” is not quite as bad as it is in third-world countries, malnutrition and food insecurity most definitely are problems.

          • Buddy199

            Due to food choices, not lack of food or government subsidy for those who have trouble paying for food.

            Do inner cities have an over abundance of fast food outlets and liquor stores, and too few supermarkets carrying healthy choices? Yes. And that situation reflects the local market demand, and decisions of the business people aware of that demand who choose to invest risk capital to operate there.

    • o4hu

      If concern for the poor is what drives you, you would be putting everything you had into the fight against climate change:

      http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2013/sep/27/climate-change-poor-countries-ipcc

      Not only are many poor countries (e.g. Bangladesh) more susceptible to the direct effects of climate change (e.g. flooding), they also have far fewer resources to deal with the aftermath: building flood defenses, dealing with outbreaks of disease, mitigating the disastrous effects on crop yields, etc.

      • Richard_Arrett

        Flooding in Bangladesh is not a new problem. Floods occurred before CO2 levels rose from 280 ppm. Yes the sea level rising is making flooding worse – but sea levels have been rising for 20,000 years – so this is not a new problem either.

        Still – is it better to spend billions on a flood wall or would that money make more of a difference for food, water and electrical issues?

        That is up to each government to determine.

        Personally, I think resources are better directed to more basic issues and adaptation is the best approach to dealing with climate change.

        • Matt

          Ding ding ding, winner. Climate hawks will have folks starve for the next 100 years in order to protect them from imminent (in 200-500 years) destruction from climate change.

          • CB

            “Climate hawks will have folks starve for the next 100 years in order to protect them from imminent (in 200-500 years) destruction from climate change.”

            Why would you pretend it’s not possible to lead a carbon-negative, first-world lifestyle without starving?

            Where do you get your timeline for destructive outcomes due to climate change?

            Why would you pretend we aren’t already suffering the repercussions of climate change?

          • Matt

            People in the world today literally are starving, dying from lack of clean water, shelter, exposure… in 2014. Just saying that billions of dollars of climate change prevention monies would be better spent making it so some of the worst of actually make it long enough to see climate change. Nope, million dollar studies, multi-million dollar initiatives to decrease the increase in emissions (meaning, we’re still emitting more than we used to) are totally worth it, right?

            My timeline is common sense, nobody is dying from climate change today, tomorrow or next year. Thousands will die today, tomorrow and everyday for the next 20 years from lack of food, water, etc…

            Why do you assume that you can differentiate between events due to climate change and those of happenstance and random deviations from the norm?

          • CB

            “People in the world today literally are starving, dying from lack of clean water, shelter, exposure”

            … and how might those people fare under 75 meters of melted ice cap?

            If that’s not where we’re headed, just with the CO₂ already in the air, why isn’t there a single previous example in Earth’s history of polar ice caps withstanding CO₂ so high?

          • Matt

            And in 100+ years when the sea level rises a few inches, we might have something to worry about. Too bad 50% will be dead from starvation, communicable disease, etc… I’m sure *that* 50% is glad they didn’t die from climate change!

            Nice graphs, 10 years, so convincing when it comes to climate change.

          • CB

            “And in 100+ years when the sea level rises a few inches, we might have something to worry about”

            Uh huh, and on what do you base that timeline?

            …because “common sense” doesn’t appear to be your forte.

            What in the world do you think you’re accomplishing by posting a graph showing a clear, steady increase in temperature over the last 100 years?

          • Matt

            You posted a graph with a 10 year x-axis, which in terms of climate means absolutely nothing really. So I posted that graph to illustrate the idea that you can pick time spans and Y-axis to massage data to say what you want. You obviously do not understand that point, or else you wouldn’t post silly graphs such as the one you did.

            As for my timeline, that’s more or less what everybody says for sea level rise in that time (historically about 8 inches in the last 130 years). That’s manageable in that time period. The sea isn’t going to swallow up millions of people and kill them, it might displace some, require some to build seawalls, etc… but won’t kill any. It’s something that we can manage with technology. I will state that starvation, lack of clean water and communicable disease kill millions annually for the foreseeable future, why not invest in preventing those deaths? That was my original point. Looking at a cost-benefit analysis of climate change, climate change really is at the low end of priorities.

          • CB

            “You posted a graph with a 10 year x-axis, which in terms of climate means absolutely nothing really”

            Sure! …so let’s widen the scope, shall we?

            Name a single previous point in all 4.5 billion years of Earth’s history that polar ice caps were able to withstand CO₂ as high as we have today.

            If such a point existed, why hasn’t a single person been able to name it?

          • Matt

            I never made such a claim. Calling out your bad science doesn’t mean I support worse science.

          • CB

            “I never made such a claim”

            Okay, so if you understand that each and every previous time in Earth’s history CO₂ went above 400PPM, complete polar meltdown followed, why would you expect a different outcome this time around?

            Who but a suicidal psychopath bets against a perfect track record 4.5 billion years long when the entire world is at stake?

          • Matt

            You must be a little thick, nobody argues against climate change (not even me). We’re talking grownup stuff here… priorities. A rising sea level over the next 100-200 years is something that will be dealt with painlessly. Sure, there will be a flood here and there (as they are always floods occasionally), but people will move out of low-lying areas or simply use technology to protect those areas.

            While you (and the 1st world) obsess over dangers that will we adapt to over the next century, the 3rd world is concerned about food, water, healthcare…

          • CB

            “A rising sea level over the next 100-200 years is something that will be dealt with painlessly”

            Will it?

            The complete collapse of the polar ice caps over 100 years would cause 2.5 feet of sea level rise per year!

            Have you any idea how many people live within 2.5 vertical feet of the sea?

          • Matt

            Nobody is predicting that level of rise. 1-4 feet over the next 100 years. With 4 feet being the “doomsday” prediction – 4 times the current rate.

          • CB

            “Nobody is predicting that level of rise”

            Uh huh, and why aren’t you predicting that level of sea level rise?

            If you understand polar ice caps have never before in Earth’s history been able to withstand CO₂ so high, why would you expect them to today?

            This is a prediction a child could figure out, Matt.

            Why are you having difficulty with it?

          • Michael Stone

            I’m wondering if Ess has suffered a stroke or something?

          • CB

            lol! I think he’s just old, sad and lonely. :(

          • S Graves

            Hey, Stoner. Tell me more about the NWP trip you took. Where did you embark? Terminate? How many days? When did you do this?
            Thanks.

          • Michael Stone

            now Ess; for some reason I believe that you are asking me far too many personal questions. Exactly why do you want to know all of my business Ess? I don’t like you and what I do and who I really am is not something I care to share with you. Would you care to discuss global warming and what is happening in the Arctic and what is happening to the perennial ice?

            http://summitcountyvoice.com/2014/01/20/arctic-sea-ice-wavers-near-record-low-in-december/

          • S Graves

            Stoner…you brought up your NWP trip at 22 knots and 6 days. How else would I know about it? When I mentioned visiting Antarctica, you took off on a nonsense rant about how it must have been on a flying saucer. At least give me credit for not simply gratuitously attacking your representation…as you did mine. And I provided reasonable details to alleviate your misconception that I was somehow not telling the truth. So your points above are true just disingenuous.

            “Or maybe you would like to elaborate on the time you went with scientists on a research study of the ice in Antarctica?” By the way, why would you make this up? I never said such a thing. There were, of course, scientists on board…but it wasn’t a “research study” nor did I say so.

            I don’t care to know all of your business…but you DID bring the NWP thing up. If you don’t want people knowing your business, maybe keep it to yourself.

            “You never did answer the questions I asked you about that voyage.” Are you addressing my Antarctica trip? Of course I did.

            S Graves • 3 days ago

            Oceana Lines, ship was the Marco Polo. About 560 passengers. Anybody could go. Just pay up. It’s not an uncommon trip…Buenos Aires, Falklands, on to the Peninsula and then WA ending in Ushuaia.

          • Matt

            Uh huh. Yeah. I’d love to see the science behind such a cartoonish projection. Journal of CB says?

            But congrats on detailing the discussion!

          • CB

            “I’d love to see the science”

            Well, why didn’t you say so!?

            Here is 800,000 years of CO₂ concentrations from polar ice cores, going back to the oldest significant ice on Earth:

            ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/icecore/antarctica/epica_domec/edc-co2-2008.txt

            Find me a single crystal of polar ice recording a level of CO₂ over 400PPM, where it is today.

            If polar ice caps can withstand CO₂ so high, why don’t polar ice caps record a single instance of CO₂ so high?

          • Matt

            You really don’t start on topic, do you? We were taking your comical predictions for sea levellevelrise.

          • CB

            “We were taking your comical predictions for sea levellevelrise”

            NASA says there is 75 meters of sea level rise locked up in polar ice caps:

            “Together, Greenland and Antarctica contain about 75% of the world’s fresh water, enough to raise sea level by over 75 meters, if all the ice were returned to the oceans.”

            earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/PolarIce/polar_ice2.php

            If that ice isn’t bound for the sea, just because of the CO₂ we’ve already emitted, why isn’t there a single previous example in Earth’s history of polar ice caps withstanding CO₂ so high?

            Did you miss that question the last few times I posted it?

          • S Graves

            Cite any peer reviewed science that actually PREDICTS what you wildly claim here about a meltdown…”ice…bound for the sea”.

            Previous example of ice caps w/ levels of CO2 at those of today? I have the answer from none other than the self-proclaimed polar ice expert herself…CB. Wait…that would be YOU.

            CB • 15 days ago Tues, 3-27-14 3:56 PM

            Yes, during the Eocene-Oligocene transition roughly 34 million years ago, polar ice caps formed with levels of CO₂ at roughly twice today’s levels, or around 800PPM.

            You see, CB, when you claim that they actually FORMED and, as you have also said, lasted a few million years at least, it’s hard to now claim the opposite.
            But it’s FUN to watch you try!

          • S Graves

            She loves to obfuscate and misdirect. Otherwise, on the science it’s mostly pasted from stock comments.

          • S Graves

            Your science is irrelevant wrt his question about ice and “… never before in Earth’s history…”. Unless, of course, you actually believe the earth is only 800ky old. Is that what you somehow believe?
            And if there is ANY science demonstrating your “…single instance…” nonsense about ice caps, cite it now.
            And don’t ask me to do your homework for you by asking ME to provide science to demonstrate YOUR position.

          • S Graves

            Actually a child HAS stated the following…wait…not a real child. Just someone who acts childishly.
            CB • 15 days ago Tues, 3-27-14 3:56 PM

            Yes, during the Eocene-Oligocene transition roughly 34 million years ago, polar ice caps formed with levels of CO₂ at roughly twice today’s levels, or around 800PPM.

            You see, CB, when you claim that they actually FORMED and, as you have also said, lasted a few million years at least, it’s hard to now claim the opposite.

          • S Graves

            Now you’re making me laugh, CB. You have carried your absurdity sooo far.
            Cite any science…or any scientist…just ONE… that actually predicts such fantastical melting will occur. There isn’t ANY and you know it.
            Oh…I get it. You were just trying to be funny. And you WERE!!

          • CB

            “You have carried your absurdity sooo far”

            NASA says there is 75 meters of sea level rise locked up in polar ice caps:

            “Together, Greenland and Antarctica contain about 75% of the world’s fresh water, enough to raise sea level by over 75 meters, if all the ice were returned to the oceans.”

            earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/PolarIce/polar_ice2.php

            If sea levels were to increase 75 meters over 100 years, this would be, on average, 0.75 meters, or around 2.5 feet per year.

            If you think this number is incorrect, state your own and the source of your information.

            Because you have a habit of attempting to hijack threads about climate science with non sequitur and unsupported claims, if you cannot do this or admit my claim was not absurd at all, you will be ignored.

            I note in advance your failure to do so.

          • S Graves

            Where does your NASA citation PREDICT ANYWHERE in it that such a thing will occur? Where does it mention 100y or 2.5’/yr?

            Cite any science…or any scientist…just ONE… that actually predicts such fantastical melting will occur. NASA doesn’t predict any such thing. There isn’t ANY and you know it.

            Why make up such nonsense unless you are a CAGW blind follower?

    • http://cendax.wordpress.com/ Norbrook

      “Green” electricity is more expensive now because, as was the case with other technologies, the first adopters (i.e.; the First World countries) are paying for research, development, and testing, along with a lack of scale. At the present time. In the near future, those costs will come down fairly quickly, in fact, they already have. The cost of solar panels has dropped drastically over the past 20+ years, and will soon be within the affordable range, as opposed to building massive power plants and dams.

      • Richard_Arrett

        Yes – green costs have come down. However, coal power plants are still cheaper than solar power right now.

        In the future when solar is actually cheaper than coal than governments will choose solar because they get more bang for the buck (when it is sunny).

        We are not there yet.

    • DavidAppell

      “I believe that the moral cost/benefit is to get electricity to the 3rd world poor as quickly as possible – over worrying about green power.”

      But that’s no reason why the rest of us can’t switch to noncarbon energy sources — most Americans are easily rich enough to afford it, as are the middle class in many other countries,

      Then, as we research, develop and perfect greener energy, it can be sold or given to the world’s poor.

      • Richard_Arrett

        True.

        But money is fungible.

        Every dollar spent on higher than cheapest cost energy is a dollar which cannot be put towards R&D for cheaper green energy. It is also a dollar which cannot go to foreign aid.

        So I don’t think the best use of our resources is for the 1st world to all switch to green energy.

        I would rather invest in R&D to make green energy the cheapest alternative for producing electricity.

        If non-carbon producing electricity could be produced cheaper than coal, oil and natural gas – economics would cause the switchover naturally – without the need to force everybody.

        • DavidAppell

          “Every dollar spent on higher than cheapest cost energy is a dollar which cannot be put towards R&D for cheaper green energy.”

          Not true, because the current “cheapest cost energy” costs a lot more than what you see on your monthly bill — its pollution costs money.

          The report

          “Hidden Costs of Energy: Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use”
          National Research Council, 2010
          http://books.nap.edu/catalog/12794.html

          found the cost from damages due to fossil fuel use to be $120B for 2005 (in 2007 dollars), a number that does not include climate change and that the study’s authors considered a “substantial underestimate.”

          For electricity generation by coal the external cost was 3.2 cents/kWh ($32/MWh), with damages due to climate change adding another 3 cents/kWh (for CO2e priced at $30/tonne). Transportation costs were a minimum of 1.2 cents/vehicle-mile, with at least another 0.5 cents/VM for climate change. Heat produced by natural gas caused damages calculated to be 11 cents/thousand cubic feet, with $2.10/Kcf in damages to the climate.

          They found essentially no damage costs from renewables. (Yes, some bird deaths – but then, buildings kill far more birds than wind turbines.)

          • Richard_Arrett

            David:

            I am talking about real money – not fake money.

            External costs is code for “we wish we could bill someone for these estimates – but cannot”.

            Every real dollar you spend on higher than necessary energy costs is a real dollar that cannot be spent on R&D to fix the problem once and for all.

          • DavidAppell

            Externalities are not “fake money” — they cause real problems that cost real money to address. You just don’t see that cost on your monthly electric bill or your gas station receipt. Maybe we should begin doing that.

          • Richard_Arrett

            Maybe we should.

            However, until we actually make people pay for them – no REAL dollars are being spent (and therefore diverted) on external costs and therefore these “costs” are “fake” (no one is paying for them).

            I am not in favor of pricing in externalities myself.

            I would hate to get a bill from a nearby star system for electromagnetic pollution – but hey – an alien might want us to pay for subjecting them to our radio and TV broadcasts.

          • DavidAppell

            “However, until we actually make people pay for them – no REAL dollars are being spent (and therefore diverted) on external costs.”

            The cost of asthma treatments aren’t “real?”
            Treatment for black lung disease doesn’t cost “real” money?
            Corn that doesn’t mature due to drought doesn’t cost the farmer real money?
            Lowered beef production due to drought doesn’t decrease supply and so raise beef prices in the grocery store?

          • Richard_Arrett

            People pay for insurance for health. The treatment for asthma is being paid for. Why should it be paid for twice? Ditto for black lung.

            Drought? Hard to put a price on that. The southwest had several centuries of drought during a millennium of 280ppm CO2 – if that happens again, are we going to blame it on CO2?

          • DavidAppell

            “People pay for insurance for health. The treatment for asthma is being paid for. Why should it be paid for twice?”

            Do you think maybe health insurance rates go up when more people have asthma with more serious consequences?

          • DavidAppell

            “The southwest had several centuries of drought during a millennium of 280ppm CO2 – if that happens again, are we going to blame it on CO2?”

            Regardless of the drought’s cause, AGW makes it worse, because warmer tempertatures increase evaportion rates, which decreases water supplies.

            Texas’s average temperaure has gone up by 1.0 F since 1895 (NOAA data). California’s by 2.2 F. And the saturation vapor pressure goes up with exponentially with temperature (the Clausius-Claperyon equation).

          • DavidAppell

            “an alien might want us to pay for subjecting them to our radio and TV broadcasts.”

            They might, if it costs them in some way, such as worse health or worse ecosystems. But until they show up, let’s focus on the externalities we know are already present on Earth.

          • Tom Scharf

            Don’t forget the positive externalities of cheap abundant energy. The problem with this line of thinking is that it only computes one side of the ledger.

            Automobiles have negative externalities, pollution, fatal accidents etc., but they clearly have positive externalities. Society chooses to drive cars.

            The fact that negative externalities exist is not relevant until you trade it off with the positive side of the ledger.

            It’s not entirely zero sum, but every additional dollar you spend on energy is a dollar not spent on cancer research or ….insert your favorite cause…

            It is not enough to say things would be better if we spent our money on green energy, you must win against all the other competing and just causes out there. Social safety net, defense, healthcare, education, foreign aid,

            The process of efficiently allocating the scarce resources (taxpayer money) is what government does. Everyone thinks their pet cause is the most worthy.

          • DavidAppell

            “Don’t forget the positive externalities of cheap abundant energy. The problem with this line of thinking is that it only computes one side of the ledger.”

            The positive externalities are those of *energy*, not a specific source of energy.

            No one forgets them, least of all economists, such as:

            “Environmental Accounting for Pollution in the United States Economy,” Nicholas Z. Muller, Robert Mendelsohn, and William Nordhaus, American Economic Review, 101(5): 1649–75 (2011).
            http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.101.5.1649

            To summarize that paper’s findings: for every $1 in value that comes from coal-generated electricity, it creates $2.20 in damages. Total damages: $70 billion per year (in 2012 dollars).

            Petroleum-generated electricity is even worse: $5.13 in damages for $1 in value.

          • Matt

            It goes both ways. Perhaps you’re ready to start paying the true price for renewables? Bioplastics for instance are many orders of magnitude less efficiently made than petroleum-based plastics. Green energy is subsidized by the public to a high degree.

          • DavidAppell

            “It goes both ways.”

            Yes, of course.

            “Bioplastics for instance are many orders of magnitude less efficiently made than petroleum-based plastics.”

            Why not use petroleum-based oil for plastics? It’s carbon is bound up in the plastic, and not emitted to the atmosphere.

            “Green energy is subsidized by the public to a high degree.”

            Carbon-based energy is subsidizes by a far higher amount. Fossil fuel companies keep the profits, while sending society the bills for health care and ecosystem damage, which is pure socialism: From each according to their smokestack, to each according to their lungs.

          • CB

            “Why not use petroleum-based oil for plastics? It’s carbon is bound up in the plastic, and not emitted to the atmosphere.”

            I suspect this is actually false. If you leave petroleum-based plastics out in the air long enough, I’m fairly certain they’ll eventually oxidise.

            I would agree that eliminating fossil plastic should be lower on our list of priorities than eliminating the extraction of fossil fuel for combustion.

          • DavidAppell

            Probably you’re right. But even a few decades would give us time to deal with that carbon. And for now we need oil for things like fertilizer and medications and Dapper Dan hair products.

          • DavidAppell

            “Every real dollar you spend on higher than necessary energy costs is a real dollar that cannot be spent on R&D to fix the problem once and for all.”

            Every dollar spent on asthma treatments exacerbated by ground-level ozone or acute bronchitis or disabilities due to methylmercury is a real dollar that cannot be spent on R&D to fix the problem once and for all.

  • Paul Shipley

    Glad to see common sense and compassion displacing Revelation theology among evangelicals. For too long, their philosophy was that stewardship of the environment was unnecessary and irrelevant in light of a belief that the End of Days was near. This new position–that saving the environment is the morally responsible thing to do–raises my opinion of conservative religious leaders.

    We have gone from the ignorance of when James Watt, former Secretary of the Interior under Reagan, stated that environmentalism wasn’t necessary because Armageddon was nigh.

    To hearing “Rather than letting our faith dictate our politics, we’ve gotten to the point for many of us where we’re letting our politics — typically what the Republican Party says — dictate our faith,” Katharine Hayhoe, an evangelical Christian who is a climate scientist at Texas Tech University, said in a telephone interview.
    Who would have thought the extreme evangelists would make more sense than the Republican Party.

    • Buddy199

      Before you get too smug, you might want to ponder Kloor’s last post about the Torquemadas of the Global Warming quasi-religious cult.

    • Jerry

      Some of your comments are somewhat ignorant and you come off as being judgmental and stereotyping all Christians. For one an evangelical Christian is somewhat of a double positive. And two, to assume we hold the same phylosophy of the End of Days and avoid environmental issues in light of is quite preposterous. Do you think we are all huddled around day by day clinching our Bibles, just waiting for Jesus’ return and not caring about our childrens future on this planet? That is an insult to intelligent, college educated, science minded Christians. What ever current prophecies you believe we are holding true in our present time, are followed by very few as coming soon.

      • Paul Shipley

        I was just making a judgement of how views have changed from THEN and NOW it seems as though there is a more pragmatic approach amongst the Christian community. I am sorry I insulted you, that was not the intention.

  • JH

    Well I daresay we’d be morally bereft if we enacted the kind of climate legislation that most climate activists envision.

    • Paul Shipley

      So most climate change people are activists or are you only concerned with what the people who understand what climate change is? Not likely that activists about anything would get anything through legislation. Just saying your rhetoric has a biased slant to it.

  • Tom Scharf

    I have no idea what climate change has to do with religion. This latest “silver bullet” framing of climate change as a moral issue is just plain confusing. I don’t get it. Do people refuse to believe in climate change due to the Bible? I guess I missed that verse. Abortion and gay marriage may be viewed pretty clearly as a moral issue one way or the other, but climate change?

    There have been endless sarcastic comments made about climate change being its own religion, and this just feeds that impression.

    • Richard_Arrett

      I agree with you.

      However, for those people who view climate change as a communication problem – they see the slice of USA which is conservative (religious people) – but may be swayed to adopt this liberal concept due to their religion’s stewardship values as targets for “advertising”.

    • Buddy199

      Ever watch Mad Men? It’s all about crafting an effective pitch for your dog food or hair tonic by associating it with something that makes you feel happy. Conflating climate change with a noble religious purpose is no different than associating Dos Equis beer with beautiful women who blankly hang on your every word. Same with pouring “social justice” over every pet cause as if it were ketchup.

  • Katya Kean

    They aren’t doing it politically, but Jehovah’s Witnesses have talked publicly, widely, and often about pollution and climate change as a moral issue from the beginning. But unlike other denominations, they believe the earth isn’t to be destroyed, but is to be turned into paradise, that humans are meant to care for the earth and creatures on it forever. It’s all on the jw(dot)org website.
    Religions that view this earth as a throw-away temporary home hardly have incentive to care for it. Alternately, native american religions and pagan religions care stongly about enviromnental issues.

  • Diane L. Hodiak

    Pay for mitigation rather than address climate change? Most scientists and white papers will say “Not acting on climate will cost considerably more, than acting.”

    Here in Oregon we are looking at perhaps severe impacts to fisheries, and agriculture, (already mid July, farmers have run out of water in some areas) Humans caused this problem, we can address it by lowering carbon. Cap and Trade , or the preferred Carbon Tax is one way to lower emissions. And despite what the fossil fuel industry says…the British Columbia carbontax DID NOT HURT the ECONOMY. they reduced carbon by 17%. Its politicians, supportedby bigoil companies that are blocking successful climate action. So, my suggestion is activism:

    http://ecowatch.com/2014/07/30/peoples-climate-march-launched-in-times-square/

    • Tom Scharf

      You might be low on water this year, and it might be due to “climate”, but the IPCC says it likely isn’t because of carbon or “climate change”. A carbon tax isn’t going to help.

      IPCC AR5:

      “In summary, the current assessment concludes that there is not enough evidence at present to suggest more than low confidence in a global-scale observed trend in drought or dryness (lack of rainfall) since the middle of the 20th century due to lack of direct observations, geographical inconsistencies in the trends, and dependencies of inferred trends on the index choice. Based on updated studies, AR4 conclusions regarding global increasing trends in drought since the 1970s were probably overstated. However, it is likely that the frequency and intensity of drought has increased in the Mediterranean and West Africa and decreased in central North America and north-west Australia since 1950”

    • Matt

      Much of what I’ve read shows mitigation is much more effective than “prevention.”

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Collide-a-Scape

Collide-a-Scape is a wide-ranging blog forum that explores issues at the nexus of science, culture and society.

About Keith Kloor

Keith Kloor is a NYC-based journalist, and an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. His work has appeared in Slate, Science, Discover, and the Washington Post magazine, among other outlets. From 2000 to 2008, he was a senior editor at Audubon Magazine. In 2008-2009, he was a Fellow at the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Journalism, in Boulder, where he studied how a changing environment (including climate change) influenced prehistoric societies in the U.S. Southwest. He covers a wide range of topics, from conservation biology and biotechnology to urban planning and archaeology.

ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »