The globe is warming, it's our fault and the consequences are going to be terrible. So goes the rhetoric spouted by politicians, celebrities and the media.
It's hard to turn on the TV or open a newspaper these days without hearing about the horrors caused by our warming climate. We can expect more floods, droughts, hurricanes and tornadoes as global warming continues, and pretty soon we'll have to flee from the coasts as the polar ice caps melt and our shorelines flood.
But is it a crisis? The globe is warming, but is it really all our fault? And is it true the debate is over? No. What you think you know may not be so.
I interviewed some scientists who say the debate is by no means over. John Christy and Roy Spencer won NASA's Medal for Exceptional Achievement for figuring out how to get temperature data from satellites.
"We all agree that it's warmed," Spencer said. "The big question is, and the thing we dispute is, is it because of mankind?"
Climate changes, they say, always has, with or without man. Early last century, even without today's huge output of carbon dioxide, the Arctic went through a warming period.
Greenland's temperatures rose 50 percent faster in the 1920s and reached higher average temperatures in the 1930s and 1940s than today's temperatures.
Some scientists argue the warming might be caused by changes in the sun, or ocean currents, or changes in cloud cover, or other things we don't yet understand. The debate is not over.
You can read John Stossell's post, "Man vs. Nature: Challenging Conventional Views About Global Warming," here.
Thank you for this, because this what I believe but have always been shouted down. You see, I remember the 1930s and 1940s! But we still ought to do our part in preventing further warming.
The problem with the argument is that it seems to require an extreme human mea culpa for global warming, or a total absolution of human misuse of resources that degrade the environment. What if the question gets reframed in terms of stewardship of God's creation? Then we would have a moral obligation to do as little harm as possible to it in our own day while also doing what we can to assure environmental well being for generations yet to come. All of that would occur within the context of whatever natural changes may, or may not, be happening. That we are doing great harm tot he environment is indisputable. That we could be much better stewards of it is obvious.
Exactly, which is something I have been saying for a long time. That we debate the causes of global warming is necessary, but whether or not, and to what extent, human beings are the cause is of no consequence, only in that Christians are called to be good stewards of creation regardless. In other words, whatever the truth about global warming, we are responsible to care for creation.
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