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Should the Church Fight Climate Change?

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

It’s freezing outside, making this a good time to address the polarizing subject of global warming. The idea that man has caused the earth to warm at alarming rates has few skeptics these days, even though there is mounting evidence that climate change is one thing of many that we simply cannot control.

Earlier this month it was reported that Dr. James Hansen, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) and an adviser to Al Gore, made another huge blunder, leading to more doubts about whether we can trust the scientific community’s claim that man-made greenhouse gases are destroying our planet. Hansen announced that last month was the “hottest October on record.” Christopher Booker writes,

This was startling. Across the world there were reports of unseasonal snow and plummeting temperatures last month, from the American Great Plains to China, and from the Alps to New Zealand. China’s official news agency reported that Tibet had suffered its “worst snowstorm ever”. In the US, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration registered 63 local snowfall records and 115 lowest-ever temperatures for the month, and ranked it as only the 70th-warmest October in 114 years.

The anomaly was explained when it was discovered that GISS had carried over figures from September to October, which would obviously make October appear to be warmer than it really was.  A GISS spokesman explained that the reason for the error was that they were obtained from another body, and that GISS did not have resources to exercise proper quality control over the data it was supplied with.  But it is hard to interpret this as a mistake, since Hansen has been caught making similar blunders in the past.  In 2007, for example, he was forced to revise figures which had inaccurately reported the 1990s to be the hottest decade on record, changing them to show that this distinction really belongs to the 1930s.

After reading the facts, one begins to feel as if the wool is being pulled over his eyes–which isn’t half-bad, since it is so cold outside.

Although the march to correct climate change is ill-advised, some religious leaders are trying to pull Christians into the fray.  Brian McLaren, a leader in the Emerging Church Movement, spoke at a recent Hope08 conference, saying the world “is on a precipice” as it struggles to deal with the three “tremendously frightening crises” of climate change, poverty and war.

Is climate change an issue churches should be involved with?  Can Christians conscientiously cavort with environmentalists to protect the planet?  One example from China argues otherwise.  Yesterday, Chris Horner, author of Red Hot Lies, was interviewed on the Glenn Beck Show.  During the course of the interview he mentioned that China wants to sell carbon credits to Europe and the U.S.  This is curious, because China is one of the biggest polluters in the world.  Where did they get the carbon credits?  Their experts have crunched some numbers to see what effect their forced-abortion policies have had on the environment and have found that China is slowing the trend toward climate change through population control.

China’s proposals are only the tip of the iceberg.  Give environmentalism some time and see where it takes us.  Abortion won’t be the only atrocity upheld in the name of Mother Earth.  Already Christian leaders like McLaren are putting the planet ahead of spiritual matters like sin and redemption through Christ.  If more churches join the fight against climate change, there’s no telling what religion in America will look like in a decade.

The church doesn’t have any business delving into politics and environmentalism.  Leave the fiction of man-made climate change to creative people like James Hansen.  If anyone is interested in the truth, they can still find it where churches are preaching the gospel.