Tuesday, February 5, 2008

What do you know about climate change? I mean, really. Other than "feeling" it is getting hotter or rejecting it outright because "liberals" promote it or running scared because "those pesky scientists" say it is occurring or giving it your sweeping approval because it makes you feel smart. Other than those reasons, what do you really know about climate change?

Unfortunately, most people know precious little about global climate change, although if you ask them about it, they will probably dribble off a patchwork of facts and figures they picked up from MSNBC in their dentist's waiting room.

So, where can someone go to get a basic grasp on what everyone is talking about? Is there an unbiased resource out there?

Actually, there aren't that many. Becuase this issue has become so polarized, most resources I have looked at come with a seriously-biased slant. Before you waste time filling your mind with useless propoganda (what I call "faction"--a mix of fact and fiction), research who has written the work you are considering. Here are two basic guidelines:

1. Make sure the person is qualified to write the work. If the book discusses the validity of climate science, make sure the author is a) a scientist and b) active in a related branch of science or at least seriously involved with this issue. Likewise, if you want to discuss the validity of various economical solutions, it might be a good idea to find out what an economist has to say.

2. Check out the person's employer. Many resources are funded by think-tanks whose sole mission is to push the agenda of a particular political faction. I would urge you to stay away from these.

Once you have weeded out everything using these two guidelines, you will find ... well ... not alot.

Recently, I began sifting through the garbage to find an apple core of unbiased substance and I am proud to recommend a great book that is written by a Atmospheric Scientist who is employed by MIT. In "What We Know About Climate Change," Kerry Emmanuel outlines the basic foundations you need to begin discussing this issue with confidence--and he does so with brevity (you can finish this book in an afternoon) and simple language.

Want a fair presentation on the controversial subject of global climate change so you can understand and contribute to the conversation? Pick up this book and you will be well on your way.



Anyone know of another informative resource--book, web or otherwise?

20 comments:

Karen A. Bowlby said...

Thanks for the comment :) I like how you went looking for the unbiased information on global warming - it's kind of what I'm trying to do with politics with my Zero to Sixty blog. It's a great way to really figure out what you do and don't believe, and really interesting to see how much fact can be watered down with opinion. Keep writing... it's how conversations are started:)

Karen A. Bowlby said...

You're right... I'm not sure about the validity of that generalization. However, I do know quite a few Republicans that do not consider global warming a priority - I've too often heard the comment "we don't have to worry about it, because whatever happens, happens - and it's God's will." And, while I believe God's will happens with or without us, I do believe we have a huge responsibility as caretakers of the Earth. Let's hope that the winds are changing in the Republican party...

The Evangelical Ecologist said...

Jonathan,

Admire you for taking this on, and look forward to see how the SBC's statement on ecology and climate reads. Will be praying for you over the next couple weeks too. Have a feeling you're going to need it.

If you are willing to consider shooting me an early copy for review I'd be honored. (drop me a note at evaneco - at - gmail.com)

Blogged about your predicament here. Hopefully both the "climate change faithful" and we of the Southern Baptist faithful can find some middle ground that lets us hold our ground on scriptural integrity while acknowledging God's call to stewardship of the planet - and the atmosphere.

We must also never lose sight of the way God can use ecology as an opportunity for outreach and missions to folks who would never darken a church door. Accepting human-induced global warming whole cloth is tough to endorse. But I do think a hard line against at least supporting climate change research puts an unecessary limit on that outreach. Don't know whether your SBC statement will go there, but that's my two cents.

I would recommend to you Ed Brown's "Our Father's World", Matt Sleeth's "Serve God, Save the Planet" and Tri Robinson's "Saving God's Green Earth" for some good, evangelical-friendly references on Christian ecology, ministry, and missions.

And of course, as Christian eco-bloggers, I hope we can keep in touch.

Grace and peace,
Don Bosch
The Evangelical Ecologist
www.evaneco.com

Living Hope In Jesus said...

Have you ever taken "a peek" at Revelation wherein it says that God Almighty Jesus Christ is going to scorch men with fire? HE is gradually turning up the heat of the sun. We expect the ungodly world to take hold of a farce cause such as "global warming", but a seminary student that claims to know God and His Word???

The wisdom of man is surely foolishness with The Almighty God and LORD Jesus Christ just as He states in His inerrant and infallible Word.

Surely the last days are upon us.

Go back to your Bible, son, and ask God to open your eyes to His truth about (falsely-called) "global warming".

Living Hope In Jesus
www.livinghopeinjesus.com

The Evangelical Ecologist said...

Revelations - yep. How about takin' a peek at Rev 11:18. Or the fact that when Christ is speaking to the Church in Laodicea he calls Himself “The ruler of God’s creation."

Your statement is a straw dog, brother. When God does return and destoy the earth through fire it won't be by way of the sun, and it won't be a half a degree celcius every couple decades. It will be the fire of the Holy wrath of God Himself.

Until that happens, God's people are commanded to be good stewards of His resources, and that includes His earth. That means reducing pollution and unecessary emissions (CO2, methane) from our vehicles and power plants.

Going to state the truth in love here: Statements like yours ring of the sort of King James -thumping dominionism that have kept the Church from being relevant in the environmental debate. The "luke warm" attitude of Christians walking away from this debate has led to the whole discussion being run by liberals and new-age religious folk, and we risk a whole generation of folks being pushed into poverty by onerous environmental regulations because the Church didn't step up and move in the Power of Christ to solve the problem. The Church did the same thing by abandoning the poor and downtrodden and the rights of women in the civil rights movement, so the State had to step in and take over. The country hasn't been the same since.

Checked out your website. You want to have a relavent, Spirit-filled ministry? Here's a whole list of scriptures out of the Bible on environmental stewardship. How about doing some homework of your own, pastor.

Respectfully,
db

Maxwell said...

"The "luke warm" attitude of Christians walking away from this debate the whole discussion being run by liberals and new-age religious folk "

I really really really don't understand this comment.
1) The whole conversation was started by liberals, and is still run by liberals.
What is your point?
I furthere contend that the ENTIRE , and I do mean , ENTIRE debate is nothing more than a means to an end. The means "declare global warming to be a fact" , the end "a bigger government is the solution"



I won't enter into a serious discussion of the merits of the "global warming" or "global climate change" debate in this post, as I am not sure that it is appropriate here, maybe someone could point me to where it would be.

daniel said...

Jonathan,

Congratulations on your efforts. I am probably what some would describe as a liberal but I have always had faith that our mission here was one of stewardship rather than dominion. I am a bit of a lay expert on many aspects of the science of climate change. I have been aware and growing concerned as the evidence of man-made change has accrued and I would like to better understand the theological underpinnings of the skeptic position.

As a relatively new member of mychurch community, I am starting small and developing a community garden for our youth and young adult ministry. But I would like to offer my service and participate in the debate in the ecumenical community. Any idea where that journey would start?

Anonymous said...

You insult us by saying that you did an honest unbias search into the global warming debate. Scientific global warming "consensus" is a myth perpetrated by the global governance crowd. Can you reference for me a recent peer reviewed study which supports your view instead of a book which can be read cover to cover over lunch.

Anonymous said...

Jonathan, I just read this AP article on Yahoo News and in it they write:

"Even so, Jonathan Merritt, a student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, began rallying denominational leaders to take a different approach. Merritt, 25, son of former convention president James Merritt, said a theology class had inspired him.

His professor had compared destroying God's creation to "tearing a page out of the Bible."

"That struck me. It broke me," the younger Merritt said in an interview, "and that was the impetus that began a life change, a shift of perspective for me.""

What makes you, or anyone else think that we measly human beings have the power to destroy God's creation? Your professor is obviously a liberal in disguise trying to brainwash you into believing in junk science. Follow the money...the people who have the most to gain in "proving" that global warming (or climate change, as they like to say now that we are on to them) exists are the government-funded scientists who are pushing this myth. They will lose their jobs when and if the world wakes up.

daniel said...

Free will. I am God's creation and I can readily destroy myself. But I follow God's will and avoid poisonous substances and behaviors that threaten his creation, me. I do not think that anyone is arguing that we humans threaten all of creation. We just threaten to do it enough harm to make it unpleasant for significnt numbers of people. The earth will remain. Mankind will survive. Polynesia may not. The Sahara will continue to grow. Canada will be just fine (probably). But since the people of Africa, South Asia, and the rest of the tropical belt are just as much God's creationas we are, perhaps we can consider taking actions to ensure that our enjoyment of the cornucopia is not in fact gluttonous hoarding of resources and generation of waste that robs and poisons our brothers and sisters in far away places with funny names.

Remember the dodo bird? It is one of many of God's creations that we have destroyed. I think all the climate change people are saying is, lots of little changes can add up to a big change that we may not like so much.

Jonathan, once again, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hey Daniel, I'm so glad you are concerned about the comfort of "our brothers from little far away places". You just don't want them to be able to drive a car or refrigerate their food. It is the development of these "funny named places" that is supposedly threatening our planet according to your environmental brethren.

Maxwell said...

Daniel
"What makes you, or anyone else think that we measly human beings have the power to destroy God's creation?"

I can't speak for anonymous, but what I think they may have been saying is that we humans can not destroy the Earth. That point is fairly clear in Revelatons.

The problem with this entire blog is that we are two or three "premises" deep.

1) It's getting warmer.
2) Getting warmer is bad.
3) what's causing it to get warmer?
4.....

I can post evidence to this site that #1 is wrong.
so why are are arguing about 5 6 or 7?

How about this question?
Who decided what the "perfect" temperature is?
i.e. getting warmer is bad or getting colder is bad.
The climate is constantly changing.

"we can consider taking actions to ensure that our enjoyment of the cornucopia is not in fact gluttonous hoarding of resources"
Daniel,
It's sad to see you repeat the liberal guilt complex.
While you don't state the U.S.A here , I'm somewhat sure that's what you meant.
I don't believe the whole CO2 argument , but if I were arguing it scientifically, did you know that "fossil fuels" are not the #1 or #2 producer of CO2?
Funny since no one discussing regulating #1 or #2.
China is number one with burning of charcoal.
Yes, charcoal is the number one cooking fuel in China and with a 1 billion population largely in rural areas without electricity.
Charcoal produces lots of CO2.

But I digress. If the SBC wants to not be timid,
How about being not timid about the fact that
that most of the temperature figures for the environmental movement are from oranications run by the U.N. ?
When you are ready to get serious, let's start this argument at #1 and #2 , not # 5 or #6.

Anonymous said...

Maxwell,

Charcoal is a fossil fuel - check out your science.

Dennis

daniel said...

While it is future development that continues to threaten the balance of gases in our atmosphere, 150 years of unstifled western development have played no small role in the creating the problem. I don't want to rob any culture of their right to economic development. I just think it might be prudent for us to cut down on our use of single passenger SUVs in order to make room for the inevitable growth.

daniel said...

While it is future development that continues to threaten the balance of gases in our atmosphere, 150 years of unstifled western development have played no small role in the creating the problem. I don't want to rob any culture of their right to economic development. I just think it might be prudent for us to cut down on our use of single passenger SUVs in order to make room for the inevitable growth.

Maxwell said...

Charcoal is NOT a fossil fuel, it's made from compressed charred wood.

Also, if anyone here would like to check science,
start checking the science of say, where does oil come from? Google it, check out a few websites.
There are still two theories, one of which states that fossil fuels are not fossil fuels at all, check out the science on that!
I remember my science book in grade/high school stated that oil came from decaying dinosaurs.
Guess what, now everyone knows that's wrong.
If they are fossil fuels , it must be from other sources, it's pretty obvious that even with 100's of millions of dinosaurs, it would not have produced the amount of oil we have harvested. So where is it coming from?

daniel said...

I think this is getting a little silly. Charcoal is prevalent in many areas with no access to other forms of cooking fuel. And charcoal produces lots of CO2, but nowhere near the volume of CO2 as is released in the coal powered plants being built at the rate of one per week in China, and at slower rates around the globe. The cause of greenhouse gas pollution is not the ultra poor person cooking dinner but the developed and developing economies fueling their growth with coal and other fossil-based power.

I can promise you that your HS science book did not say that fossil fuels come from decaying dinosaurs. The books said decaying organic matter. Much more likely forests and bogs and the occasional unlucky dinosaur. I am extremeley curious as to who "they" are who are saying that is wrong, and what the alternative hypothesis is. And what the research is that supports their and refutes the previous understanding.

Maxwell said...

Daniel,
I agree it's silly.
1st you said charcoal was a fossil fuel.
Now you admit it's not.
I can promise you that your HS science book did not say that fossil fuels come from decaying dinosaurs.
This is the 2nd silly thing, I still have numerous textbooks from school, and yes two of them have pictures of the dinosaurs and the oil they produced.
If necessary I can scan them, but that'd be silly.
To satisfy your curiosity here's just one, link describing the difference between biogenic and abiogenic fuel theories
http://www.livescience.com/environment/051011_oil_origins.html
This is a neutral site and is only one explanation of the theories.
Now what is silliest is that I keep posting things that are correct, and back in my original post I stated we are debating the wrong thing,
1) Is it getting warmer
2) Is CO2 causing it?
I will close with this, there is a HUGE difference between causation and correlation.
What if it's getting warmer and that is allowing more CO2 to collect? What if it's the Sun that is causing the cycle, (which will end) ?
What will be silly is when people start proposing solutions to block the Sun.

Jason said...

This is the problem, we leave an area of eternal importance that has an authoritative document. We are entering an area that is A)very political B)Very Political. While you have very nice thoughts, you should do constructive things, but don't take a denomination down a road of conjecture w/ no authoritative document or source. By even trying to promote a "non-biased" book should lead us to question what type of authority should anyone place in you & your group. I think we have all lived long enough to realize that nothing is "non-biased".

Anonymous said...

Wow. I am really impressed. You know, I work at a very conservative, Evangelically-based Christian College, and I was just able to spearhead a campus clean up day. We had one of the largest turnouts in the history of our college. I believe the next generation of believers is very environment-conscious, and I can’t wait to see how this positively affects our planet. I think this is right on the money scripturally and reflects the social climate in which we live. Green is in! Yay!