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Environmental concerns and climate change

Part 3: Christians, Republicans' & Democrats'
beliefs differ. Volcanoes cause a temporary
pause in global warming. Webmaster's opinion.

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This topic is continued from the previous essay

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opposing hand gestures2013-JUL: Opposing statements by Christians:

  • Denial of climate change: The senior Oklahoma Senator, Jim Inhofe (R), said:

    "The book of Genesis tells us that the cold and heat, summers and winters will not cease, and I believe the God who spoke these words is still up there and in control. We have seen environmentalists disregarded the term 'global warming' and adopt the phrase 'climate change,' because there will be cold, there will be heat, there will be summer and there will be winter, but the earth shall not cease. Furthermore, more than 60 percent of weathercasters recently polled for a study done by George Mason University believe that any global warming that occurs is the result of 'natural variation' and not 'human activities.' There is no question that we should be good stewards of what God has given us, but the global warming alarmists are using gloom-and-doom, fear-based tactics to advance their environmentalist agenda which will eliminate job opportunities and slow economic growth." 6

  • A petition to Congress to act on reducing climate change: 200 evangelical Christian, all of whom "... either teaches science at an academic institution or ... have a PhD in one of the hard sciences, such as chemistry, biology, or physics" signed the petition. One of the signatories, Dr. Hal Reed, a biologist at Oral Roberts University, has personally observed species of insects moving into Oklahoma as one effect of climate change. He said:

    "We keep seeing some of the more tropical or subtropical species that are moving northward. ... We start seeing there is a Biblical mandate to take care of God's creation. Genesis 2:15 talks about taking care of the garden. ... I just challenge people to look at the Scriptures, look at our lifestyle, try to connect, as Christians, how we live, how we live in this world with other people, but it's also with the world God gave us." 6

    The petition is directed to House Speaker Boehner (R), Senate Majority Leader Reid (D), and Members of the United States Congress. It says:

    "As evangelical scientists and academics, we understand climate change is real and action is urgently needed. All of God's Creation - humans and our environment - is groaning under the weight of our uncontrolled use of fossil fuels, bringing on a warming planet, melting ice, and
    rising seas. The negative consequences and burdens of a changing climate will fall disproportionately on those whom Jesus called "the least of these": the poor, vulnerable, and oppressed. Our nation has entrusted you with political power; we plead with you to lead on this
    issue and enact policies this year that will protect our climate and help us all to be better stewards of Creation.

    Average global temperatures are at their highest level within the measurement record, and we are beginning to see indications of increasingly disturbed weather. For example, 2012 was the hottest year ever recorded for the contiguous United States, and it will go down as one of the most destructive and disruptive years in U.S. history: wildfires, drought, superstorms, and public health outbreaks. This past year is only one example of the patterns of change we expect to see as the climate warms globally. We're already spending billions in emergency aid for the victims of hurricanes and weather disasters, and these expenses will only increase as the "once in a lifetime" storms become the new normal.

    The Bible tells us that "love does no harm to its neighbor" (Romans 13:10), yet the way we live now harms our neighbors, both locally and globally. For the world's poorest people, climate change means dried-up wells in Africa, floods in Asia that wash away crops and homes,
    wildfires in the U.S. and Russia, loss of villages and food species in the Arctic, environmental refugees, and disease. Our changing climate threatens the health, security, and well-being of millions of people who are made in God's image. The threat to future generations and global prosperity means we can no longer afford complacency and endless debate. We as a society risk being counted among "those who destroy the earth" (Revelation 11:18). We call on you to pass meaningful legislation during this Congress to reduce carbon emissions and protect our environment, thereby strengthening the long-term outlook for our economy and our children. As Christian scientists and educators, we offer our knowledge, experience, and prayerful witness to assist you and all of our nation's leaders who are willing to address this urgent challenge." 7

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2014-FEB: Pause in global warming believed to be caused by volcanoes:

Climate scientists have reached a near consensus that global warming is happening. However, the world's yearly average temperature does not increase smoothly. A temperature graph looks more like the side-view of a staircase rather than a smooth ramp. There are intervals of time, about 15 years in length when the average world temperature is relatively constant, and then a rapid temperature rise to a higher level:

Drawing of a staircase

Drawing of a staircase for visualization
purposes (not a graph of global temperatures)

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Webmaster's option (bias alert):

Climate change deniers often claim that global warming is not happening. As proof, they often point out that the world's temperature has been more or less constant over the past 15 years. Either:

  • They are unaware of the staircase nature of global warming, in which case they can be ignored because they can hardly be considered as experts, or

  • They are aware of the staircase phenomenon, in which case they can be ignored because they are being deceitful.

End of the bias alert.

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Global temperatures expected to resume increasing:

As of 2014-MAR, we are nearing the end of an interval of relatively constant temperature and can expect a rapid increase in the near future.

Volcanoes are known to release tiny particles of sulphur high into the atmosphere. They reflect sunlight, prevent the sun's rays from warming the ground as much, and cause the Earth's surface temperatures to drop.

Dr Benjamin Santer wrote an article the journal Nature Geoscience which said in part:

"We show that climate model simulations without the effects of early 21st century volcanic eruptions overestimate the tropospheric warming observed since 1998. To reduce these uncertainties, better observations of eruption-specific properties of volcanic aerosols are needed, as well as improved representation of these eruption-specific properties in climate model simulations." 7

A massive volcanic eruption -- the largest in the 20th century -- occurred in 1991 when Mount Pinatubo exploded. It ejecting millions of tons of ash and gas into the atmosphere, reaching an altitude of 21 miles. The average world temperatures dropped by up to 0.5 C over the next two years. Seventeen smaller eruptions occurred between the year 2000 and 2009.

Professor Piers Forster, from the University of Leeds, specializes in the Earth's climate. He said:

"Volcanoes give us only a temporary respite from the relentless warming pressure of continued increases in CO2."

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This topic continues in the next essay.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Dan Bewley, "Oklahoma Scientists, Christians, Urge Congress To Act On Climate Change," NewsOn6.com, 2013-JUL-22, at: http://www.newson6.com/story/
  2. Hal Reed et al., "Petition to Speaker Boehner, et al., signed by 200 scientists/educators, Sojourners, 2013-JUL-10, at: http:/sojo.net
  3. Raveena Aulakh, "Rising sea levels will seal fate of 316 U.S. cities, study warns," Toronto Star, 2013-JUL-31, at: http://www.thestar.com/
  4. Rebecca Riffkin, "Climate change not a top worry in U.S.," Gallup, 2014-MAR-12, at: http://www.gallup.com/
  5. Jeffrey M. Jones, "In U.S., Most Do Not See Global Warming as Serious Threat," Gallup, 2014-MAR-13, at: http://www.gallup.com/
  6. Jeffrey M. Jones, "Americans Don't Attribute Colder Weather to Climate Change," Gallup, 2014-MAR-14, at: http://www.gallup.com/
  7. "Volcanoes behind global warming 'pause' - scientists," New Zealand Herald, 2014-FEB-24, at: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/

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Copyright © 2013 & 2014 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted: 2013-JUL
Latest update: 2014-SEO-27
Author: B.A. Robinson


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