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The science behind climate change

Twenty minutes before midnight on April 14, 1912, the alarm “Iceberg right ahead!” echoed across the Titanic. The view from the bridge must have been terrifying, along with the sickening realization that a ship the size of the Titanic could not maneuver quickly or nimbly enough to avoid collision.

Less than one minute after the alarm sounded, the collision occurred. Within three hours one of the most iconic of naval disasters was complete. The tragedy was made even more poignant by the fact that the most important warning, a message from another ship that there were icebergs in Titanic’s path, was never relayed to the bridge.

Acting on these warnings may well be one of the most faith-full acts we can perform as God’s people.

Could the Titanic serve as a metaphor for Earth and Earth’s climate? I would like to argue that, unlike the crew of the Titanic, we’ve been receiving warnings from many quarters that we sail on troubled waters. Warnings have trickled into the “bridge” of our understanding for more than a century, but the most alarming warnings have come in the past 20 years. Is the message getting through, or are we too headed for disaster?

The warnings about Earth’s climate come from a rich diversity of research fields. We’ve received warnings that tell us about carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, changes in global temperature, mass extinctions of critical species, sea-level rise, and changes in ocean chemistry. Acting on these warnings may well be one of the most faith-full acts we can perform as God’s people.

Weather and Climate

It’s easy to scoff at claims about future climate change with dismissive comments about not being able to predict the weather tomorrow. Weather refers to the short-term behavior of air temperature, humidity, and pressure. This is inherently difficult—if not impossible—to predict over long periods of time.

Climate,on the other hand, is the long-term average of weather in which all of the chaotic and unpredicable bits are smoothed out. Farmers and gardeners understand climate very well. It is important to keep this distinction in mind when talking about climate change. Said differently, “Climate is what you expect. Weather is what you get!”

Our Fragile Atmosphere

It may seem odd to describe the atmosphere as “fragile.” Indeed, when you see the destructive potential of weather, it’s easy to doubt that humans can have any influence on weather and climate. Understanding the fragility of our atmosphere is one of the first steps needed to understand how we can and have influenced Earth’s climate.

Our weather and climate originate, for the most part, in the layer of the atmosphere called the troposphere. When flying across the continent you are at the top of the troposphere. Think of this 10-mile-thick layer of air as equivalent to a glossy layer of shellac on a schoolroom globe—that’s about the right proportion between the thickness of the atmosphere and the size of the Earth.

Seen that way, it becomes less surprising that we might affect Earth’s atmosphere. We are completely dependent on this fragile layer for all complex life on the planet, and it’s easy to quantify both the mass of the atmosphere and how much stuff we put into it each year. This is where we encounter our first “global warning.”

What Carbon Dioxide Tells Us

The graph shown in Figure 1 is one of the most significant graphs ever produced. It is the Keeling Curve (named after Charles Keeling) and shows the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the air from 1957 (when the first measurements were made) to the spring of 2011.

The graph’s gentle up-and-down wiggles provide a wonderful “picture” of our planet breathing. Each spring as the Northern Hemisphere greens up, plants absorb carbon dioxide, and the concentration of the gas drops in the atmosphere. As we enter winter, plants die and CO2 is returned to the atmosphere. Such wondrous balance in creation!

Yet there is an ominous side to this diagram. The steady growth in the concentration of CO2 is alarming. Why?

Figure 1: The Keeling curve, showing CO2 concentration in Earth's atmosphere

Even in small amounts of parts per million (or ppm), CO2 plays an essential role in our atmosphere. CO2 is called a “greenhouse gas” (or GHG) because of its important warming function in the atmosphere.

The Earth receives energy from the sun in the form of light. The Earth warms and achieves a balance with its cosmic environment by emitting energy back to space. This is a basic fact of physics: the net energy in must balance the net energy out. The energy leaving Earth emits not as visible light but as long wavelength infrared (heat) waves. Greenhouse gases (which include water vapor, methane, nitrous oxide, and others) are able to trap some of this outgoing heat energy. Without the benefit of greenhouse gases, our atmosphere and Earth would be much colder!

The rise in CO2 levels from 1750 to the present matches very closely our use of fossil fuels.

BUT if we have too much CO2 in the atmosphere, then we have a different problem: the atmosphere warms up too much.

For most of human history the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has been around 270 ppm. Beginning with the industrial revolution (roughly around the year 1750) there has been an accelerating rise in CO2 levels, which has resulted in serious changes in global temperature.

We can take this just a bit further. The rise in CO2 levels from 1750 to the present matches very closely our use of fossil fuels. It is a simple calculation to show that the amount of extra CO2 in the atmosphere is almost entirely due to the release of CO2 from fossil fuel combustion. The first alarm has sounded: we need to change course with respect to greenhouse gas emissions!

Warning from the Past

Tree rings, coral reefs, and ice cores allow us to peer back in time to understand what Earth’s climate was like hundreds of thousands of years ago. The current level of CO2 in our atmosphere (about 390 ppm) is much higher than at any time in the past million years of Earth’s climate. In this lies a warning. We understand how CO2 and temperature are related—it’s a subtle feedback effect with CO2 playing the role of the atmosphere’s “thermostat.” By increasing the levels of CO2 and other greenhouse gases, we’re setting the Earth’s atmospheric thermostat higher. The danger is that by doing this we’re in effect running an experiment that we poorly understand.

Figure 2 shows us what may be at stake. This graph shows 100,000 years of Earth’s climate history, a history marked by large-scale changes in temperature. The exception to this is what has happened over the past 10,000 years. This is the Holocene Era (circled on the graph) and is the time in which Earth’s climate has been remarkably stable. This has permitted the development of agriculture and flourishing civilizations.

The warning from the past is this: Earth’s climate tends to be much less constant than it has been for the past 10,000 years and we, by affecting climate, may well be heading back to “climate chaos.”

Figure 2: The past 100,000 years of Earth's temperature history

What Our Thermometers Tell Us

The once majestic ice fields of Glacier National Park and other regions of the Rockies are melting. I first visited the Columbia Ice Fields more than 50 years ago. Today, this once vast glacier has retreated and is only a fraction of its former self. The lovely Angel Glacier (Figure 3) in Jasper is all but gone. In Africa the fabled “Snows of Kilimanjaro” will disappear by 2030.

Glacier retreat is a worldwide phenomenon that has accelerated noticeably over the past century. Temperature change in the Arctic is even more extreme. Polar ice is thinning rapidly, and it is almost certain that by the end of this century the northern polar cap will disappear in the late summer months.

Figure 3: Angel Glacier in Jasper National Park—just one of Earth's endangered glaciers.

Angel Glacier http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Angel_glacier.jpg

Understanding temperature data over the past 1,000 years is challenging. Daily variations in temperature (weather) can easily hide the much smaller, gradual shifts in average temperature (climate). Despite this, numerous techniques tell us that from about A.D. 1000 to  A.D. 1500, Earth was in the “Medieval Warm” period, with a gradual decline in global temperature that bottomed-out in the “Little Ice Age” of the 1600s. Since then, global temperature has started to rise. The current rate of temperature change is almost 10 times the rate observed in the past, and it provides a graphic illustration of what is now a virtual certainty: Earth is heating up, and the rise in temperature cannot be explained completely by natural phenomena. Sea-level rise and an increase in frequency of extreme weather events (including tornados and hurricanes) appear to be a consequence of the increase in global temperature.

Human-caused temperature change over the past 50 years is approximately 0.9 degrees F, with a possible total increase of between 3.5 to 9 F by the year 2100.

A 1-degree shift may not sound like much, but that is believed to be about the size of the temperature shift that occurred during the Medieval Warming. It is also believed to be a major cause of the collapse of the Mayan civilization and that of the mysterious Anasazi of Arizona.

A temperature change of 9 degrees would be about the magnitude that took Earth from the last ice age to present global temperatures. We don’t know where we are headed here, except that global mean temperature increase will, by 2100, be somewhere in the 3.5 to 9 F range. A change of 2 degrees F would be significant; a change of 9 degrees F would be catastrophic.

What the Oceans Tell Us

“Because of this the land mourns, and all who live in it waste away; the beasts of the field and the birds of the air and the fish of the sea are dying”(Hosea 4:3).

Our oceans are ill. Atmospheric carbon dioxide is absorbed (and regulated) by the oceans. When CO2 dissolves in water, a mild acid (carbonic acid) forms. Eventually CO2 is sequestered in the shells and bodies of aquatic life. However, as the amount of CO2 increases in the atmosphere and more is absorbed into the oceans, the oceans become increasingly acidic.

It’s not too late for us to change course.

The oceans are more acidic today than they have been in the past 20 million years. The change in ocean acidity correlates directly with increased CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. It is becoming clear: the oceans are providing an urgent warning that we must change our CO2 habits. Put simply, the minute organisms that are the base of the aquatic food chain and produce 70 percent of Earth’s oxygen (our planet’s “lungs”) are in grave jeopardy.

Heeding the Warnings

We are stewards of a wonderful creation. As a scientist I am humbled that God has given us the insight, intellect, and tools to understand, in part, this subtle and ever-surprising planet. What we know clearly is that we are having a profound and potentially catastrophic effect on the climate of Earth.

What can we do about that? Perhaps the first thing is to become knowledgeable about climate change. We need to get past the rhetoric and emotional language and learn some of the fundamental science behind it. It’s not too late for us to change course, but to do so we all must understand the basic causes of human-induced climate change.

Second, we can encourage our political leaders to work with us to find ways to reduce our CO2 “footprint.” Yes, we can do our part as individuals, but we must also act as nations. Write to your political representatives and encourage them to “do the right thing.”

Third, act in faith that we are called to be stewards and that we can make a difference.

To learn more about climate change and to access online resources including those created by The King’s Centre for Visualization in Science, please see explainingclimatechange.ca.

For Discussion
  1. What personal experience have you had with the effects of climate change? How does this affect you?
  2. What’s the difference between weather and climate?
  3. Why is the steady growth in the concentration of COâ‚‚ alarming?
  4. Do you agree that the growth of COâ‚‚ is a result of fossil fuels? Why or why not?
  5. How does COâ‚‚ affect the oceans?
  6. What does God require of us to help heal the land and all living things?

About the Author

An astrophysicist by training, Dr. Brian Martin is professor of physics and astronomy at The King’s University College in Edmonton, Alberta. He also codirects the King’s Centre for Visualization in Science and, with colleague Peter Mahaffy and a team of gifted undergraduate students, produces web-based resources to help students, teachers, and the general public understand the complex science of global climate change as well as other areas in science. He is a member of Fellowship CRC in Edmonton.

See comments (50)

Comments

Exhaling is pollution? Sorry. No sale.

You speak of a correlation - that's not causation. I could, for instance, point to a correlation between the free market, capitalist and industrialized economies and the relative health of the environment in those countries, too. Rich countries have sewer systems, more efficient agriculture (allowing for more acreage of trees, etc.), more efficient use of energy, and more. They can also afford to clean up their messes. Maybe we need more free market, capitalist and industrialized countries, then?

The models and the scenario you put forward have been challenged. There IS no scientific consensus - that's a fiction created by those who want more government control of the economy. Everything you cite as evidence has been challenged by other scientists. Let's see the BANNER provide equal time to a qualified scientist who doesn't buy into anthropogenic global warming. I'm sure I could find a couple who would take that on. Oh. Sorry - they're "deniers" and other pejoratives.

Let me close with a simple request: Could we maybe, uh, try to avoid turning the CRC into a subsidiary of the Democratic Party? Or is it too late for that?

Could it just be that God is trying to tell us something?? We need to take time now everyday and LISTEN..He does speak to us!

The author of this article makes it clear that the data he is using is based on assumptions and speculations. (This may seem insignificant, but tested science must have no ambiguity for it to be true.)

Consider some of the language. "But 'IF' we have too much CO2...for 'MOST' of history...('ROUGHLY' around the year 1750) CO2...matches very 'ClOSELY'...is 'ALMOST' entirely due to the release...'ABOUT' 390...WE'RE IN 'EFFECT' RUNNING AN 'EXPERIMENT' WE 'POORLY' UNDERSTAND." I mean, does anything else need to be said after that last statement? Okay, one more. "Earth's climate 'TENDS" to be much less constant than it has been for the past 10,000 years and we, by affecting climate, 'MAY' well be heading back to climate chaos."

What this article is saying is, scientist don't know for sure what in the world is going on. Like the theory of evolution the Professors at Calvin bought into, they present it as fact. How the church buys into all this is beyond me. Could it be the CRC has taken their eyes off the Scriptures?

"Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Who has gathered up the wind in the hollow of his hands? Who has wrapped up the waters in his cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name and the name of his son? Tell me if you know?" (Proverbs 30:4)

@Marj -

I'm sure God is telling us something. I just don't think he's saying it through Professor Martin - not in this article at least.

But the politics of the BANNER are clear, and they are solidly left wing and statist. It is also clear that, like many engaged in politics both left and right, they have a hard time making a sharp distinction between biblical mandate and political preference.

This article is a prime example of it, folding the biblical mandate to be stewards of God's creation into an identification with those concerned about global warming. If you disagree with his science or his political solution, then you must not be serious about the biblical mandate. Balderdash and other comments.

They've done the same thing with numerous other issues - reject the left-wing political preferences, and you must be a racist, hate the poor, oppress the weak, and just generally be unchristian. It is as tiresome as it is false.

Here is a website that everyone should visit and carefully consider: http://www.petitionproject.org/ This website lists the names of 31,487 American Scientists (including 9,029 who have Phd's). These Scientists have signed a petition - the purpose of the petition is to demonstrate that the claim of “settled science” and an overwhelming “consensus” in favor of the hypothesis of human-caused global warming and consequent climate damage is wrong. No such consensus or settled science exists. As indicated by the petition text and signatory list, a very large number of American scientists reject this hypothesis. These scientists are instead convinced that the human-caused global warming hypothesis is without scientific validity and that government action on the basis of this hypothesis would unnecessarily damage both human prosperity and the natural environment of the Earth. And, please view this website...http://www.cornwallalliance.org/articles/read/an-evangelical-declaration... Evangelicals staking out a pretty good position on climate. The CRC should be part of this tempered approach - aligned with an excellent group of evangelicals. What the CRC has done (to date) relative to climate is pretty much a mirror of the junk science which is being propagated by secular persons who have large and varied motives and non-Christian agendas. We can and should do better.

Of course, without any contradicting presenter, who can argue with Dr. Martin. Certainly, he knows more about all of this than you and I do. And that Banner (see editorial and my comment there) intends to stack the deck on this issue, whether or not it is appropriate or wise for the CRC denomination to take a position on an issue of this kind (what ever happened to our respect for the wisdom of "sphere sovereignty")?

But consider this. AGW Alarmists (I call them that because they like to refer to those who disagree with them by disagreeable names like "skeptic") once openly debated this issue with "skeptics," in a fair and responsible forum, hosted by NPR and Intelligence Squared no less, before a highly educated audience predisposed toward the position of the alarmists. The "skeptics" won that debate, significantly changing the minds of the audience. See for yourself at: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9082151

Since then, I've personally tried to persuade Gavin Schmidt and his colleagues at realclimate.org to continue debating in public. How is the public to make an informed decision on these issues without observing the direct confrontation of ideas by the world's most qualified advocates for both positions, I suggested. Bottom line response is that Gavin Schmidt and his colleagues refuse to publicly debate again. They have all kinds of excuses of course, but the refusal is telling.

Hey, if you listen to one side or the other, unopposed, the "truth" seems obvious. But why are "Skeptics" willing to debate while "Alarmists" are not?

Better question, why in the world does the denomination want to take sides on this? Which is the cause for my posting.

I've checked the publications list for Dr. Martin at King's (see http://www.kingsu.ca/academic-departments/astronomy/astronomy-publicatio...). I could find no (as in zero) publications of his in the area of climate science or relating to climate science. I don't intend to disparage Dr. Martin. I don't know him and suspect he is an honest, fair-minded man, well versed in his area of competency.

My question is why the Banner wants to double down on its political advocacy on global warming. Could it be that the Banner just wants a "Dr. Somebody" to back it's editor and editorial staff for their taking a position on an issue they themselves may know next to nothing about? I don't think I'd be out of line to say "I think so."

Again, I think Dr. Martin is probably a fine "Dr." and professor. But I also think he knows substantially (infinitely?) less about this subject matter than, say, John Christy, who is a brother in Christ who comes to a very different conclusion on the subject than Dr. Martin has. So did the Banner invite a contribution from Dr. Christy? Of course not, because the editor and editorial staff have taken what amount to a political stance on a political question, which means the only job left for them is to line up their authority, not unlike high schooler debaters pulling quote cards out of their debate boxes.

Again, it is SO, SO UNWISE for the Banner to take political positions and use the publication they have been given stewardship over to politically advocate. So who will be the next Banner contributor? Al Gore, maybe? Bill Moyers? Tom Friedman?

Please Banner. Stop this now, and get back to matters within your "sphere" of jurisdiction and competency. There are plenty of those.

I've checked the publications list for Dr. Martin at King's (see http://www.kingsu.ca/academic-departments/astronomy/astronomy-publicatio...). I could find no (as in zero) publications of his in the area of climate science or relating to climate science. I don't intend to disparage Dr. Martin. I don't know him and suspect he is an honest, fair-minded man, well versed in his area of competency.

My question is why the Banner wants to double down on its political advocacy on global warming. Could it be that the Banner just wants a "Dr. Somebody" to back it's editor and editorial staff for their taking a position on an issue they themselves may know next to nothing about? I don't think I'd be out of line to say "I think so."

Again, I think Dr. Martin is probably a fine "Dr." and professor. But I also think he knows substantially (infinitely?) less about this subject matter than, say, John Christy, who is a brother in Christ who comes to a very different conclusion on the subject than Dr. Martin has. So did the Banner invite a contribution from Dr. Christy? Of course not, because the editor and editorial staff have taken what amount to a political stance on a political question, which means the only job left for them is to line up their authority, not unlike high schooler debaters pulling quote cards out of their debate boxes.

Again, it is SO, SO UNWISE for the Banner to take political positions and use the publication they have been given stewardship over to politically advocate. So who will be the next Banner contributor? Al Gore, maybe? Bill Moyers? Tom Friedman?

Please Banner. Stop this now, and get back to matters within your "sphere" of jurisdiction and competency. There are plenty of those.

I've checked the publications list for Dr. Martin at King's (see http://www.kingsu.ca/academic-departments/astronomy/astronomy-publicatio...). I could find no (as in zero) publications of his in the area of climate science or relating to climate science. I don't intend to disparage Dr. Martin. I don't know him and suspect he is an honest, fair-minded man, well versed in his area of competency.

My question is why the Banner wants to double down on its political advocacy on global warming. Could it be that the Banner just wants a "Dr. Somebody" to back it's editor and editorial staff for their taking a position on an issue they themselves may know next to nothing about? I don't think I'd be out of line to say "I think so."

Again, I think Dr. Martin is probably a fine "Dr." and professor. But I also think he knows substantially (infinitely?) less about this subject matter than, say, John Christy, who is a brother in Christ who comes to a very different conclusion on the subject than Dr. Martin has. So did the Banner invite a contribution from Dr. Christy? Of course not, because the editor and editorial staff have taken what amount to a political stance on a political question, which means the only job left for them is to line up their authority, not unlike high schooler debaters pulling quote cards out of their debate boxes.

Again, it is SO, SO UNWISE for the Banner to take political positions and use the publication they have been given stewardship over to politically advocate. So who will be the next Banner contributor? Al Gore, maybe? Bill Moyers? Tom Friedman?

Please Banner. Stop this now, and get back to matters within your "sphere" of jurisdiction and competency. There are plenty of those.

@Doug Vande Griend -

In answer to your question, there are two reasons I can see for the BANNER to take this tack.

One is that the BANNER wants to seem relevant. Sadly, there is no quicker path to irrelevance than by jumping on these bandwagons. By the way, it would make no difference if they were advocating conservative or Tea Party positions on these questions - and I don't want them to start. If they're only going to say what dozens, if not thousands of other better-written publications are already saying, who needs them? But this lack of imagination has been a problem since Kuyvenhoven left the editorship a couple decades ago now.

The other is that, given the leftist proclivities of most journalistic organizations, touting leftist policies is necessary to win the awards the BANNER seems to covet so. And, since the way they've justified continued funding in the face of declining readership is by pointing to those awards (over several editors, not just the present one), it's understandable that they covet those awards.

Am I a cynic? 'Fraid so.

If the Banner is so leftist, so irrelevant, so many other things you dislike, why are you reading it and commenting on it?

For more info on this subject click over to the banner heading "Departments" hit the red square called ED.

So if we're going to use the Banner to argue complex science and even more complex politics, consider this.

Gavin Schmidt ("big dog" AGW Alarmist, perhaps second only to James Hansen, works for NASA), says (at http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/features/200409_methane/):

"Over the last 30 years, methane has gone from being a gas of no importance, to — in some researchers eyes, at least — possibly the most important greenhouse gas both for understanding climate change and as a cost-effective target for future emission reductions."

Three things are striking here. First, the tacit acknowledgement, by Gavin Schmidt no less, of how young this area of science is. Second, the idea that methane, not CO2 may be the more meaningful greenhouse gas to "deal with." Third, that Dr. Martin's article doesn't even mention methane.

So, Mr. DeMoor and Banner editorial staff (and Dr. Martin), if you are going to do a complete job on this science/politics topic, when were you intending to give CRC members the low down on methane? Hey, the better political approach to reducing AGW may be to reduce/eliminate rice production and domesticated livestock. Frankly, doing that may well tip us into cooling. So why not just forget the fossil fuel strategy and implement a methane reduction strategy? Seriously, why not?

Or we could talk nuclear. Anyone who knows anything in this area and has an ounce of sense realizes that only one non-fossil fuel energy source could even possibly come close to replacing fossil fuels right now, that being nuclear. Don't believe me? Ask Jim Hansen, who knows this and advocates strongly for nuclear. Hansen's problem is that his AGW partners, typically of a very different past/present political persuasion on other issues, hate nuclear, have protested nuclear, equate nuclear with the Viet Nam war, Richard Nixon, "the man", dam builders, tree cutters, and all that corrupts the universe.

So, given the reality that James Hansen himself says we need much more nuclear, shouldn't the Banner start adocating for much more nuclear? Seriously, Banner, if you really want to protect our grandchildren, if you really want to do some "serious God-imaging" (quoting Mr. DeMoor), shouldn't you be vocally siding with the #1 acknowledged AGW expert on this?

This AGW thing isn't simple at all, is it? And it is very political, isn't it? And it isn't a topic the CRC/Banner should taking sides on to its members, is it?

@Doug Vande Griend

Stop trying to confuse the issue with facts and data and stuff! You just gotta have faith.

I think we'd all be happier if we could run our world on something other than fossil fuels. I'm greatly interested in what Dr. Martin would propose as an affordable alternative to carbon-based fuels which can supply our energy needs - or what level of sacrifice we should all endure for the faith (in human-induced global warming). While I may not be a climate scientist, I am a chemical engineer, and I've investigated the alternatives to fossil fuels - and the alternatives aren't so good.

We're experimenting with biofuels, and tens of thousands of people worldwide are dying from malnourishment as a result. Meanwhile, we encourage deforestation. Is that good in God's eyes? I bet God is crying over it.

We're putting up windmills and solar panels to supply a paltry 1 or 2% of US electricity needs, but we watch our government go further into debt to subsidize these technologies that have a terribly low return on capital. We borrow money from China to subsidize the solar panels that we buy from China, and my kids will inherit the debt that won't be paid back. Not good.

We could put our hope in carbon capture and sequestration, but how much (fossil fuel) energy should we consume to compress all of that carbon dioxide? It takes a lot of energy to compress CO2.

Alternatively, I suppose we could drastically alter our lifestyles, but who is to say that we're really doing good if we should cancel mission trips, have online-only church services, or restrict the travel of missionaries or elders in order to reduce our collective carbon footprint? Sure, we can insulate older houses a little better, and buy cars with a little more fuel efficiency, and use more natural gas versus coal, but all the while, we watch atmospheric CO2 go up. Absent a better technology than the current offerings, we don't have a cost-effective solution to our fossil fuel habits.

Meanwhile, many in society today believe that overpopulation is the problem, and that the best way to stop global warming is to limit population growth. Are we to ignore the command to have children and be fruitful? Who are we to listen to, Paul Ehrlich (author of The Population Bomb) or to God, who says that children are a heritage from God? (Psalm 127) Are we to disdain the existence of our fellow man, or his children, as an affront to God's creation, or embrace them as God's children that could be bound for Heaven as fellow saints? Obviously Dr. Martin didn't mention overpopulation, but it's certainly a reasonable conclusion that many can, and will, draw from his climate thesis.

IMHO, the Christian church has a far better witness, and better faithfulness to the clear commandments we have, when we feed and clothe the poor, preach the gospel of forgiveness through Christ, or encourage each other to love our family members and enemies alike, than when we put up solar panels, recycle our plastics, or buy hybrid vehicles. The world can recycle, buy hybrids, and put up solar panels too.

@Matt Birchmeier

You begin to get at something important. ALL energy sources have costs - environmental costs, opportunity costs, waste disposal costs, convenience costs (transportation and distribution), and so on.

Nuclear power, wind power, hydro-electric power, even just plain old foot power from humans or animals has costs (the waste by-products of thousands of animals in 19th century cities got to be quite an environmental and health problem). There is no free energy, and I can guarantee you that the AGW folks complaining about fossil fuels are not prepared to either pay the costs of other fuels at market prices or to do without the energy that fuels their Macs, iPhones, automobiles or lights. They might want me to go without, but they aren't giving up theirs.

There is no free energy. Carbon fuels are popular because they are efficient. They provide us with convenient, low-cost, and plentiful energy. Until somebody comes up with a fuel that beats fossil fuels on those points, oil and coal and natural gas are here to stay.

GDPism.
The believe that a continuous increase in GDP is necessary. It is the hope that governments and business will organize themselves to ensure that GDP will rise. GDPism gives it's adherents faith that whenever GDP does rise an associated improvement in the quality of life will be surely follow. GDPism crosses all political viewpoints and can be considered a unifying force. It is surely a profound religious belief, its teachers in universities permit almost no discussion, and insist that it is an absolute.

And yet the BP oil spill was a benefit to the GDP of the USA, as was the Exxon Valdez, surely this simple fact is illustration enough that perhaps we need to reconsider this tool and see it for what it is, one of the most damaging idols of our time.

Many will say there is no alternatives, this is only more evidence of how deep this believe has entrenched that we cannot even imagine that measuring something different could result in a different set of choices, a different set of structures for our society, different priorities. Thankfully we can look to the leadership that the country of Bhutan is showing. They have made GNH (Gross national happiness) the tool to guide their decisions.

What does this have to do with climate change, well those who have studied economics ( as it is practiced in the temple of GDP) know that cheap energy = economic growth. Until we lose the GDP growth paradigm we have no hope of curbing an ever increasing demand for fossil fuels.

Tim: Why don't you start an organization that collects and puts out numbers for your proposed alternative to the measure of Gross Domestic Product? Just as in the case of "supply and demand," or "Newton's First Law of Physics," there is nothing "government ordained" about GDP that keeps you from measuring national happiness, ala Bhutan (and not so unlike Denmark for that matter).

If you put out numbers for GHP and there are media organizations or others in the world who think that is meaningful, they'll start talking about your GHP, just like they now talk about GNP.

By way of a larger point, this is where the Banner gets us to when it decides to become something other than the publication of a church denomination. Do we really want to go here?

Actually GDP data is collected and managed by government agencies StatsCan in Canada, and BEA in the USA. Governments around the world live and die by the outcome of there GDP information and I am aware of only a few brave economists who will go on stage and talk about what a zero growth economy would look like.

It is a good idea to start an GNH organization as you suggest, I will have to look into that, are you volunteering to start the USA branch?

In the context of a Christian magazine I was trying to bring attention to the rather insidious way that need for GDP growth has entered our mindset. It really has become a religious belief (idol) with no basis in fact since it completely ignores the "real costs" related to consumption of non renewable resources. We need to guard our hearts and minds from the idols of our time.

I am suggesting we need to continuously look to Christ as our model and remember his words in Philippians 2. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

Tim: I probably won't volunteer to start a GNH data collection branch in the US, but that's because I tend to be a "political de-centrist," by which I mean (in a Wilhelm Ropke kind of way), I don't think government should be the institution through which it's citizens should look to create, monitor, or even define "happiness".

In fact, one of the objections I would have with government creating a GNH data collection system would be that it (government) would then be claiming the authority to tell its citizens what "happiness" is.

In general, the United States isn't really comparable to a country like Bhutan. Bhutan is a country of about 700,000, less than a moderate size city, that is religiously homogeneous (3/4's adhere to Vajrayana Buddhism).

The United States was intentionally established, and through history increasingly became, an nation of political, religious, cultural (etc) pluralism. While it might be acceptable (and possible) for Bhutan's government to actually define "happiness" for the citizenry of 700,000, it would not be for the United States. This country is a place where individuals and groups can come to create their own VOLUNTARY sub-cultures. Thus, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, "Bhutanians" and even Dutch Calvinists can (and do) come here and create/maintain their own cultures, relatively free of government dictation (including as to the definition of "happiness").

Certainly, there are those who want the United States to become "centristic" (Ropke's opposite of "decentristic"). They'd love the US to be Denmark (or perhaps Bhutan). But if that were to happen, it would mean the United States really would no longer exists, because "political liberty" (Ropke-styled "decentrism") its THE core characteristic that makes the United States the nation it is (not to mention the reason what so many have come here from other places in the world).

@Tim-

Why are we discussing GDP? It's simply a measurement tool. Might as well complain about yards or meters, gallons or kilograms. Like all measurement tools, particularly those that conflate complex data into a single number, GDP has it's limitations and shortcomings. But it is what it is. Use it. Don't use it.

But if you're trying to say that the kinds of radical disruptions in the economy that will be caused by the kinds of government actions Professor Martin and other AGW types propose won't really be all that painful because GDP is a flawed measurement tool, you're simply wrong.

And if you mean to imply that the economic catastrophe so wrought would really only impact the wealthiest, you're very wrong. A man with $500 million may find himself with only $100 million after such changes, but he'll be OK. The hundreds of people he employed with his $500 million, though, will be seriously hurting. Those are the ones I'm worried about. I'm prepared to let somebody be rich and consumerist and flash his wealth if it means a dozen not-rich people have jobs building his yachts and mowing his grass so they can feed their families.

As you say, it's a justice issue.

Dr. Martin,

I appreciated you laying out some of the science behind theories of man-made global climate change. Before becoming a pastor in the CRC I was an energy engineer for the State of Michigan - a field that had some overlap with environmental studies, and one that relies heavily on weather records. If you have the time, I'd love to be able to ask a few questions.

1) My dealings with weather records on a large peninsula revealed that climate (observing the distinction from your article) can be much more localized than what most experts recognize. Climate in Michigan can be significantly different in some cases within 40 miles (for example, winters are warmer and snowier the farther west in Michigan). Here's the question: Is there such a thing as global climate? Can tree rings, coral reefs, and ice cores really describe what was happening across the globe, or are they localized? Also, do they truly show climate, or do they show weather?

2) What happens as the seas increase? Does the atmosphere get compressed or pushed farther out? Would there be any positive or negative effects to a wider radius atmosphere? Will an increase in sea water lead to an dilution of the increase in carbonic acid? Will an increase in sea water lead to an increase in the micro organisms that serve as our "lungs"?

3)This one is more philosophical, and I'm just seeking to draw off of your experience: At this point in the debate, is the best place to start with Christians really science? Or, would it be better simply to teach Christians how it's kind of a slap in the face to God when we mistreat His gift of creation? Wouldn't most efforts to take care of creation, for whatever reason, have a positive impact on reducing CO2 and other man made greenhouse gasses?

Thank you for your time!

Dr. Martin,

I appreciated you laying out some of the science behind theories of man-made global climate change. Before becoming a pastor in the CRC I was an energy engineer for the State of Michigan - a field that had some overlap with environmental studies, and one that relies heavily on weather records. If you have the time, I'd love to be able to ask a few questions.

1) My dealings with weather records on a large peninsula revealed that climate (observing the distinction from your article) can be much more localized than what most experts recognize. Climate in Michigan can be significantly different in some cases within 40 miles (for example, winters are warmer and snowier the farther west in Michigan). Here's the question: Is there such a thing as global climate? Can tree rings, coral reefs, and ice cores really describe what was happening across the globe, or are they localized? Also, do they truly show climate, or do they show weather?

2) What happens as the seas increase? Does the atmosphere get compressed or pushed farther out? Would there be any positive or negative effects to a wider radius atmosphere? Will an increase in sea water lead to an dilution of the increase in carbonic acid? Will an increase in sea water lead to an increase in the micro organisms that serve as our "lungs"?

3)This one is more philosophical, and I'm just seeking to draw off of your experience: At this point in the debate, is the best place to start with Christians really science? Or, would it be better simply to teach Christians how it's kind of a slap in the face to God when we mistreat His gift of creation? Wouldn't most efforts to take care of creation, for whatever reason, have a positive impact on reducing CO2 and other man made greenhouse gasses?

Thank you for your time!

Dr. Martin,

I appreciated you laying out some of the science behind theories of man-made global climate change. Before becoming a pastor in the CRC I was an energy engineer for the State of Michigan - a field that had some overlap with environmental studies, and one that relies heavily on weather records. If you have the time, I'd love to be able to ask a few questions.

1) My dealings with weather records on a large peninsula revealed that climate (observing the distinction from your article) can be much more localized than what most experts recognize. Climate in Michigan can be significantly different in some cases within 40 miles (for example, winters are warmer and snowier the farther west in Michigan). Here's the question: Is there such a thing as global climate? Can tree rings, coral reefs, and ice cores really describe what was happening across the globe, or are they localized? Also, do they truly show climate, or do they show weather?

2) What happens as the seas increase? Does the atmosphere get compressed or pushed farther out? Would there be any positive or negative effects to a wider radius atmosphere? Will an increase in sea water lead to an dilution of the increase in carbonic acid? Will an increase in sea water lead to an increase in the micro organisms that serve as our "lungs"?

3)This one is more philosophical, and I'm just seeking to draw off of your experience: At this point in the debate, is the best place to start with Christians really science? Or, would it be better simply to teach Christians how it's kind of a slap in the face to God when we mistreat His gift of creation? Wouldn't most efforts to take care of creation, for whatever reason, have a positive impact on reducing CO2 and other man made greenhouse gasses?

Thank you for your time!

Dr. Martin,

I appreciated you laying out some of the science behind theories of man-made global climate change. Before becoming a pastor in the CRC I was an energy engineer for the State of Michigan - a field that had some overlap with environmental studies, and one that relies heavily on weather records. If you have the time, I'd love to be able to ask a few questions.

1) My dealings with weather records on a large peninsula revealed that climate (observing the distinction from your article) can be much more localized than what most experts recognize. Climate in Michigan can be significantly different in some cases within 40 miles (for example, winters are warmer and snowier the farther west in Michigan). Here's the question: Is there such a thing as global climate? Can tree rings, coral reefs, and ice cores really describe what was happening across the globe, or are they localized? Also, do they truly show climate, or do they show weather?

2) What happens as the seas increase? Does the atmosphere get compressed or pushed farther out? Would there be any positive or negative effects to a wider radius atmosphere? Will an increase in sea water lead to an dilution of the increase in carbonic acid? Will an increase in sea water lead to an increase in the micro organisms that serve as our "lungs"?

3)This one is more philosophical, and I'm just seeking to draw off of your experience: At this point in the debate, is the best place to start with Christians really science? Or, would it be better simply to teach Christians how it's kind of a slap in the face to God when we mistreat His gift of creation? Wouldn't most efforts to take care of creation, for whatever reason, have a positive impact on reducing CO2 and other man made greenhouse gasses?

Thank you for your time!

I don't know what's wrong with all you right wing kooks. Bob DeMoor said there is no room for debate on this issue. Please sit quietly in your pew and don't forget to put money in the collection plate so he can continue to send his opinions to your house every month.
By the way, can anyone tell me how much CO2 was produced to print and deliver this worthless rag.

WASHINGTON, DC – Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman of the Environment & Public Works Committee, is questioning the scientific basis behind the recently released Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) report by the eight-nation Arctic C...ouncil. The report was subject to a hearing today by the Senate Science Commerce Committee.

“Alarmists continue to pursue doomsday scenarios about global warming, but without releasing the basis for their claims. The recently released Arctic Climate Impact Assessment follows that tactic. This overview report, which contains no footnotes nor citations, and is exceedingly stingy with the caveats typically accompanying credible scientific studies, is already being criticized by scientists across the globe despite the attempt to lend it credence by a hearing of the Commerce Committee today. I am confident that the report will not sway additional votes in the Senate for an economy killing climate change bill,” Senator Inhofe said.

According to a story in The Guardian newspaper dated November 9, a team of scientists condemned claims of climate catastrophe as "fatally flawed" in their report.

“Martin Agerup, president of the Danish Academy for Future Studies and colleagues from Stockholm, Canada, Iceland and Britain say in their report that predictions of ‘extreme impacts’ based on greenhouse emissions employed ‘faulty science, faulty logic and faulty economics’.

“Predictions of changes in sea level of a metre in the next century were overestimates: sea-level rises were likely to be only 10cm to 20cm in the next 100 years. Claims that climate change would lead to a rise in malaria were not warranted.

“Extreme weather was not on the increase but more likely to be part of a natural cycle, not yet understood by climate scientists. The report says a warmer world would benefit fish stocks in the north Atlantic and reduce the incidence of temperature-related deaths in vulnerable humans.”

In addition, the George C. Marshall Institute issued a release today stating that, “This report makes numerous claims about climate change on arctic regions. Most of its claims are based on invalidated climate models and scenarios developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC) that bear little resemblance to reality and how the future is likely to evolve. And indeed, some of its claims about sea ice and ‘alarming’ warming are contradicted by other peer reviewed research and data.” The Institute was criticized at the hearing as representing the views of only a few scientists. Yet the George C. Marshall Institute was an organizer of the Oregon Petition, signed by more than 17,000 scientists, which disputed claims of catastrophic global warming.

“The world's climatologists are agreed” that we must “prepare for the next ice age.” (Science Digest, February 1973) “A major cooling of the planet is widely considered inevitable.” (NY Times, May 1975) We can expect “a full-blown 10,000-year ice age” (Science News, March 1975) Time, Newsweek, and others echoed this global cooling consensus in the 1970s. I don't think The Banner jumped on the global cooling bandwagon at that time. Perhaps it ought not jump on the global warming bandwagon now.

Back in 1948 C. S. Lewis commented on warnings from scientific experts that global cooling might soon produce “another of those periodic ice ages.” Lewis suggested that speculative worries about climate change should have a lower priority than the relationship of an eternal soul to God.

Whatever the truth may be about global warming, for church leaders and church publications the main problem is our silly attempt to weigh in clearly and authoritatively on one side of a debate in areas beyond our pastoral calling and competence (such as climatology), while not speaking clearly and authoritatively in areas where God's Word clearly calls us to speak (such as sexual morality and damnation of unbelievers).

I would like someone to discuss the "Great Climate Change Swindle" and the reasons why some scientists have removed themselves from the debate. What political gains are there from believing climate change is OUR fault?

@Diana

If we decide "climate change is OUR fault" (but only if we also decide climate change will be at a level that results in catastrophe [however defined]), then the only real solution is for all things carbon (and other gases like methane) to be intensely regulated and taxed, not just at the national level but also at the global level.

Results:

(1) For those who want a stronger federal government in the US, nothing is better than the mindset of AGW alarmism. The power of the federal government would be vastly expanded because now it would need to dictate nuanced decisions about all our transportation, how we heat/cool all our buildings and to what extent, what we eat, what we grow, how much we reproduce (creating new CO2 producers) -- quite literally, almost everything). And of course, the power to regulate includes the power to tax without getting specific taxing authority.

(2) For those who want to move to centralized world governance, nothing is better than the mindset of AGW alarmism, because "solving climate change" would require that top-down authority to control all of such human activities exist in ALL countries (at least major countries). The United Nations would be transformed.

(3) For those who want governments to enforce population control, nothing promotes that more than the mindset of AGW alarmism. Hello, China styled government enforced population controls.

@David Feddes

Though I believe your intentions are good, your information is based on an oft-repeated but never verified meme. There was no global cooling consensus in the climatology community in the 1970s. In fact, it's difficult if not impossible to find peer-reviewed papers from this time period to support this assertion that more than a handful of scientists thought the earth might be cooling. The well accepted idea that this was this case is based on a Newsweek cover story...and suddenly the assertion is accepted as fact.

We should debate this important issue while recognizing expertise. But please make sure the facts are correct when you debate it.

@Eric

But David Feddes' post still makes a very valid point. The politically dominant group in every generation's "scientific community" believes it knows lots of things that turn out not to be so. What makes that human phenomena especially relevent to this particular subject is that climate science is a very, very young, yet very, very complex science. Moreover, those on the AGW alarmist side have quite openly admitted exaggerating, suggesting doing so was justified in order to prompt political response they feared would otherwise not happen (hey, that reminds me of a Banner editorial). If that's the case, how do we know when are they actually being honest, including in peer review journals where they peer review each other (see also, "Climategate" and what was confessed there that was not spoken publicly)?

Even more, it is simply not the case that CO2 increase by itself will create the catastrophic warming predicted by AGW alarmists, even by their own admission. I suspect Dr. Martin will acknowledge that the Alarmist "conclusions" depend heavily on the assumption that a relatively small amount of CO2 caused warming will will trigger very significant net positive feedbacks. In other words (and despite Dr. Martin not mentioning it in this very elementary school presentation), warming created by CO2 increase does not get us even close to the catastrophic warming predicted by Alarmists. Even by their own theory, the effect has to be greatly magnified by net positive feedbacks, which are this point are little more than hypotheses. So while basic C02 greenhouse theory is pretty much agreed upon by all, significant net positive feedbacks are not, and that subject is so complex, it really demands that everyone play guessing games.

You might also consider reading everything Paul Erlich wrote, and compare that to actual history. That tends to make David Feddes' point as well, about very similar themes.

Listening to religious people discuss science is like watching Elaine Benes try to dance.

Charley. You're not religious? Ain't no such thing.

And if you think you aren't, I'd would suggest you're just a bigot who insists "religious people" (how do you define that anyway?) can't think.

Get back to dancing and stop trolling.

Thanks Dr. Martin for this excellent article!

I completed some of my undergraduate courses with Dr. Martin at King's and can attest that he is an extremely bright individual who knows what he is talking about. We ignore his warning at our peril.

I have read more fully into the subject (recognizing I am not an expert in this field) and the information he portrays is accurate. The numbers don't lie. The reality is that much like the tobacco debate many years ago, a few energy companies that are more interested in money than the environment have funded "scientists" to endorse positions that make this to appear controversial. Its not. Let's get on with it and take care of God's creation, as we have been clearly told to do!

@ Michael Stolte

I wouldn't presume to disagree that Dr. Martin is an extremely bright individual. On the other hand, there are quite a few extremely bright individuals, a goodly number of whom very much disagree with Dr. Martin's conclusions.

So let's look at Dr. Martin's publications, at:

http://www.kingsu.ca/academic-departments/astronomy/astronomy-publicatio...

Generally, very impressive, but nothing I could find that suggests he is an expert on climate science.

Compare, for example, with John Christy, -- see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Christy

or

Richard Lindzen, -- see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Lindzen ,

both of whom significantly disagree with Dr. Martin.

I doubt Dr. Martin himself would suggest his climate science expertise even approaches that of Christy or Lindzen (and the list could continue).

To argue the science, I would note that Dr. Martin's article says nothing about the net positive feedbacks that must exist for AGW alarmism to be valid. Indeed, a very modest amount of CO2 warming is acknowledged by pretty much everyone, but direct CO2 doesn't create anything close to the warming needed to create armageddon. There must be a SIGNIFICANT net positive feedback to create anything close to catastrophe. That is were the arguments lie, and those issues are as complex as basic CO2 greenhouse theory is simple.

Dr. Martin's article, well written though it might be, simply avoids the complexities.

I would like to offer some food for thought and debate of my own. It is based on God's word though and not scientific study. Therefore it may seem objectionable to some who are bent in an academic manner....

1. Has it ever occurred to any of the Christian scientists studying this phenomena that we may well be witnessing the beginning of what is described in Revelation 6?

2. If that is the case would it be possible to do anything about it? To in effect, thwart the plan of the Creator?

3. Has anyone researching global climate change bothered themselves about reading Genesis 8:22?....Or does what the Bible have to say about our climate and seasons no longer have relevance?

4. Not a question but a suggestion....please read Psalm 2.

5. On a purely practical note, has any work been done which would determine the actual carrying capacity of this planet using only renewable energy? In other words, how do we go about eliminating 75% of the earth's population while we wean ourselves off from fossil fuels? Who gets to make the decision regarding what people live and die?

6. I would humbly suggest Psalm 2 again........specifically verses 1 and 4.

Excellent, Steve.

Doug

There is no doubt that there are a few critics of the mainstream opinion in climate science. Given how science advances, nothing less would be expected.

I would encourage anyone who is genuinely interested in this debate to read James Hansen's book "Storms of my Grandchildren". It is well written and he breaks down the debate into readable information. More info is available on Hansen here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Hansen

As for climate change denial, how it is funded, and has distorted the scientific conversation, please take a look here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_change_denial

Thanks again to Dr. Martin for having the courage to provide clarity on this issue.

Martin: Because I don't think you might not be kidding when you say "There is no doubt that there are a few critics of the mainstream opinion in climate science"; and because CRC folk and other who read this will tend to believe you absent a response (even if you are kidding), let me start listing those who are among the "few critics," with credentials:

Richard Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Garth Paltridge, Visiting Fellow ANU and retired Chief Research Scientist, CSIRO Division of Atmospheric Research and retired Director of the Institute of the Antarctic Cooperative Research Centre.

Hendrik Tennekes, retired Director of Research, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute.

Antonino Zichichi, emeritus professor of nuclear physics at the University of Bologna and president of the World Federation of Scientists.

Khabibullo Abdusamatov, mathematician and astronomer at Pulkovo Observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Sallie Baliunas, astronomer, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

George V. Chilingar, Professor of Civil and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Southern California.

Ian Clark, hydrogeologist, professor, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Ottawa.

Chris de Freitas, Associate Professor, School of Geography, Geology and Environmental Science, University of Auckland.

David Douglass, solid-state physicist, professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Rochester.

Don Easterbrook, emeritus professor of geology, Western Washington University.

William M. Gray, Professor Emeritus and head of The Tropical Meteorology Project, Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University.

William Happer, physicist specializing in optics and spectroscopy, Princeton University.

William Kininmonth, meteorologist, former Australian delegate to World Meteorological Organization Commission for Climatology.

David Legates, associate professor of geography and director of the Center for Climatic Research, University of Delaware.

Tad Murty, oceanographer; adjunct professor, Departments of Civil Engineering and Earth Sciences, University of Ottawa.

Tim Patterson, paleoclimatologist and Professor of Geology at Carleton University in Canada.

(continued -- "a few critics of the mainstream opinion in climate science")

Ian Plimer, Professor emeritus of Mining Geology, The University of Adelaide.

Tom Segalstad, head of the Geology Museum at the University of Oslo.

Nicola Scafetta, research scientist in the physics department at Duke University.

Nir Shaviv, astrophysicist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Fred Singer, Professor emeritus of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia.

Willie Soon, astrophysicist, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

Roy Spencer, principal research scientist, University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Philip Stott, professor emeritus of biogeography at the University of London.

Henrik Svensmark, Danish National Space Center.

Jan Veizer, environmental geochemist, Professor Emeritus from University of Ottawa.

Syun-Ichi Akasofu, retired professor of geophysics and Founding Director of the International Arctic Research Center of the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Claude Allègre, geochemist, Institute of Geophysics (Paris).

Robert C. Balling, Jr., a professor of geography at Arizona State University.

John Christy, professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Petr Chylek, Space and Remote Sensing Sciences researcher, Los Alamos National Laboratory.

David Deming, geology professor at the University of Oklahoma.

Ivar Giaever, Nobel Laureate in physics and professor emeritus at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Craig D. Idso, faculty researcher, Office of Climatology, Arizona State University and founder of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change.

Sherwood Idso, former research physicist, USDA Water Conservation Laboratory, and adjunct professor, Arizona State University.

Patrick Michaels, Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute and retired research professor of environmental science at the University of Virginia.

August H. "Augie" Auer Jr. (1940–2007), retired New Zealand MetService Meteorologist and past professor of atmospheric science at the University of Wyoming.

Reid Bryson (1920–2008), Emeritus Professor of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Marcel Leroux (1938–2008) former Professor of Climatology, Université Jean Moulin.

Frederick Seitz (1911–2008), solid-state physicist and former president of the National Academy of Sciences

Freeman Dyson (recently died), Professor Emeritus of the School of Natural Sciences, Institute for Advanced Study; Fellow of the Royal Society.

Frankly, this is just a quick list from Wikipedia. There are many, many more, including highly credentialed. For a more exhaustive list, try the the "Oregon Petition," signed by tens of thousands of scientists. http://www.oism.org/pproject/

Again, the main question for us is whether this is really what the Banner should be promoting, whichever side it decides to promote?

When Synod 2004 endorsed the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations through the Micah Challenge, our denomination adopted the UN's political agenda. We created the denominational Office of Social Justice (OSJ), and Hope Equals to conform to their political mandates. Even the CRWRC is working for the UN. Helping them implement their suitability goals.

The World Communion of Reformed Churches that we are a member of, and helped create, is all onboard with the UN Agenda 21 program.

Our denomination is politically and ecumenically up to their eyeballs in helping implement a One World Global Governmental System.

All this global warming, sustainability, and interfaithism (ecumenicalism) stuff our leaders are pushing, falls perfectly in line with Global Governance.

We need leadership that sees the big picture and can help us withdraw from all these political entities before we spin out of control.

May I suggest that the CRCNA will significantly decrease the endless amount of ( airline ) flights to Grand Rapids for meetings! If we don't start there this whole discussion is hypocritical and a total waste of time.

Doug.

With all due respect, listing a bunch of names doesn't really provide any clarity to the issue. All it demonstrates is that there are some folks who disagree with mainstream scientific opinion.

Personally, I trust Dr. Martin as a trained academic and I trust the material presented in Dr. Hansen's book - after thoroughly reading it and getting scientific information on the climate science issue. Despite pursuing this information, I have yet to see any DEMONSTRATED, PEER REVIEWED FACTS that stand in contrast to what Dr. Martin presented.

Are we just looking for rationalizations to do nothing? Why would we defend not taking care of the earth, even without 100% clarity? The emotional reactivity and frank paranoia around this issue (for example, that the UN is taking over the world and destroying the earth is to be taken as some mandate for the "end times") just makes me shake my head in disbelief.

Personally, I think that we idolize a certain standard of living that is frankly unsustainable and we are seeing some of the consequences of that choice. Though difficult, I believe that as Christians we should be at the forefront of caretaking God's creation, not attacking those who are trying to educate us about the concerns they are seeing.

Michael: I appreciate the response, but you're simply moving the target after pretending it wasn't hit.

Your post said, and I quote, "There is no doubt that there are a FEW critics of the mainstream opinion in climate science." [cap emphasis added] And indeed, that is essentially the same primary argument as is made by the Banner editor. Beyond that, it is the same primary argument made by Al Gore and 98% of AGW Alarmists. The mindless mantra of "the debate is over" is simply not true. You thought so too apparently, and I thought it was important to demonstrate with specificity that you have been duped if you believe the mantra.

Your new argument: "I have yet to see any DEMONSTRATED, PEER REVIEWED FACTS that stand in contrast to what Dr. Martin presented."

If you read one of my prior posts, I've answered that already. I pretty much agree with what Dr. Martin presents (factually) in his elementary presentation about CO2 and climate science. My argument isn't with what he presents but what he doesn't present (and then the conclusions he mades). And the same would be true of the folks you call "deniers." But I'll repeat: direct CO2 warming does not create much warming, although it does create some warming. What Alarmists rely on is the hypothesis of a net positive feedback. Basic CO2 greenhouse effect is, well pretty basic science. The question of whether there is a net positive or net negative (or net neutral) feedback is as complex as the planet's entire climate system. To repeat, Dr. Martin does not take this on in his article. So of course the case appears "slam dunk."

You say further: "Though difficult, I believe that as Christians we should be at the forefront of caretaking God's creation." My response that I agree. So, do it.

What I believe in addition do that is this: Though difficult, we should restrain from using the authority of the church denomination as a bully pulpit to sway the political thinking of CRC members as to incredibly complex political and scientific matters. What is this difficult: hubris. People in positions of authority, Christian or otherwise, love to think they are the smart ones about EVERYTHING. In fact, these matters are clearly outside the jurisdication (authority sphere) and competency of the denomination, Banner editor and editorial staff included.

Being "at the forefront" doesn't mean spouting off in cheap ways about issues we are predominantly ignorant about. And frankly, that is what the Banner is doing here.

You imply I'm attacking. Well, not really attacking but defininitely criticizing. Of note, I didn't start it. That was started by the Banner editor and editorial staff, who in turn recruited Dr. Martin to help them abuse the position they hold. The Banner accuses me of not being serious about God-imaging, and that my conclusions on this incredibly complex subject matter are ignorant and unfaithful. So much so, they feel compelled to declare what the real truth is. After all, this question is not debatable.

Michael: Besides Dr. Martin, you also seem to have a great deal of respect for James Hansen. I do too, actually, although I'm at odds with many of his conclusions. Unlike Al Gore, I think James Hansen is actually honest and genuine.

So to the point of this posting. You said, "Though difficult, I believe that as Christians we should be at the forefront of caretaking God's creation." And I agreed.

James Hansen (who I believe is also a Christian of some stripe) is doing a difficult thing. He is urging the development of MUCH MORE nuclear energy production. He realizes wind, solar and the like are simply not viable energy replacement solutions. Of course, those who are otherwise Hansen's supporters go dead silent in unison when Hansen talks about nuclear because many of those supporters long ago committed themselves to a religion that denounces nuclear energy the same way many CRC folk denounce Satan.

So, will you be so bold Michael, and to join me and James Hansen in encouraging those of the CRC who read these posts to push for MUCH MORE nuclear energy, regardless of what 98% of the AGW Alarmists think about that?

So glad to see there are others that share my disgust at the direction (left) the Banner has taken. Has anyone noticed the The Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations is funded by George Soros? Has anyone reseached George Soros? Has anyone noticed that diversity trainer George Yancy idolizes Cornel West who is a Marxist? Does anyone care that social justice is code for Marxism?
I haven't been able to decide where to place my outrage.... at those who are purposefully and systematically destroying this country... the members of this denomination that are helping with the demolition or the sheeple that are standing silent.
I think I understand how Noah must have felt.

@beesknow

Millennium Development Goals - wonder how many know that the "improve maternal health" bit (goal 5) includes ensuring the availability and use of misoprostol and mifepristone for the intended purpose of inducing abortions within the first 9 weeks gestation?

Takes a bit of digging to find it, since it's buried behind a lot of different links, but if you'll go here (http://whqlibdoc.who.int/hq/2006/WHO_PSM_PAR_2006.1_eng.pdf), to p. 27 of the PDF, you'll find these are on the World Health Organization's "essential medicines" list, and goal 5 of the MDGs includes making sure all of the WHO's "essential medicines" are sufficiently available.

You'll also find that they're big on pushing contraceptives, bragging that they've gone from 10% to 60% contraceptive use.

I'm sure if I were willing to dig further I'd find there are quite a few other ways the MDGs promote abortions - but that's a different kettle of fish from this climate change stuff.

Or is it? Part of the climate change nonsense is the buy-in to Malthusian folly regarding population growth, and part of the buy in to Malthus is...wait for it...eugenics.

@PNR

"Populaton Alarmism" is indeed a logically necessary corollary for most AGW Alarmists, although there are exceptions. It is, essentially, the same 'kettle of fish' within the mainstream AGW Alarmism community.

I expect government mandated birth restrictions (China) will come long before the use of eugenics (and will start with infanticide, a 'final guarantee that every child be wanted despite the accident of birth'), but very "responsible" AGW Alarmists have seriously thrown out the idea of eugenics, at least in discussion.

I doubt the Banner's editorial staff will want to touch this with a ten foot pole -- but only for a now. Sooner or later, unless the CRC denomination changes it's political course and inclination, it really is only a matter of time until it too endorses a "Population Alarmism" view. AGAIN TO BE CLEAR, 'unless it changes its current trajectory', which it could.

Malthus may be dead, but Erlich isn't yet, nor the thousands (millions?) who follow them both. What is telling is the amount of worship-like respect someone like Erlich gets, despite his many failed predictions in his multiple books over the decades. He's an emphatically proven non-prophet but gets a plush permanent appointment at Stanford for it. There seems to be a strain within human race that loves to hate humans (or at least regard them as a scourge). Not any individual human of course, but the result is largely the same.

The UN has a great deal of cognitive dissonance on this issue as well. The UN will gladly help kill you at the age of minus one day (your resource requirement would injure Nature), but then go to every length to save your life at the age of plus one day. Well, at least if you are in a third world country.

@Doug

You are right - it's a trajectory, and the CRC is not yet to the point on the trajectory where it openly supports "population control". I'm sure Professor Martin would recoil at the idea of forced abortions or any sort of a eugenics program.

But once you go over that edge, asserting that human exhaling is a pollutant, that man(kind) is "destroying" the planet, it becomes necessary to control mankind. The easiest way to do that is to control population.

The next step is, of course, deciding which parts of the population get to live, and the desire to manipulate that to protect one's self and supposedly "superior" people, you've got a eugenics program in all but name.

Even if Professor Martin and Rev. De Moor aren't willing to take things to that point, the people they are supporting will. Martin & De Moor and others like them will then find themselves receiving the same cold shoulder and exclusion they now impose on us.

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