By: Jim Virkler
Two groups were organized in 2005 in response to the perceived environmental challenges posed by climate change. We highlight these two groups, pointing out similarities and differences. The Evangelical Climate Initiative is composed exclusively of 300 evangelical leaders in the United States sharing concern about environmental stewardship. The Cornwall Alliance For The Stewardship Of Creation is a conservative public policy group also focusing on environmental stewardship. It boasts 1500 diverse signatories from prominent religious groups. Each organization has claimed the high ground of stewardship for our planet and each continues with its mission. The similarities are not as striking as the differences. Both organizations are energized by the topic of global warming.
The global warming issue divides many residents of the US and the world. Among many noble ideals for the stewardship of creation lurks the issue of how to remedy potentially disastrous global warming. This issue is laden with complexity far beyond warming due to human consumption of fossil fuels and the concomitant release of additional CO2 into the atmosphere. There is widespread agreement that release of any additional CO2 does indeed contribute to slight atmospheric warming owing to its properties as a greenhouse gas. As a result of this knowledge, CO2 has been designated a “pollutant,” albeit a minuscule component of the atmosphere. The recent convoluted regulatory ruling of CO2 as a “pollutant” highlights the emotionally charged politics attending the conversation. CO2 remains vitally important for earth’s plant life.
We have selected passages from each group’s major declarations. The passages highlight a profound difference in theological and scientific analyses. From the Evangelical Climate Initiative: “Even small rises in global temperatures will have such likely impacts as: more frequent heat waves, droughts, and extreme weather events such torrential rains and floods; increased tropical diseases in now-temperate regions; and hurricanes that are more intense. It could lead to significant reduction in agricultural output, especially in poor countries. Low-lying regions, indeed entire islands, could find themselves under water.”
From the Cornwall Declaration On Environmental Stewardship: “While some environmental concerns are well-founded and serious, others are without foundation or greatly exaggerated…..Some unfounded or undue concerns include fears of destructive man-made global warming, overpopulation, and rampant species loss.”
Another Cornwall passage (An Evangelical Statement on Global Warming) states, “We believe Earth and its ecosystems, created by God’s intelligent design and infinite power and sustained by His faithful providence—are robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting, admirably suited for human flourishing, and displaying His glory. Earth’s climate system is no exception. Recent global warming is one of many natural cycles of warming and cooling in geologic history. We deny that Earth and its ecosystems are the fragile and unstable products of chance, and particularly that Earth’s climate system is vulnerable to dangerous alteration because of minuscule changes in atmospheric chemistry. Recent warming was neither abnormally large nor abnormally rapid.”
After only a cursory study of the points made in the above declarations, we long for deeper and detailed truth concerning global warming in the mind of the public. We perceive public resistance to a quest for depth. It is much easier to fall back to one’s preconceptions and philosophical bias. If we have become enamored by the politically correct, simplistic responses to climate change, we will ignore the effects of thousands of climate subsystems known as feedback mechanisms. Even climate experts do not understand many of the feedback mechanisms and whether in the long term global warming is increased or decreased. As I read the voluminous research on the complex subject of climate change, I am determined to encourage individual study of complex climate issues among our readership. Without unbiased, intentional study, most people simply reinforce their previously held positions. Above all we must recognize that our Creator is the author of the physical venue we call our home. This awareness is the beginning of wisdom in climate issues.
Linked below is a previous blog posted in 2012. Click on “older posts” or “newer posts” to scroll through our previous offerings on climate change.
More Articles You Will Love
Jim Virkler, a retired New Jersey public school science educator, now devotes his time investigating the harmony of scientific discoveries and Christian faith. He and his wife, Eleanor, now reside in the mid-west near their children and grandchildren.