Southern Religion

In greatest danger and least aware of it

A Gallup survey of 128 nations found that:

… a majority of the world’s adult population is aware of the climate change issue, but a substantial minority is not aware. Further, those who are aware are more likely to say climate change poses a serious threat to themselves and their families. Results vary by region and among each of the top five green house gas-emitting countries, underscoring the challenges leaders face in reaching a global climate agreement.

Digging into the data, Nate Silver found:

One of the unfortunate ironies of climate change is that its greatest medium-term impacts are liable to be on precisely those countries — especially poor countries in equatorial regions — which are the least empowered to do anything about it. Not only that, indeed, but according to a new Gallup survey of residents across 128 countries, many of the people in these locations may be literally unaware of the threat that global warming presents.

Contrarian uproar notwithstanding, it is as though they were standing in the middle of a railroad track, deaf, looking away from the onrushing locomotive. Can we stop it?

December 12, 2009 Posted by | Religion | | Comments Off on In greatest danger and least aware of it

Palintologists discover the annotated Sarah Palin global warmer

Not-a-liberal Mark Ambinder of The Atlantic gives us a clarifying interpretation of the text of the Washington Post’s Sarah Palin outreach to refugees from the pink-slip besieged Washington Times.

As counterfactual as it is charming, Palin’s text benefits from Ambinder’s concise Palintological efforts.

December 9, 2009 Posted by | Science | , , , | Comments Off on Palintologists discover the annotated Sarah Palin global warmer

Is it wrong to steal?

Thou shalt not steal, not even in an attempt to sabotage international climate agreements. But someone did.

December 6, 2009 Posted by | Crime, Politics, Science | , , | Comments Off on Is it wrong to steal?

More warming=more war in Africa

Julia Whitty writes that warming drives civil war in Africa:

Guess what happens as climate warms in Africa? You get more war. About a 50 percent higher chance of war in unusually warm years.

Read the underlying scientific paper here.

November 29, 2009 Posted by | environment, Health, Science | | 3 Comments

British Baptists’ unprecedented letter to the Prime Minister

Appealing for action against global warming in an unprecedented, front-page letter to Prime Minister Gordon Brown in the The Baptist Times, Britain’s only Baptist newspaper, the Baptist Missionary Society (BMS) wrote:

Prime Minister, we wholeheartedly support the personal commitment that you have shown towards ensuring that the crisis of climate change is addressed as a moral issue, and not just an economic or scientific issue. The poorest people in the world will suffer the most unless we, the richest, take a strong lead.

We therefore ask that you continue to do all you can to make sure that at the Copenhagen Conference the United Kingdom speaks for the interests of the poor of the world on these issues, and provides clear leadership to other nations in this regard.

Written in support of the PM’s efforts at the Copenhagen Climate Conference 2009 in December, the open letter is believed to be “the first time in its 217-year history BMS has written directly to a serving British prime minister.”

Signed by Baptist partners from 23 countries and representing a British community of more than a quarter of a million people in 2,500 churches, the letter makes no demands.
Instead, acting with biblical civility and defying the pervasive shrillness of our times, the signatories promise to pray for the PM and his efforts.
Like those who subscribe to Southern Baptist Creation Care, the letter takes the position that “we have a fundamental responsibility to care for God’s world and God’s people.” Thus it is in keeping with the BMS heritage “which led past generations to combat the evil of slavery, and more recently, support the Jubilee debt campaign … .”
In an editorial in the same issue, Baptist Times Editor Mark Woods adds:

Climate change has been described by leading scientists as a weapon of mass destruction. There is a widespread consensus that while there are of course natural cycles of global warming and cooling, the rate and pattern of change we are seeing now can only be adequately explained by the quantity of greenhouse gases we are putting into the atmosphere. Without the most strenuous efforts to reduce these quantities and mitigate the effects of the change which is now inevitable, the consequences for the world’s peoples – particularly the poorest peoples – are beyond imagining.

At the same time, we need to be aware of the psychological aspects of the climate change campaign. It is clearly wrong, for instance, to demonise those who deny the influence of human beings on climate change. To put them in the same category as Holocaust deniers, as some of the more intemperate campaigners do, is unacceptable.

Science proceeds on the basis of doubt, and progress is based on a willingness to think the unthinkable.

He concludes and in view of the evidence [1, 2, 3, 4] we agree without reservation:

The natural world takes no account of public opinion: the world will not grow cool again because enough people believe that it should. We should be prepared to be led by the facts … .

November 3, 2009 Posted by | environment, Religion | , , , , , | 1 Comment

God saves souls, not planets, warns the archbishop

Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams called for a “radical change of heart” to prevent runaway climate change that will otherwise afflict our children and grandchildren and whose early effects already punish the least among us.

Speaking at the Ebor Lecture, he said:

God’s faithfulness stands, assuring us that even in the most appalling disaster love will not let us go – but it will not be a safety net that guarantees a happy ending in this world.

Listen to the lecture with questions and answers, here [.mp3]. Or read the entire lecture here.

March 30, 2009 Posted by | environment, Health, Religion | , , | Comments Off on God saves souls, not planets, warns the archbishop

‘Coal’ Land linked

Global temperature graph

Richard Land, head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, is in the spotlight as the global-cooling coal man of the hour.

It all started when that Associated Baptist Press noticed that coal had gotten religion, after a fashion.

George Frink has it all here.

March 25, 2009 Posted by | environment, Religion, Science | , , , | Comments Off on ‘Coal’ Land linked

Early farewell to the north polar ice cap

News for Chuck “global cooling” Colson: Arctic ice could disappear completely by 2013. If he and Richard Land can walk on water by then, they can hike together across the north polar ice cap that may not exist.


March 6, 2009 Posted by | environment, Politics, Religion | , | Comments Off on Early farewell to the north polar ice cap

Martin E. Marty on ‘Creation Care’

The Luther seal

American Lutheran religious scholar Martin E. Marty writes about Evangelicals and the Environment:

This week I stumbled upon a little book which prompts a Sighting of one way some evangelicals are dealing with the environmental crisis and the future. It’s Lindy Scott, ed., Christians, the Care of Creation, and Global Climate Change (Pickwick), based on a conference at Illinois’ Wheaton College, often called the flagship evangelical liberal arts college-one of several flagships. The only “known” contributors are Wheaton President A. Duane Litfin and super-scientist and up-front evangelical, ex-Oxonian Sir John Houghton, who spoke and wrote on “Big Science, Big God.” The rest of the essays, reports, and proposals are from students and graduates of Wheaton and its kin and kind.

One of the essayists therein is student Ben Lowe, who copes with the issue of evangelicals shying away from environmental concerns. Marty relates some evangelical environmental hangups and hints at Lowe’s answers:

  1. The environment isn’t really in crisis.” Lowe lists seven patent “degradations” of the climate, and agrees with Calvin De Witt that “the common agent…is human action.”
  2. “Everything’s going to burn up anyway.” This is the word of the “Eschatology determines ethics” apocalypticists, whom he counters effectively.
  3. “Fear of paganism, nature worship and panentheism.” This case is a bit blurry, and demands more careful examination than he gives it, but his report is accurate.
  4. “Higher priorities: save souls, not whales.” This is the oldest standard evangelical put-down; Lowe and others in the book really take that one on, and down.

Creation Care has a growing following among Southern Baptists too.

March 5, 2009 Posted by | Churches, environment, Religion, Science | , , , | Comments Off on Martin E. Marty on ‘Creation Care’

Will joins BP in hornets’ nest kicking

George Will joined Baptist Press in kicking hornets’ nests this week. Indeed, Will’s choice of nests recalled the BP response to Southern Baptist Environment and Climate Initiative (SBECI), as chronicled by Jonathan Merritt. For Will turned his acid intellectual pen to defending the pseudo science of “global cooling,” which was given some friendly treatment by BP (just as global warming got a Southern Baptist cold shoulder) while Merritt struggled vainly in 2008 to get corrective messages through to a BP editor.

Messages to Will are public, however. Neither he nor his staff need answer phone or email for compelling correctives to be filed.

Nate Silver gave Will his comeuppance over what may yet be called “Will’s Law,” as a jape.

As did Ezra Klein, who puts it:

In other words, comparing apples to apples, the scientific community didn’t believe in global cooling and does believe in global warming. Sadly, our political pundits have outsourced their scientific research to an intern charged with a superficial skim of Newsweek covers.

Sound stewardship of facts, or climate, anyone?

February 17, 2009 Posted by | Religion, Science | , , , , | Comments Off on Will joins BP in hornets’ nest kicking