Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Anti-Global Warming Position of Religious Right Fails stewardship of Gospel

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The Union Tribune San Diego published an article by distinguished professor of Marine Chemistry, Jeffery L. Bada in which he descriges the letters he got in response to his statements about Gobal warming:

One challenged me to a debate about whether global warming and rising carbon dioxide was real science, or a hoax, and stated that I was “woefully ignorant of climate science and even the basics of how science works.” In response, I suggested we arrange a debate through an organization such as the National Academy of Sciences. The response: the academy could not “be relied upon to provide a neutral setting or neutral format,” and I was asked, “Has science now evolved into the telling of ‘tall tales,’ where logic and evidence are no longer required?” A follow-up email stated, “The climate cult does not want to get it right. Climate science is solo corrupt.”[1]
That was back in 2005, if we follow the reports through the years we see those predictions coming true. In 2009, David Biello told us, in Scientific American, the risk was getting worse. A study new at that time, also by the UNIPCC showed that threats "ranging from the destruction of coral reefs to more extreme weather events like hurricanes, droughts and floods—are becoming more likely at the temperature change already underway: as little as 1.8 degree Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius) of warming in global average temperatures."[5]

Most people thought that the risks were going to be for certain species and poor people. But all of a sudden the European heat wave of 2003 comes along and kills 50,000, [Hurricane] Katrina comes along and there's a lot of data about the increased intensity of droughts and floods. Plus, the dramatic melting of Greenland that nobody can explain certainly has to increase your concern," says climatologist Stephen Schneider of Stanford University, who co-authored the research published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences as well as in several IPCC reports. "Everywhere we looked, there was evidence that what was believed to be likely has happened. Nature has been cooperating with [climate change] theory unfortunately.[6]

Climate chnage is already here and it's proved according to Biello temp has risen 1.1degree (fr) further warming of 0.7 is certain. Several studies including MIT shows GW is already worse than predicted. (2000 scientists in IPCCreffered to by Hertsgaard.

 What is this organization the IPCC that these sources are talking about?

 from their website (IPCC):

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the leading international body for the assessment of climate change. It was established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988 to provide the world with a clear scientific view on the current state of knowledge in climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic impacts. In the same year, the UN General Assembly endorsed the action by WMO and UNEP in jointly establishing the IPCC.

The IPCC is a scientific body under the auspices of the United Nations (UN). It reviews and assesses the most recent scientific, technical and socio-economic information produced worldwide relevant to the understanding of climate change. It does not conduct any research nor does it monitor climate related data or parameters.

Thousands of scientists from all over the world contribute to the work of the IPCC on a voluntary basis. Review is an essential part of the IPCC process, to ensure an objective and complete assessment of current information. IPCC aims to reflect a range of views and expertise. The Secretariat coordinates all the IPCC work and liaises with Governments. It is supported by WMO and UNEP and hosted at WMO headquarters in Geneva.

The IPCC is an intergovernmental body. It is open to all member countries of the United Nations (UN) and WMO. Currently 195 countries are members of the IPCC. Governments participate in the review process and the plenary Sessions, where main decisions about the IPCC work programme are taken and reports are accepted, adopted and approved. The IPCC Bureau Members, including the Chair, are also elected during the plenary Sessions.

Because of its scientific and intergovernmental nature, the IPCC embodies a unique opportunity to provide rigorous and balanced scientific information to decision makers. By endorsing the IPCC reports, governments acknowledge the authority of their scientific content. The work of the organization is therefore policy-relevant and yet policy-neutral, never policy-prescriptive.[7]

Conservative estimates demonstarte that warming trend can be tied to 150,000 deaths. This is only a conservative estimate. It was made in 2005 and has born out over time.

Earth's warming climate is estimated to contribute to more than 150,000 deaths and 5 million illnesses each year, according to the World Health Organization, a toll that could double by 2030.
The data, being published today in the journal Nature, indicate that climate change is driving up rates of malaria, malnutrition and diarrhea throughout the world.
Health and climate scientists at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, who conducted one of the most comprehensive efforts yet to measure the impact of global warming on health, said the WHO data also show that rising temperatures disproportionately affect poor countries that have done little to create the problem. They reached their conclusions after entering data on climate-sensitive diseases into mapping software.[8]
The world Health Organization has this year published a set of "key facts" about global warming that show many of these predictions coming true:

Key facts

  • Climate change affects the social and environmental determinants of health – clean air, safe drinking water, sufficient food and secure shelter.
  • Global warming that has occurred since the 1970s caused over 140 000 excess deaths annually by the year 2004.
  • The direct damage costs to health (i.e. excluding costs in health-determining sectors such as agriculture and water and sanitation), is estimated to be between US$ 2-4 billion/year by 2030.
  • Many of the major killers such as diarrhoeal diseases, malnutrition, malaria and dengue are highly climate-sensitive and are expected to worsen as the climate changes.
  • Areas with weak health infrastructure – mostly in developing countries – will be the least able to cope without assistance to prepare and respond.
  • Reducing emissions of greenhouse gases through better transport, food and energy-use choices can result in improved health.
Also on their page:
 Extreme high air temperatures contribute directly to deaths from cardiovascular and respiratory disease, particularly among elderly people. In the heat wave of summer 2003 in Europe for example, more than 70 000 excess deaths were recorded2.
 Robine JM et al. Death toll exceeded 70 000 in Europe during the summer of 2003. Les Comptes Rendus/Série Biologies, 2008, 331:171–78.[9]

There are more extreme predictions made just that following year in 2006. We wont know if they are going to bare out until much latter in the century, if they do it will be a major catastrophe and threatens the survival of all humanity. Some predict 10 billion could die by end of the century. James Lovejoy is highly respected environmental scientist who proposed the Gaia theory, that the Earth is a self sustaining organism."Lovelock warns that the world has already passed the point of no return with global warming, and that climate change will kill billions of people in this century as the Earth reaches a “coma'' state from which it may not recover for 100,000 years."[10] Before we dismiss these projections we need to remember that the temperature of the earth has risen 1% and we have seen drastic effects including the virtual elimination of the polar ice caps. The temp is projected to rise much higher, we are just getting started. Even the conservative estimates are dire and too tragic to allow. It's all because it would be a threat to our greed to change our way of life.

Climate change has been adopted into the culture wars. It's now a sign of "obama support" to accept it and of "standing tall against Obama" to deny it. Rania Khalek demonstrates the extent to which right-wing politics has tried to sabotage the public's understanding of the science involved.

 It’s been widely proven that fossil fuel interests, most notably ExxonMobil, used the tobacco industry’s playbook and an extensive arsenal of lobbyists and “experts” to manufacture disinformation designed to confuse the public and stifle action to address climate change.  As documented by Greenpeace, in recent years this corporate PR campaign has gone viral, spawning a denial movement that is largely immune to reasoned response.  While the more powerful climate change deniers have manipulative objectives, such as preserving their vested interests in fossil fuels or political posturing with their constituencies, many on the right actually believe climate change is a hoax.  This PR campaign has contributed immensely to denial, but there is still more to the story.[11]

She also argues that cognitive dissonance lurks behind the conservative's ultimate reaosn for denying the such well documented problems. Climate change threatens a whole range of things precious to right wing: individual freedom, property rights, small government, free markets, "unfettered industrial capitalism"[12] (aka the every popular making of money). The thing about the theory of cognitive dissonance is that it explains why certain groups (aka hte 1950s flying saucer cult that Leon Festinger and his students infiltrated) grew more committed to their causes even when they were disproved. For example the group kept putting out dates for the end of the world, the UFOs were supposed to come
and save them right before the end, neither thing ever happened of cousre. The dates came and went with no UFO and no end of the world and yet the members grew more dedicated. As Khalek puts it:

It is far more simple to deny science, than to accept that one's worldview is wrong. Unfortunately, environmental organizations are in a kind of denial as well.  Climate change is about an economic model that demands infinite growth on a finite planet. However, environmental groups are reluctant to relate climate change to economics and politics, probably because conservatives would see it as confirmation of the right-wing myth that global warming is a socialist plot to redistribute the world's wealth.[13]

She doesn't actually explain the rationale behind cognitive dissonance. I've written about cognitive dissonance before. The committment made to a cause is so great that one can't accept it being disproved. So one re-doubles the effort in an attempt to rationalize the failure. It's really akin to the attempt to save the paradigm in Kuhn's theory.[14] Part of that rationalization is the attempt to link Global warming, via liberal propaganda, to anti-Christian causes such as liberals are known to take up. Thus the illusion is caste, and many intelligent Christians believe it, that Global warming is an atheist plot. In fact the rationalization that global warming is not man induces is a sin. We are failing our duty to the Lord to be good Stewards of the earth.

In Genesis 1:26 God gave man dominion over the earth, what does that mean? Traditionally it's translated as "subdue" or "rule over." One read into that aspect a hint of responsible Stewardship. Adam was set in the Garden to "tend it" The term used there implies protect not just cultivate. Gensis 2:15 "Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it." God did not give man the right to destroy the earth, the term "tend" in Heberw is 'abad meaning
  "'to work or serve,' and thus referring to the ground or a garden, it can be defined as "to till or cultivate." It possesses the nuance seen in the KJV's choice in its translation: "dress," implying adornment, embellishment, and improvement."[15]

From a Catholic perspective, Philip C.L. Gray defines Stewardship as "Christian stewardship is a way of living in which we recognize that everything belongs to God. All resources must be used for His glory and the common good. Solidarity is the fruit of stewardship."[16] He elaborates examples of Stewardship in scripture:

 In Sacred Scripture we find many examples of stewards being placed over the affairs of their masters. Abram had a steward. He was Eliezer of Damascus, a slave born in the house of Abram. Were Abram not to have offspring, Eliezer would receive his freedom and inherit all Abram's possessions (cf. Gen. 15:2-3). In Genesis 41, we find the story of Joseph and how Pharaoh made him steward over the land of Egypt. Joseph was not part of the royal family, and he would not inherit the throne. Yet, because of Joseph's wisdom and discretion given by God, Pharaoh entrusted the entire kingdom to his care. "[Y]ou shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command; only as regards the throne will I be greater than you" (Gen. 41:40).[17]
He points to Gensis 1:26-28 as the inauguration of human stewardship over the earth. He makes the argument that there's more being said in this passage than just "tend the garden" the whole passes indicates the stewardship expected of Adam and Eve.[18] Modern theologians have developed concepts of Ecological stewardship and Christians from all walks of faith support the notion. "Many moderate and progressive Catholics, Protestants and evangelicals see environmentalism as a consequence of stewardship. In Jewish and Christian traditions stewardship also refers to the way time, talents, material possessions, or wealth are used or given for the service of God."[19]

What we see is that when humanity was in right relatinoship with God (symbolized by the pre fall life in the Garden) we take care of the earth adn protect it. When that relationship is broken and we are separated from God (symbolized by the fall) we must struggle to wrest food from the earth amid thorns and weeds.


all online sources accessed 2/11/14

[1] Jeffrey L. Bada, "Global Warming Deniers Guilty of Attack on Science," Union Tribune San Diego, On line source, "UT-San Diego." Nov 23 (2013)
Jeffrey L. Bada is professor of Marine Chemistry and former Director of the NASA Specialized Center of Research and Training (NSCORT) in Exobiology in the Geologic Research Division at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California at San Diego.
He obtained his PhD in Chemistry from UCSD under the direction of Stanley Miller in 1968.  Prof. Bada’s research deals with the geochemistry of amino acids, organic cosmogeochemistry, the sources and stability of organic compounds on the primitive Earth and other solar system bodies, the origin of homochirality on Earth and the detection of possible remnants of life on solar system bodies both by in situ analyses and from the study of meteorites.

 [2] Mark Hertsgaard, "Kyoto Can't Save us."February 14, (2005) alertnet
Mark Hertsgaard, the environment correspondent for The Nation, is the author of six books, including "Earth Odyssey: Around the World In Search of Our Environmental Future" and, most recently, "HOT: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth."

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5]  David Biello "Risks of Global Warming Rising, Is It too Late to Reverse Course?"Scientific American, Feb 27, (2009) |

[6] Ibid.

[7] UNIPCC Website

Their statement about who they are.

[8] Juliet Eilperin, "Climate Shift Tied To 150,000 Fatalities," Washington Post,Thursday, November 17, (2005). online,

Juliet Eilperin is staff writer for Washington Post

[9] World Health Organization, "Climate change and health Fact sheet N°266," Reviewed November 2013

[10] , "Global Warming May Kill Billions this Century," environmental issues
January 16, (2006) on line
Larry West is a professional writer and editor who has written many articles about environmental issues for leading newspapers, magazines and online publications. He has been a guide at since 2004.

[11] Renia Khalek, "Is Cognitive Dissonance Fueling Conservative Denial of Climate Change?" Common Dreams. Tuesday, February 11, (2014) online
 Rania Khalek is an independent journalist reporting on the underclass and marginalized. Her work has appeared at Common Dreams, Salon, The Nation, In These Times, Citizen Radio and more. To see more of Rania’s work visit her blog Dispatches from the Underclass and follow her on twitter @RaniaKhalek.

[12] Ibid

[13] Ibid.

[14] Cognitive Dissonance, Wikipedia

[15] Richard T. Ritenbaugh, from "the Bible and the Environment" on "Genesis 2:15, commentaries, forunner commentaries" Bible
on line

[16] Philip C.L. Gray, "Christian Stewardship, What God Expects from us." CERC home, published by Catholilc Educational Resource Center, on line resource Original publication, Philip C.L. Gray. "Christian Stewardship: What God Expects from Us." Lay Witness (September 2001).
Philip C.L. Gray is Vice President of Catholics United for the Faith. He is a lay speaker.

[17] Ibid.

[18] Ibid.

[19] "Stweardship Theology" Wikipedia Nov 2007
last modified 15 November 2013

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