Kumi Naidoo, international director of Greenpeace, tweeted an article today that caught my attention. Written by David Suzuki at EcoWatch, it discusses climate change deniers and their mutually exclusive arguments. At a recent conference organized by the Heartland Institute, one of the biggest centers for climate change “skepticism” in the United States, the speakers were arguing that climate change isn’t happening, or that it’s happening but that it’s cooling the earth instead of warming it, or that it is warming it but it’s not caused by humans but by the sun, volcanoes or something else, or that it is happening and it is caused by humans but it’s to expensive to do anything about it.
Obviously, these four theories are not compatible with each others, yet they were uttered at the same conference. The only common thread was, according to Bloomberg news, the constant jokes about Al Gore. I wasn’t at the event, but I recognize the pattern from various climate skeptic blogs that I’ve encountered; and I would like to add another thing that I think is almost universal among climate change deniers: conspiracy theories.
When I took a course in climate change at Uppsala University, we watched a British climate change “skeptic” documentary that argued that the earth is indeed warming, but it’s caused by the sun rather than carbon dioxide. It ended with an attempt to explain why most scientists believe in man-made climate change if it’s so obvious that it is caused by the sun, and the answer was – I’m not kidding now – that they are communists. The voice-over explained to us that after Soviet collapsed, Marxists and leftits felt disillusioned in how they now would crush capitalism, and found their escape in the environmental movement and its demand to decrease fossil fuel usage.
Likewise, a friend of mine who is a climate change denier explained to me and his wife why global warming is a myth that is being spread by scientists, politicians and activists in a global conspiracy. When she asked him why, he firstly didn’t understand what she meant. “Why would they come up with this lie and spread it on if it’s so easy to disprove?” “I don’t know”, he admitted after a while. I guess he hadn’t heard about the commie theory.
Suzuki’s article also describes how some evangelical Christians are climate change deniers, not mainly because of scientific study but because of theology. The Cornwall Alliance’s Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming says “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.”
This is, however, very unbiblical, since the Scriptures never states that humans cannot impact the environment or that nature always will be self-regulating. It’s embarrassing that Christians sympathize with conspiracy theories because of bad theology, and I hope that more and more disciples will realize that the world is indeed warming and no, it’s not the sun.