Last year was the hottest year globally since records began more than a century ago. For the third year in a row, the annual temperature records were exceeded.
Yet so many people are sceptical and opposed to action on climate change. They seem to fear how climate change action may affect them, by costing them money or taking away some of their freedoms. Some christians apparently believe God will end the world before climate change becomes too much of a problem.
How should christians respond?
There’s a lot of misinformation around. Media outlets and conservative politicians spread scepticism without much basis in fact.
After all, the scientific experts are almost unanimously agreed that human actions are slowly destroying the balance of important parts of the natural world. Yet somehow influential sceptics in media and politics who have no expertise want us to believe them rather than the scientists who have studied the available information.
What’s going on?
8 of the world’s largest corporations have a financial interest in oil and energy, that may be affected by climate change action, and there is evidence that large corporations (not necessarily the world’s largest) and their rich supporters, are promoting misinformation.
Christians must get informed, not just believe what dishonest or uninformed media and politicians tell them.
To help you get informed, I have written a page – Seven facts about climate change that all christians should know – that gives a quick insight into the whole thing.
The seven facts are:
- The world really is getting hotter.
- The weather is getting more extreme.
- We are the main cause.
- There is a climate change conspiracy, but it’s not what you think.
- Christians should care deeply.
- We can do something about it.
- It’s time to act!
I am not a climate expert, but I worked for many years as a hydrologist and water manager, I understand climate variability and climate data, and I have read extensively on the topic. And I give you expert references to check out further.
I hope you check out this page, and the seven facts.
A quick summary of 2016
2016 was the hottest year on record, but not only that, the increase in global temperature was greater than in previous years (as the graph shows).
The reduction in Arctic sea ice continues, with the maximum extent in 2016 the lowest in the 4 decades of records, and the average extent equal second lowest.
Latest research shows increasing impacts on the lives of wildlife.
There is some evidence of increasing occurrence and severity of bushfires, storms, droughts and cyclones around the world.
Sea levels continue to rise slowly as a result of global warming (about 3 mm per year, which doesn’t sound like much, but will have a large long term impact).
We cannot assume God will end this world any time soon – even Jesus said he didn’t know when that would occur (Mark 13:32). We have a responsibility to God to care for his creation and for the people in it, especially the suffering and poor (who will be worst affected).
Our lives are not our own (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), and we shouldn’t seek wealth ahead of God’s kingdom (Matthew 6:33).
There are things we can do. We can change the way we use power and energy (e.g. drive a smaller or more fuel efficient car, use less air conditioning, install solar panels) and we can vote for politicians who are working to make the required changes.
I hope all christians will see past the misinformation by the anti-science, pro-greed forces and accept the clear evidence and the need for us to act.
It’s not too late, and certainly not too soon!
Graph: Global temperature (annual averages and 5 year trend) shown as variation from the 20th century average (NASA).