Do e-mails show climate change is humbug?
As world leaders gather in Copenhagen this Christmas season to discuss ways to curb global warming, some people are saying it’s all humbug; Al Gore and scientists who fret about climate change are Scrooges. This untimely environmental backlash was generated by some e-mails that were hacked from computers of environmental scientists at the University of East Anglia in Britain. People who are skeptical about climate change say the e-mails show scientists manipulated data to support the false hypothesis that Earth is warming. Others say the e-mails merely reflect debate among scientists about the details of climate change.
Predictions of our planet’s demise via Armageddon or environmental catastrophe are nothing new. Since none have proven true so far, it’s natural for us to regard their messengers like Chicken Little or the boy who cried wolf. Some question the motives of scientists who say we’re destroying our planet. After all, those scientists receive millions of dollars in research grants that would dry up if it turned out climate change isn’t real. But many of those who pooh-pooh concerns about global warming have a suspect agenda of their own: If our climate isn’t changing, we can go on polluting to our hearts’ content. That’s good for business, especially in industrial countries like ours.
So who should we believe? God, our consciences and common sense.
God created a planet that is remarkably resilient to be our home. It continues to function quite well despite millennia of abuse. God entrusted this marvelous planet to humans. We are not intruders, and we have a right to manage and use Earth’s resources (Genesis 1:28-30). But we must remember that God considered all His creation, not just people, to be “very good,” and He instructed us to “take care of” that creation (Genesis 1:31, 2:15).
With that in mind, our consciences should tell us that wasting resources and unnecessarily interfering with natural processes is just plain wrong, whether or not environmental doom is imminent. The prophet Ezekiel wrote, “As for you, my flock, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘I will judge between one sheep and another, and between rams and goats. Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture? Must you also trample the rest of your pasture with your feet? Is it not enough for you to drink clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet?’” (Ezekiel 34:17-19.
As for common sense, wouldn’t reducing waste make more food and other resources available to the needy of the world now and for all of us in the long term? Rather than touting the status quo or relying on government regulations to solve whatever environmental problems there may be, we should wisely use and manage the resources God has entrusted to us through such activities as recycling, patronizing organic food producers and purchasing goods that use less energy. Regardless of whether it’s in fashion, regardless of debates among scientists.