Climate Change is not just a scientific or political issue, but a moral and spiritual issue of love and justice touching core issues of faith and Christian life. But here we will first look at the basic facts of climate change (also referred to as Global Warming, Anthropogenic Global Warming, Climate Disruption and more, see NOTE below). In brief, It’s Really Happening, Really Human Caused, Really Serious and We Can Still Really Do Something About It!
Climate Change: It’s Really Happening
Gases in the air allow energy from the sun to reach and warm the surface of the earth. Some of those gases block the heat energy of a warming surface from leaving the planet. These greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide (CO2) – a product of burning things – and methane – a fossil fuel and major byproduct of animal agriculture.
Lab tests, observing the planet, records from the past and many other types of evidence confirm that greenhouse gases allow light energy to pass through them to warm up a surface. They also confirm that those gases block heat energy from leaving. The heat energy that can’t leave builds up to increase temperatures.
In this blog we don’t spend a great deal of time on climate change/global warming. This is not because we do not believe it’s a problem – it is. But in the larger picture of what is happening in God’s creation, climate change is one of many problems, including loss of biodiversity (extinctions), water, deforestation, chemical pollution – the list could go on and on. The January issue of the Journal of the Royal Geographic Society, one of the most prestigious scientific organizations in the world, devotes itself to the question of whether and when the globe might reach a temperature increase of four degrees Celsius (7 degrees F) and what such a temperature rise might mean.
This is not good bedtime reading, but you need to at least take a look. Keep in mind that the 2070’s (see the first article below) are within the lifetime of today’s college students, and that this is not material from the radical edges of the blogosphere. These are some of the world’s most respected scientists, but – considering the scenarios they are describing – some of them are more optimistic than I would have expected.
Below are some of the articles in this issue with a quote or two from each. The content is free today – I’m not sure if it will remain so. I have copies if the links to the articles no longer work – drop a note in the comments or send me a message. Continue reading