Tag Archives: John Cook

Climate: Neutralizing Christians with a Veneer of Controversy

“Don’t believe those climate change alarmists! Because three percent of climate scientists think they’re wrong!”

Hmm. That wouldn’t make a very effective PR campaign, now would it? That’s why you never hear those words from Fox News, the WSJ, or the radio talk shows. It’s always “a growing number of scientists” or “thousands of scientists and doctors….”

About a week ago, we ran an article written by two evangelical climate scientists urging Christians to confront the threat of manmade climate change as a core faith issue. Days earlier, Thomas Ackerman and Katharine Hayhoe had published their article in the online evangelical journal, Christian Post. They wrote:

“We know climate change is real, that most of it is human-caused, and that it is a threat to future generations that must be addressed by the global community. We are also evangelical Christians who believe that God created the world in which we live.”

I felt relieved: real, leading Christian climate scientists telling their faith community the widely-understood facts about climate change. Maybe this would clear up the confusion that so many American evangelicals feel about climate science – confusion that seems to prevent us from acting to protect the creation.

But my relief was short-lived. Just days later, the Christian Post followed up with a rebuttal article, written by two other climate scientists, denying much of what Ackerman and Hayhoe had just told us. Not only that, they challenged them to a formal college campus debate, something that politicians do; scientists usually just produce research refuting the errors of their colleagues.

But to laymen like us, the tit-for-tat left many wondering whom to believe. Some credible scientists tell us that we must act to reduce greenhouse gases driving climate change. But then some other credible-sounding scientists come along and tell us just the opposite. Not exactly what we need to motivate a call to arms, is it? Maybe we should just do nothing, till this “controversy” is resolved.

And that’s a pity, because that’s just what most of climate denial is all about. You create the sense that this issue isn’t yet resolved, and so laymen like us will remain frozen in our tracks – worried, but not willing to act, especially if it might involve sacrifice. It worked for the tobacco industry for decades. Now it’s working for fossil fuels.  Continue reading