Published in Salt Shakers Journal, March 2007.
“There are ominous signs that the Earth’s weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production – with serious political implications for just about every nation on Earth.”
With all the media coverage on climate change and global warming recently, you might expect that this is a recent statement.
No, this was the opening sentence of an article in Newsweek on 28 April 1975 for an article called ‘The Cooling World’! 1
Did you know that the earth has gone through various cyclical phases of cooling and warming? Did you know that there was a ‘Medieval Warm Period’ from 1000AD to 1400AD when there were farms on Greenland, little ice at the Arctic and Europe’s temperature was much warmer than it is now? 2 Did you know that this was followed by a ‘Little Ice Age’ when the Thames in London would regularly freeze over? 3, 4
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report in 2001 showed a constant temperature for the earth from 1000 AD to the present with an increase since the late 19th century. 5 This was called the ‘hockey stick graph’. Even though this was then discredited, it is still often used.
There have been numerous forecasts of doom and gloom, often with humanistic objectives of controlling people. Paul Ehrlich’s 1968 book The Population Bomb and the Club of Rome’s 1972 report Limits to Growth predicted that the planet would soon be overpopulated and advocated measures to reduce population. But even today, the total population of the world would fit into NSW with each person having 122 square metres each! 6
Then we had the ‘hole in the ozone layer’ scenario - as though it is solid. But ozone is a gas that moves around. We haven’t heard much about that in recent years because ‘the hole’ has reduced in recent years. 7, 8
Global warming is just the latest disaster scenario. Media and politicians are increasingly speaking about the threat of ‘global warming’. Australia’s government is being criticized for not adopting particular strategies, such as signing the Kyoto Protocol. 9
Media reports often confuse climate, weather and global warming and use these interchangeably. The current drought has exacerbated the hype, despite the fact we have had worse droughts in our nation’s history. 10
Business Media recently published a document titled Fire and Ice, listing various climate scares in the past hundred years: cooling in 1895, warming in 1920, cooling in 1975 and warming today. They concluded with a call for unbiased news reporting, accurate statistics and an open debate. 11
Dr Bob Carter, an Australian marine biologist who disputes the ‘global warming’ scare, spoke to the US Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in December 2006 about the media bias on this issue. 12
The selection of climate change proponent Professor Tim Flannery, a palaeontologist, as Australian of the Year has meant even more publicity for those promoting climate change as the most important issue of our day. Exaggerated claims add to the panic. Tim Flannery has talked about the sea level rising by 25 metres, the height of an “eight-storey building”. 13, 14 Mike Archer, dean of science at the University of NSW, wrote that if the ice sheets melted, the sea level would rise by 100 metres. 15 But even the new IPCC report says Antarctica may well gain snow cover, Greenland may not be melting overall and the seas will rise not by 100m in the 100 years, but by between 28-43 cm. 16 And the IPCC is the body doing most of the talking about ‘global warming’!
Tim Flannery has said “I think that we do need to ultimately close down those coal-fired power plants” and “The social licence of coal to operate is rapidly being withdrawn globally” and compared coal to asbestos! 17, 18
This was echoed by Senator Bob Brown who advocated phasing out coal exports by 2010. 19 Other politicians rejected this, noting that the coal industry earns $24 billion a year and involves 30,000 jobs. 20 , 2122, 46 Australia exports coal to China - this is ‘cleaner’ that their coal. Australia is developing new technologies to reduce coal-related emissions and will export those to China.
Some people conclude that man has the answers. Richard Branson, chairman of Virgin Airlines, said “man created the problem and therefore man should solve the problem”. One paper said he wanted to be the “saviour of the planet” with his $32 million prize for someone who can remove carbon gases from the air. The irony of running an airline that pumps out emissions was lost on most people! When questioned, he said that if he didn’t fly his planes British Airways would fly the people instead! 23, 24
Let’s put all this into God’s perspective...
As Christians, we need to look at what God tells us about the earth. We then need to carefully discern the issues and avoid the hype.
Firstly, God created the earth and gave us dominion over it. Genesis 1 and 2.
Secondly, we have a responsibility to maintain good stewardship of the earth. Genesis 2:15 says “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” We should be careful of the earth’s resources and take proper care of the environment.
Thirdly, we need to trust in God’s faithfulness. After the flood, God promised Noah that he would not flood the earth again. Genesis 8:22 says “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”
We can be confident that God will maintain the earth for us but we must also fulfil our responsibility and be good stewards. We are free to use ALL the resources He has given us – but use them wisely.
There is no particular ‘Christian’ view on the topic of ‘global warming’ or ‘climate change’. However some Christians have supported the notion that global warming is an imminent threat. In the USA in February 2006, 86 ‘leaders’ signed a statement called the Evangelical Climate Initiative to fight global warming They ran advertisements in newspapers and TV. 25
When a number of other evangelical leaders – including Charles Colson and Dr James Dobson - heard about this proposal they wrote to the group and asked them not to proceed because the “Global warming is not a consensus issue, and our love for the Creator and respect for His creation does not require us to take a position.” 26 They were ignored and the Initiative was signed; this group then formed the Interfaith Stewardship Alliance “committed to bringing a proper and balanced Biblical view of stewardship to the critical issues of environment and development.” 27
In Australia a multi-faith climate document was published in December 2006 by the Climate Institute. Called Common Belief, it was supported by various Christian groups – Anglicans, Catholic Earthcare, Baptists, Uniting Church, ACL and the Evangelical Alliance. Other faiths included Jewish, Hindu, Baha’i and Muslim. 28
Global Warming – Some of the Facts
The earth is surrounded by a layer of gases. The major ones are nitrogen (78% by volume) and oxygen (21%). These “are essentially transparent to both the incoming solar (short wave) radiation and the infrared (long wave) radiation emitted upward from the earth’s surface”.
The atmosphere also includes what are known as ‘greenhouse gases’: The main ones are water vapour (H2O), making up 95%, carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O), methane (CH4) and ozone (O3). These allow the sunlight through but tend to stop the heat from the earth escaping. 29
These gases are a normal part of the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide, said to be the ‘problem’ in global warming scenarios, makes up 0.037% of the atmosphere. 30, 31 It is breathed out by humans (1 kg per day 32) and used by plants and crops. Carbon dioxide also comes from the use of fossil fuels, coal, petroleum and natural gas. It is cycled in the earth’s environment - carbon is absorbed into ‘sinks’ such as the ocean and forests. 33
Dr Bob Carter notes that, without “the natural greenhouse effect, the average earth temperature would be minus 18 degrees Celsius, compared with the average of plus 15 Celsius that had nurtured the development of life and civilization”... “carbon dioxide is responsible for 3.6 per cent of the total greenhouse effect. Of this, only 0.12 per cent, or 0.036 degrees Celsius, could be attributed to human activity”. 34
Australia produces 1.4 per cent of global greenhouse emissions. The US produces about 25 per cent and China almost 15 per cent. 35, 36 China is expected to be the biggest producer of carbon dioxide by 2009 (it is currently second to the USA). 37
The United Nations role
The UN set up the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1988 to monitor this so-called phenomenon of global warming. The IPCC has published three reports and published the Summary of its fourth Report in February 2007 (the full report is due in May 2007). 38
In June 1992, the UN held the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro; with around 25,000 people and 108 nations attending! 39 The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was opened for signature at the Summit. 40 The Summit was organized by Maurice Strong, a Canadian multi-millionaire, who served from 1973-1975 as the founding director of the UN Environment Program. 41 He is involved in New Age activities and proposes a ‘one world religion’. 42 He wrote the ‘Earth Charter’ in 2000 with Mikhail Gorbachev. 43, 44
The Kyoto Protocol, also designed by Strong, is an agreement made under the UN Convention in 1997 in Japan and came into force in February 2005 - 160 nations have signed the Protocol. Australia and the USA are not signatories. 45 Prime Minister John Howard has explained that, since India and China are not subject to Kyoto, much of our manufacturing industry would go off-shore if Australia signed the treaty. 46, 4748 Ironically, Maurice Strong is now advising China on coal production!
Since the humanistic UN is behind much of the current debate on ‘global warming’ we need to be very cautious.
Is global warming ‘man-made’?
Not all scientists agree that global warming is a major problem and many state that even if some warming is occurring, it is not necessarily man-made.
Dr Timothy Ball, a former professor of climatology, says “The theory of Global Warming assumes that CO2 is an atmospheric greenhouse gas and as it increases temperatures rise”. 49 He says this is flawed - the data shows temperatures rose before the increase in CO2.
Dr S Fred Singer, an atmospheric physicist at George Mason University, is sceptical of the scientific ‘consensus’ on global warming. Singer says that the scenarios are alarmist, computer models reflect real gaps in climate knowledge, and future warming will be inconsequential or modest at most. 50, 51
Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth popularized the global warming/climate change debate; his film purported to show ‘evidence’ but Andrew Bolt and others have pointed out numerous instances where the film distorted the facts. Dr Benny Peiser, from Liverpool’s John Moores University demonstrated that Gore relied on a bungled survey reported in Science. Andrew Bolt calls this phenomenon an “end-of-the-world religion of man-made warming”. 52, 53
US scientist Richard Lindzen, professor of atmospheric science at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology, denounced Gore’s film as “shrill alarmism” or wrong in critical parts. 54
Sir Nicholas Stern’s exaggerated report on global warming to the British House of Lords received huge publicity but a second report to the Lords, describing the IPCC report as flawed, was never discussed. 55, 56
Terry McCrann recently wrote that, if we think there is really a problem with global warming, there are two solutions. One is to return to the 18th century and turn off all our electricity and modern conveniences; the second is to reduce Earth’s population! 57
Some scientists are already talking of such drastic measures. Melbourne neuroscientist Dr John Reid, talking of Apocalypse Now, is sceptical about “the ability of science to rescue humanity from its own folly”. He says humans must find the answer: water rations, 200 grams of meat per week, fleet cars reduced to 10% of the total, no air conditioning - and reducing the population to 2 or 3 billion people! 58, 59
The most important thing we can do as Christians is read what God’s Word says. We also need to be informed and make sure we know who is saying what and what worldview they espouse. Australia must evaluate how it can act responsibly in reducing emissions and developing alternative energy sources. We must not let this issue undermine our national sovereignty. We must not be carried along by humanist hype or impractical suggestions. God will not break His promise. If we believe He is in control of this world then it becomes a matter of good stewardship – are we doing the best we can with what resources He has blessed us with.
We cannot ‘save’ the planet. Only God can. This world will not be wiped out until Christ returns.
This article, with full references, is posted on Salt Shakers website, at Also lots of links. Hard copy - send request and $1.50 in postage stamps to our Office.
1. “The Cooling World”, Newsweek, 28 April 1975.
A scanned pdf copy is at http://denisdutton.com/newsweek_coolingworld.pdf
2. “Climate chaos? Don't believe it”, Christopher Monckton, Sunday Telegraph, 05/11/2006
3. “Failing ocean current raises fears of mini ice age”, New Scientist, 30 November 2005. Fred Pearce.
4. “A skeptic's take on global warming”, Daily Chronicle, Bill Steigerwald, Feb 14, 2007
Interview with Timothy Ball.
5. IPPC Report 2001. At http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/
The graphic is at http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/slides/05.16.htm
The IPCC website is at http://www.ipcc.ch/
6. Calculation at mid-February 2007. World population: 6,525,170,264 (A)
Area of NSW: 800,642 square kilometres. (B) Area per person = (B X 1000 X 1000)/A
7 “Reduced ozone loss at the upper edge of the Antarctic Ozone Hole during 2001–2004”
GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 32, L20816, doi:10.1029/2005GL023968, 2005.
8. Ozone Hole Closing but Labor Split Emerges on Kyoto
Media Release, Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP
17 September 2002
9. Kyoto Protocol - See http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/convkp/kpeng.html
10. Drought in Australia: ABS Article. This special article has been contributed by the National Climate Centre, Bureau of Meteorology. Article reproduced from Year Book of Australia, 1988.
11. Fire and Ice, Business Media Institute, 2006 By R. Warren Anderson.
12. Bob Carter: Presentation to US Senate Committee, Dec 2006.
Bob Carter – presentations and comment about climate change.
Article: “There IS a problem with global warming... it stopped in 1998”, The Telegraph, By Bob Carter.
13. “Climate's last chance”, by Tim Flannery, The Age, 28 October 2006.
14. “Flannery flummery”, Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun, February 16, 2007.
15. “Warming to a religion”, Andrew Bolt, February 02, 2007.
16. IPCC Summary for Policymakers - 18 page document released February 2007. Full report due in May.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: website at http://www.ipcc.ch/
17. “Coal will be the new asbestos”, says Flannery, SMH, Stephanie Peatling, February 9, 2007.
18. Tony Jones speaks with Tim Flannery, ABC Lateline. 07/02/2007.
19. “Brown backs Flannery - "Australia should have a plan to end coal exports", Greens Media release, Senator Brown, 9th February 2007.
20. “PM, Rudd united in mocking coal closure call”, AAP, By Max Blenkin and Vincent Morello
February 10, 2007. At http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,21202961-2,00.html
21. Radio National Breakfast, Mitch Hooke, 12 February 2007.
22. “The Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate” is an initiative of the Austrlaian government – established in January 2006 along with China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea and the United States. At http://www.dfat.gov.au/environment/climate/ap6/
23. “Branson prize to fight global warming”, The Age, 10/2/2007. At http://www.theage.com.au/news/world/branson-to-fight-climate-change/2007/02/10/1170524332652.html
24. “Branson offers £10m to the person who can prevent the climate change crisis”, The Independent, UK, 9/2/2007 At http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/article2251346.ece
25. ‘Evangelical Climate Initiative’ statement: Climate Change: An Evangelical Call to Action
Website for the group: http://www.christiansandclimate.org/
This statement was organised by the Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN).
26. “The Evangelical Climate Initiative: A small crack in the conservative movement”
Media Transparency, Bill Berkowitz, February 22, 2006.
Thorough analysis of the different positions taken on this issue and the opposition to the ‘Evangelical Climate Initiative’ by many conservatives. At http://www.mediatransparency.org/story.php?storyID=112
27. Interfaith Stewardship Alliance. The group formed by those leaders who opoposed the ‘Evangelical Climate Initiative. At http://www.interfaithstewardship.org/pages/home.php
28. “Common Belief: Australia's faith communities on climate change” . Statement organised by the Climate Institute – their homepage is at http://www.climateinstitute.org.au
Media Release: ‘Common Belief: Australia's Religions United on Climate’, Tuesday 5th December 2006
Each group has two pages in the booklet.
29. “The Greenhouse Effect and Climate Change”, Australian Bureau of Meteorology.
This is a helpful 78 page publication explaining the greenhouse effect, the gases involved, how carbon dioxide is cycled and absorbed into sinks, etc. It does tend towards global warming scenarios, but contains useful information. At http://www.bom.gov.au/info/GreenhouseEffectAndClimateChange.pdf
30. “Atmosphere”, Encyclopedia Encarta.
31. “ Global warming cyclical, says climate expert”, The Age, By Philip Hopkins, June 13, 2005.
Article also includes information on the cooling and warming periods. Professor Bob Carter says water vapour makes up at least 95% of the greenhouse effect.
Nitrogen and oxygen make up 99% of the atmosphere. Of the remaining 1%, water vapour makes up 95%, meaning 0.05% of the atmosphere is made up of all other greenhouse gases.
Also see reference 29 and 30. At http://www.theage.com.au/news/Science/Global-warming-cyclical-says-climate-expert/2005/06/12/1118514924793.html
32. “How does respiration by humans and animals affect carbon dioxide levels in atmosphere?”, Global Change, http://www.gcrio.org/doctorgc/index.php/drweblog/C48/
33.“The Greenhouse Effect and Climate Change”, idid. Ref 29.
34. “ Global warming cyclical, says climate expert”, Age, By Philip Hopkins, June 13, 2005.
35. “Greenhouse Accounts show Australia is still on target for 108 per cent”, 23 May 2006,
Media Release, Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell. At http://www.environment.gov.au/minister/env/2006/mr23may406.html
36. USA and China rates
37. “China to Pass U.S. in 2009 in Emissions”, New York Times, 7 Nov 2006. At http://www.nytimes.com/...
38. The IPCC website is at http://www.ipcc.ch/
39. The Earth Summit - United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), Rio de Janeiro, 3-14 June 1992. Conference homepage and details. At http://www.un.org/geninfo/bp/enviro.html
40. The Earth Summit – outcomes. At http://www.un.org/geninfo/bp/envirp2.html
41. “At the United Nations, the Curious Career of Maurice Strong”, Thursday, February 08, 2007
By Claudia Rosett and George Russell, FOX News.
Detailed account of Maurice Strong’s involvement in UN activities.
42. As documented in a previous Salt Shakers journal article.
43. Earth Charter - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth_Charter
44. Articles on the Earth Charter and religion…
THE EARTH CHARTER'S SPIRITUAL AGENDA, Contender Ministries.
45. Kyoto Protocol - See http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/convkp/kpeng.html
46. “Howard pushes for 'new' Kyoto agreement”, The Australian, Steve Lewis and Dennis Shanahan, November 01, 2006. At http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,20679728-2,00.html
47. “Climate of opportunity”, The Australian, 21 Oct 2006.
48. “China 'Coal Man' Maurice Strong back on radar screen”, Canada Free Press, By Judi McLeod Wednesday, April 19, 2006. At http://www.canadafreepress.com/2006/cover041906.htm
49. “Global Warming - The Cold, Hard Facts”. Canada Free Press, Timothy Ball, 5 Feb 2007.
50. Interview with Dr S Fred Singer, PBS, downloaded 27 Feb, 2007.
51. “Global Warming Is a Global Scare Tactic”, Geoff Metcalf, Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2007.
52. “Bulled by a Gore”, Herald Sun, September 13, 2006. Andrew Bolt writes: The former US vice-president's ludicrous scaremongering contains exaggerations, half-truths and falsehoods.
Andrew Bolt’s latest article about Al Gore…
“It's a joke, right!”, Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun, March 02, 2007. At http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,21309812-25717,00.html
53. "The Inconvenient Truth" is indeed inconvenient to alarmists”, Scientists respond to Gore's warnings of climate catastrophe, By Tom Harris, Monday, June 12, 2006. At http://www.canadafreepress.com/2006/harris061206.htm
54. “Bulled by a Gore”, Andrew Bolt, op cit see No 52.
55. The Stern Report. Official page with all the documents. At http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/independent_reviews/stern_review_economics_climate_change/sternreview_index.cfm
56. House of Lords - Select Committee on Economic Affairs Second Report – June 2005.
Abstract at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200506/ldselect/ldeconaf/12/1203.htm
57. “Warming to the 18th century?”, Terry McCrann, Herald Sun, February 07, 2007.
58. “Apocolypse Now, Interview with Dr John Reid”, Ockham’s Razor, ABC Radio National, 10 December 2006. At http://www.abc.net.au/rn/ockhamsrazor/stories/2006/1807002.htm
59. “Melbourne Atheist: The Exterminator”, Commentary on interview with Dr John Reid by Bill Muehlenberg, Culture Watch, 10 January 2007.