Church Solar Panels
Church of England

Pray and fast for climate change? Is the Church creating disciples of Christ or eco-warriors?

 

The latest session of the General Synod of the Church of England drew to a close in York this week and, absent any debate about women bishops, it failed to set the blood racing. Indeed, until we get on to discussing the outcomes of the two-year ‘shared conversations‘ on sexuality, things are likely to stay pretty quiet. A couple of items did manage to gain some media attention, though. Firstly, these shared conversations involving 600 people will cost the CofE £360,000. That’s a lot of money spent on talking about sex, especially when it runs the risk of producing little by way of helpful conclusions. Let’s hope and pray it has been a wise investment.

Talking of investments, the second item was the matter of climate change and divestment from fossil fuels. Despite various recent rumblings about the need for the Church of England to set an example and steer away from companies extracting fossil fuels, somewhat surprisingly it would appear that the Church’s Ethical Investment Advisory Group (EAIG) is in agreement with Brother Ivo. The former national secretary of the Green Party is now a member of Synod and, having changed his mind on many ‘green’ issues, contributed to the discussion as a devil’s advocate, explaining why a complete halt in investing in these companies could potentially be disastrous. Until renewable sources are able to provide the majority of our energy needs, we need to accept that affordable and readily-available fossil fuels are essential not only to keep societies functioning, but also to drive down global poverty.

This argument clearly worked as Synod almost unanimously backed the EIAG (and Brother Ivo). Make no mistake though, the CofE will not be turning its back on the issue. It fully intends to ‘engage robustly’ with Shell and BP and other petroleum companies, and it will continue to hold millions of pounds of shares in renewables and work towards a low-carbon economy. Synod also overwhelmingly voted for a motion presented by Nicholas Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury:

That this Synod, believing that God’s creation is holy, that we are called to protect the earth now and for the future, and that climate change disproportionately affects the world’s poorest, and welcoming the convergence of ecumenical partners and faith communities in demanding that the nations of the world urgently seek to limit the global rise in average temperatures to a maximum of 2 ̊C, as agreed by the United Nations in Cancun..

It would be easy at this point to descend into another heated discussion about whether climate change is actually real, but irrespective of the stark differences of opinion on this matter, the CofE still deserves credit for not ducking the issue and thinking it through seriously.

Perhaps, though, there are some who have become a little too consumed by it all. In his motion, the Bishop of Salisbury, who is Chairman of the CofE’s Environment Working Group, also referred to the development and promotion of new ‘ecotheological resources’ for the whole church; in-service training for all ministers on ‘eco-justice’ and ‘ecotheology’; and of encouraging parishes and dioceses to pray and fast for climate justice on the first day of each month.

Is it the task of the Church to create disciples of Christ or eco-warriors? The Church of England is not a branch of the Green Party or a subsidiary of Greenpeace. Certainly, one of the Church of England’s Five Marks of Mission is to “strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth”, so, yes, it deserves proper attention as part of the church’s ministry. But if the Church finds itself spending more time and energy on dishing out ‘eco-justice’ than preaching salvation, then something has gone badly awry. Are there the same levels of enthusiasm at Synod and beyond for the less fashionable and more challenging Marks of Mission, such as proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom and teaching, baptising and nurturing new believers? If Synod has decided that members of the CofE ought to spend a day each month fasting and praying over climate change, then surely they should be encouraging the same to be done over the declining number of young people in this country who have any understanding of the Christian faith. We might also be called to fast and pray against all those who promulgate terrorism; for the increase of wisdom in national and world leaders; for a fair, just and economically stable society; that the Church might be guided by God’s Spirit rather than human whims; and that the gospel of Jesus would be revealed powerfully, leading many to repentance and reconciliation with God.

By all means, let’s see churches installing solar panels on the roof (subject to listed-building restrictions), and having vicars who have a good understanding of what it means to be stewards of God’s creation (although that really ought to have been covered at theological college). But let’s also get them trained up as effective leaders as well as pastors. Let’s get them thinking as missionaries, apostles and prophets, looking at how the Church can reach out and share the love of God with those who wouldn’t ever think of walking into a church service. And let’s get the Church of England actively encouraging every member to use their gifts in various forms of ministry, remembering that according to the Bible every Christian is a member of the priesthood; not just those with dog collars.

During the climate change debate at Synod, Steven Croft, Bishop of Sheffield, called for “an ecological conversion of individuals and communities”. That is good and proper. but unless a spiritual conversion is also being sought, the Church of England is wasting its time.

  • David

    Leaving aside the questions around whether climatic changes are due to human activity, whilst the C of E continues to do everything except preach the Gospel of the Risen Lord, who died for our salvation, then it will continue to shrink in all ways.

    • IanCad

      David,

      They may or may not preach the Gospel but we may be seeing evidence that the read it. Most particularly Revelation 11:18
      “–and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.”
      Can’t be too careful.

      • David

        Point taken.
        Indeed I am all for being good stewards of God’s earth.
        However there’s much disturbing evidence to indicate too me that the science of climate is being skewed for purely political purposes. Like so much else it has been highjacked by political activists, unconcerned with the scientific method.
        However that’s a vast area of contention that may be best left for later.

  • sarky

    The church praying for something that doesn’t exist……oh the irony!

    • Dreadnaught

      Not so fast Tonto; I believe that in this case the Church has got it right except for the prayers and fasting of course.

      • sarky

        Think you might be the ‘lone’ ranger on this one! !

        • Dreadnaught

          Meh! 🙂

  • preacher

    Excellent Blog Gillan.
    It seems the CofE has lost it’s sat nav & wandered off into the wilderness. How many ways can one put this ? – The Church’s remit is clearly written in Scripture, it’s not up to any group, individual or Synod to meander off into areas that have no relevance, or to start rewriting the handbook.
    We all have different gifts, bestowed by God to facilitate the teaching & spreading of the gospel. We learn from life & each other as we progress through life.
    On an individual level we may hold varying views & can share them, agree. disagree, continue to differ, or thrash them out in debate.
    One thing is clear though, if the Church leaders take their eye off the ball & wander, in an effort to be Worldly wise, we will undoubtedly emulate our ladies World Cup team & lose by scoring an own goal.

  • Sybaseguru

    The amendment to the synod motion (which was passed) subtlety redirected the prayer and fasting from eco stuff to make it a general request for prayer and fasting, which, after the amount of food I consumed in York is no bad thing.

  • Orwell Ian

    It’s not just the C of E. Other Churches are also expending too much energy on the issue of Climate Change. There are some Ministers I have come across for whom it is frankly bordering on an obsession. This is a difficult issue for us. Swim against the tide of widely accepted scientific consensus and the Church ends up being ridiculed as institutionally anti-science. Have nothing to do with it at all and the accusations are “head in the sand” escapism or dereliction of social responsibility.

    Those churches who have money invested in the fossil fuel industry will probably face criticism for anything other than 100% divestment. But beware, the ethical investment position regarding renewables is fraught. Vast arrays of solar panels eventually ruin the farmland they now occupy. Turbines may harm emotional well-being as scientists discovered that low frequency sounds generated by rotor blades trigger a part of the brain which senses danger. Whatever level of involvement a Church settles on it also needs to be wary of manipulation by political activists and corporate lobbyists.

    From solar panels on church roofs may the Lord preserve us.

    • avi barzel

      “A bella, fame, pestus et panelli solare, liberas nos Domine?”

      • Orwell Ian

        I don’t do Catholic.

        • avi barzel

          You kind of did, the “may the Lord Preserve us” is from a common prayer in Latin (when everyone wss still a Catholic) begging to be saved from bella/war, fame/famine and pestus/plagues which had hit Europe. The climate tie-in to this is tgat it was during periods of global cooling with wet and short growing seasons, which brought famines which in turn weakened people, making populations susceptibke to plagues (even the common flus can kill the malnourished in surprising numbers) and all of which triggered civil strife and wars. The mystery is how global warming, which brought us all the good things like, um, better and healthier life, got to play the bad guy. Perhaps it was eas1ier to show a rapid warming, as we’re still coming out of the last mini ice age.

  • Hugh Jeego

    “and that climate change disproportionately affects the world’s poorest, ”

    “and that the actions taken to mitigate natural climate change disproportionately affects the world’s poorest,”

    There, corrected that for them.

  • carl jacobs

    That’s a lot of money spent on talking about sex, especially when it runs the risk of producing little by way of helpful conclusions. Let’s hope and pray it has been a wise investment.

    It wasn’t. The money is wasted because the underlying assumption is wrong. The conflict is not caused by a lack of mutual understanding. It is caused by irreconcilable first principles. The problem is that the two sides understand each other all too well.

  • Anton

    The Industrial Revolution gave rise to pollution and blighted landscapes, but we must not take its gifts for granted; imagine life if the national power grid were switched off! The lyrical passage about mining for precious metals and smelting of their ores in Job 28 never condemns that enterprise; it just says that wisdom is more valuable. The fruits of the Industrial Revolution allow even the poor in our
    culture today to have a higher material standard of living than mediaeval kings.
    The early factories were grim – witness Friedrich Engels (The Condition of the Working Class in England, 1845) and Charles Dickens (Hard Times). But life working the land – which is how most people had lived before that time for centuries – was so harsh that people actually quit it to work in the new factories. Factory life faced two early criticisms. The first was from political radicals, who gave birth, destructively, to communism, and constructively to Trade Union campaigns for better working conditions. The second critique came from the Romantic movement which comprised writers from the wealthier classes who wanted everybody to go back to a rural idyll that had never actually existed. Some Romantic writers had pagan ideals of nature-worship. Both of these strands can be found in the modern Green movement, including some people who think democracy and the nation state unsuited to the task. But many Greens have fine motivation to care for our environment.

    Christian Greens walk a tightrope: the Green movement needs putting right, but has it become too corrupted for that? Every concerned Christian must decide in prayer how to act. The largest Green issue is global warming. Since the Industrial
    Revolution began 300 years ago, mankind has been burning growing amounts of
    fossil fuels for energy: coal (carbon) or oil or natural gas (hydrocarbons). This has raised the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) gas in the atmosphere, from 280 parts per million (ppm) before the Industrial Revolution, to roughly 400ppm today (calculated on a molecular basis). This continuing increase is claimed by some to cause a warming due to the greenhouse effect – for carbon dioxide molecules absorb some incoming solar radiation – of a magnitude that is becoming dangerous.

    To get at the truth, science must outrank politics. Within science, data outrank theories. The data indicate that the world has not got warmer for some 15 years even though China and India continue to industrialise and the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration continues to rise. Even those who are committed to the dangerous-warming scenario speak of a pause, which they cannot attribute with confidence to any cause. Satellite data show this even more clearly than the terrestrial datasets commonly preferred, since satellites can look down on the whole earth in one go.

    In a dry atmosphere the warming effect of carbon dioxide is not hard to calculate. It was first done by Arrhenius a century ago. But warming might also cause more water vapour to enter the atmosphere from the ocean, and water vapour is another greenhouse gas. The models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change insist that the effect of water vapour is to amplify the heating effect of carbon dioxide threefold. But the water cycle also involves cloud, which reflects more sunlight back into space, and also the movement of (‘latent’) heat as a result of evaporation from the ocean and condensation to form cloud. The resulting calculations are so difficult that the best computer models still involve – frankly – guesswork, and the data indicate that the IPCC’s factor of three is a major overestimate, obviously for political reasons. Ottmar Edenhofer, co-chairman of an IPCC working group, stated in an interview (Neue Zürcher
    Zeitung newspaper, 14/11//2010) that: “we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy… one has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore.”

    I am not suggesting that the majority of climate physicists are corrupt. (I am a physicist in a different field.) There are mechanisms in the sociology of scientific institutions which could explain why they mostly back the wrong horse. But there is no scientific consensus (whatever anybody claims). There is also improper manipulation of some historic terrestrial data that has the effect of exaggerating the warming; google “Paraguay temperature record scam” for a disturbing example. Data are sacrosanct in science, and if ‘corrections’ have been applied then how and why must be spelled out.

    Pope Francis is among those who have been badly advised scientifically – reportedly by a pantheist called Herrnhuber. The Pope’s recent encyclical Laudato Si is near-apocalyptic on the topic and calls in response for a world ‘authority’ able to command national governments (paragraph 175).

    • avi barzel

      Thanks for Paraguay temp scam reference, there’s been so many, I somehow missed this one. My favourite ones, kust from the top of my head, are the start of measurements just at the end of our Mini Ice Age, the skewing of land temp measurements with weather station baking in urban heat islands, the “missing” ocean heat, the hockey stick graph and the disappeared historic warming periods, the upside down ice core data, the awkwardness that it’s warming that drives up atmospheric CO2, the Yamal tree rings farce, East Anglia U and the emails farce, massive loss of historic temperature data during an office move, continued reliance on “projections” by computer models based on a cloud-less static atmosphere and a flat Earth…..

      • Anton

        All of the above, Avi. But whistleblowing work is proceeding by good men on a compilation of, specifically, the alteration of historic data from terrestrial thermometers that has the effect of exaggerating the warming.

        • avi barzel

          I belive the acceptable term for this is “adjustments.” Of course, once the land temps “adjustments” have been made, the raw historic data on old school info storage media (e.g. paper) can be quickly destroyed as it’s unnecessarily confusing and misleading, takes up too much room and is too dusty.

        • avi barzel

          Great work is being accomplished …Anthony Watts and his circle for example… and we know that less than one percent of scientists buy into alarmism, that the public is largely skeptical…but this isn’t a science argument and never was.

          This is a top-down propaganda assault, an unequal culture war we are losing because we don’t have the resources or the power and, I argue, because we spent too much time on the science and little on politics and PR. You don’t win wars because your cause is the roght one; you win with superior resources, manpower, strategy and will. All the warmists have to do now is to keep drumming the same tropes ad nauseum, to pump the millions through media and institutions and to discredit the dissenting science through unfounded accusations. Look at how a documented, indefensible fraud, John Cook’s 97% lie, casually makes it back again and again. Few here in Canada believe the alarmism and yet governments toe the pc line and all the provinces are bringing in carbon credits.

          So, yeah, I’ll even go further and say that on an objective basis, we’ve won the science argument hands down; our evidence is clear and substantial and few scientists buy the transparently ludicrous bull. The public is aware of credible charges of a massive fraud perpetrated and brazenly continued, and even the IPCC admits to science failures…but it doesn’t matter. The goals of new taxes, over-reaching regulatory bodies and laws and crippling environmentalist agenda are being successfully implemented everywhere and across the board in the name of now-unquestionable “climate change” even as we pat ourselves on the back for winning the science debate. We have already lost, Anton.

          • Anton

            Although I’m generally pessimistic about Western Civ in this era I think we’ll win this one. Let’s not fight; time will tell.

  • carl jacobs

    There are pagan undertones to Global Warming advocacy. It’s not so much about climate change as it is about changing man’s relationship to creation. It seeks to move man from a position of dominion into a position of submission. So there is going to be dissonance between a Global Warming voice and a Christian voice. The language and the theology conflict.

    But this is also a way for an increasingly irrelevant church to strike a moral posture that isn’t crosswise with the secular culture. There has been so much bad publicity about (some portions of) the church daring to suggest that sexual behavior is not governed solely by consent. (GASP!) The temptation is to talk about safe subjects. And global warming is safe. One isn’t required to do anything in response. No one actually has to change how he lives. One can be seen righteously pontificating without risk of causing offense.

    It’s the perfect subject for a church struggling to free itself from the burden of a theology so contrary to the modern spirit if the age.

    • avi barzel

      Not to mention the avoidance of the elephant in the room, the ignored destruction of historic Christian communities in Muslim lands and that the West, with gleeful Russia and China ready to warm up their weapons production and sales, just gave Iran the go-ahead to go nuclear and the promise of released billions which will its terror rampage and military ventures.

    • David

      Nicely put !

    • IanCad

      “–The temptation is to talk about safe subjects. And global warming is safe”
      An astute observation, but for those of us who like a coal fire and the smell of diesel, it only gets our backs up.

    • You make some excellent points. It is also worth emphasising that the notion of man-made global warming leading to environmental disaster contradicts the gracious and continually standing words of Genesis 8:22 given to man after the Flood.

      • “I am going to make a solemn promise to you and to everyone who will live after you. This includes the birds and the animals that came out of the boat. I promise every living creature that the earth and those living on it will never again be destroyed by a flood.”

        The promise was specific about a flood, as Jack reads it.

        • Gen. 8:22 While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

          Yes, there will never again be a universal flood, but part of this promise is the continuation of the pattern of the seasons along with the “climate change” that had always accompanied them and always will. God’s word tells us that “cold will never cease”. So we need not fear global warming.

          One of the reasons why the AGW thesis has made such headway in contemporary society is the fear that comes from failing to believe in the providence of the Creator God who controls the elements. There is a pride in the heart of fallen man which thinks that he, rather than the Almighty, can determine the weather.

          • Jack agrees with your post, Peter, about the Providence of God. He had never considered Gen. 8.22 as biblical support for the continuation of the earth and its seasons. However, there is no assurance in this passage than mankind wont irreparably damage the earth or cause its destruction.

          • Thank you for your reply Jack. If the seasons and the harvests will last to the end of time according to God’s decree, then feeble mortal man cannot frustrate that decree. Yes, we avoid unnecessary pollution, but control of the climate is God’s prerogative alone. Man will never be able to direct the wind or the lightning, for example.

            It was the Lord who put the fossils fuels in the earth for man’s use. To argue that their use is destructive to the environment is surely to question God’s infinite wisdom.

    • Dreadnaught

      Given that the Christian claim that God created the universe including the Earth of course, surely it is incumbent on them to look after it while using it? Can’t see why all the hostility to accepting that the human race is having an influence of considerable negative dimension to it’s ecosystems. As long as the planet has been sustaining human life, there has never been such a size of global population making ever increasing demand on its finite resources.

      • avi barzel

        You are conflating legitimate concerns over environmental pollution with an attempt to control, with a new tax, a benign byproduct of fossil fuel combustion, CO2. With our increasing ability to reduce particulate emissions from coal and oil, only rising levels of CO2 remained…but the problem is that carbon dioxide is an inert, harmless gas in the current quantities, and is even behind the recent growth of forest and bush and the greening of desert sand marginal regions. Enter the “greenhouse effect” (real but unconnected to relatively minute changes of armospheruc CO2) and “catastrophic global warming.” But it didn’t pan out according to predictions (safely based on fake models and an anticipated warming from our recovery from an ice age) . And to top it all, the unpredicted rise of the internet and the blog gave voice to thousands of puzzled scientists from many fields whi savaged the carefully selected pseudo-scientific quacks, the official “climate scientists.” So, in came “extreme weather,” a connuter’s shtik based on an increase of population and structures waiting to be savaged by the quiet normsl appearance of storms and floods, and when that flopped, the perfectly safe and unassailable “climate change”… the climate and weather have always changed.

        Compare this scam to the ones where ancient Pagan priests awed and robbed the pants off populations with their ability to “bring back” monsoons and show their wrath by “causing” eclipses and predicted appearances of comets. Except that it’s easier to predict cyclical weather patterns, eclipses and returning comets, but nearly impossible for us with our still inadequate historic data and technology to predict weather, much less climate. And this is why it’s cost close to a trillion by now to promote the whole idea by funding the UN, university deoartments and science organizations, a deluge of educational material and new industries eager for free money. Even the Vatican was commissioned. But if it works, and its still uncertain unless the internet can be brought to heel with the compliant mainstream media,, the profits will blow away the investment.

        • Dreadnaught

          An intelligent response as always, but I don’t believe that
          it is all a big conspiracy funded by Mr Megabux Inc.

          Climate Change is a natural phenomenon. What is critical to all life forms, is the rate at which that change is taking place. Given time, all life adapts to its environment; dies as its habitat dies out or simply eats and breeds itself out of existence.

          Acidification of the Oceans by carbon gas absorption is a reality; bleaching of corals kills them and their dependents denuding lagoons and islands of natural breakwaters and negatively influencing plankton, feeders and the lower end of the aquatic food-chain.

          Retreating Greenland icecaps are clearly visible even though theoretically we should be finding evidence of the onset of another ice-age. I was in Iceland a few years back and talked with many locals who say the don’t get winters they knew as recently twenty years back. The Older Icelanders confirmed what even the youngsters are observing: I’m not going to gainsay their evidence.

          The impact of rising sea levels has to be down to melting ice, reduced salinity has been detected in the northern oceans. Meterologically, there is ample evidence on the increased frequency and strength of tropical storms and exaggerated variation in the shape of the northern jet-stream.

          I’m not qualified enough to preach the case for the
          existence of prime source anthopogenic GW, nor is a religio/political blog an appropriate place to even attempt it, so for the time being I will run with the majority of scientific opinion and observed changes in flora and fauna that indicate ‘something is definitely afoot’ with Mother Earth and her unpredictable moodswings.

          The Earth will go on turning until whenever, and no doubt and life will evolve to something or nothing and inhabit what is there; what exactly I wouldn’t like to even speculate. Amongst our nearest neighbours however, we do seem to be the last man standing – or is it that we are the first? Who knows.

          As I said if you believe that God made the Earth
          then you owe it to you ‘creator’ to preserve his endeavours for as long as our species can hang on.

          • Coniston

            I agree. It is the climate change deniers who are believers in junk science – why, I do not understand. There is no compulsion on Christians to believe in junk science, but many do. Genuine Christian belief and genuine science are not in conflict, but this seems to be denied by many. What actions or pronouncements the Church should make on this issue is a rather different matter. Its prime duty is to preach, and live, the Gospel, but in its concern for human well-being (we do not live by bread alone, but bread is still necessary) it may feel it necessary at times to draw attention to perceived dangers.

          • Dreadnaught

            Its a complex conundrum Coniston, I wouldn’t be so harsh to condemn those who believe in junk science or the Church for raising the subject. Science exists to be knocked down by contradicting empirical evidence – the trick is in being open minded and humble enough to accept new thinking and new evidence.

          • avi barzel

            Exactly, Dreadnaught, so ask yourself why thousands of bona fide scientists presenting contradictory empirical evidence to the claims of the global warming hypothesis are automatically relegated to the “junk science” bin? Do you have another definition for “junk science”? If so, what is it?

          • Dreadnaught

            Sorry only just got to this. ‘Junk Science’ is not my terminology I used it as it was delivered by Coniston.Evolution of the scientific consensus on anthropogenic global warming (AGW) in the peer-reviewed scientific literature in one exercise I explored, it examined 11 944 climate abstracts from 1991–2011 matching the
            topics ‘global climate change’ or ‘global warming’ with the following conclusion.

            Of these 66.4% expressed no position on AGW.

            32.6% endorsed AGW.

            0.7% rejected AGW and
            0.3% were uncertain about the cause of global warming.

            Among abstracts expressing a position on AGW, 97.1% endorsed the consensus position that humans are ‘causing’ global warming.

            As I said, Science exists to be disproved and
            9 out of 10 housewives can’t all be wrong! 🙂

          • avi barzel

            Devastating!!!!!
            Um, are you pulling my leg? Because this is a well-known debunked “study” by a crank and his beer buddies:

            In 2013, John Cook, an Australia-based blogger, and some of his friends reviewed abstracts of peer-reviewed papers published from 1991 to 2011. Mr. Cook reported that 97% of those who stated a position explicitly or implicitly suggest that human activity is responsible for some warming. His findings were published in Environmental Research Letters.

            Mr. Cook’s work was quickly debunked. In Science and Education in August 2013, for example, David R. Legates (a professor of geography at the University of Delaware and former director of its Center for Climatic Research) and three coauthors reviewed the same papers as did Mr. Cook and found “only 41 papers—0.3 percent of all 11,944 abstracts or 1.0 percent of the 4,014 expressing an opinion, and not 97.1 percent—had been found to endorse” the claim that human activity is causing most of the current warming. Elsewhere, climate scientists including Craig Idso, Nicola Scafetta, Nir J. Shaviv and Nils- Axel Morner, whose research questions the alleged consensus, protested that Mr. Cook ignored or misrepresented their work.

            This is from a Wall Street Journal article I link to below. But surveys have been done:

            Rigorous international surveys conducted by German scientists Dennis Bray and Hans von Storch—most recently published in Environmental Science & Policy in 2010—have found that most climate scientists disagree with the consensus on key issues such as the reliability of climate data and computer models. They do not believe that climate processes such as cloud formation and precipitation are sufficiently understood to predict future climate change.

            Surveys of meteorologists repeatedly find a majority oppose the alleged consensus. Only 39.5% of 1,854 American Meteorological Society members who responded to a survey in 2012 said man-made global warming is dangerous.

            Finally, the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change—which claims to speak for more than 2,500 scientists—is probably the most frequently cited source for the consensus. Its latest report claims that “human interference with the climate system is occurring, and climate change poses risks for human and natural systems.” Yet relatively few have either written on or reviewed research having to do with the key question: How much of the temperature increase and other climate changes observed in the 20th century was caused by man-made greenhouse-gas emissions? The IPCC lists only 41 authors and editors of the relevant chapter of the Fifth Assessment Report addressing “anthropogenic and natural radiative forcing.”

            Of the various petitions on global warming circulated for signatures by scientists, the one by the Petition Project, a group of physicists and physical chemists based in La Jolla, Calif., has by far the most signatures—more than 31,000 (more than 9,000 with a Ph.D.). It was most recently published in 2009, and most signers were added or reaffirmed since 2007. The petition states that “there is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of . . . carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate.

            These petitions and studies are properly conducted and documented. They have yet to be challenged.

            See: http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702303480304579578462813553136

          • Dreadnaught

            So much to learn and so little time.

          • avi barzel

            Don’t worry, either the alarmism will be crammed down our throats and we won’t be able to even joke about this stuff, or science, reason and and sanity will chip away at this scam and we’ll remember it as another (well, the biggest ever, so far) nuttery along with phrenology, the South Sea Bubble, eugenics, Nazi “racial science” and Lysenkoism.

          • Dreadnaught

            Nice prospect on which to conclude Avi – excellent exchange.

          • avi barzel

            My pleasure!

          • Coniston

            To take your second point first: until 2012 Antarctic ice core data suggested CO2 may have lagged behind the warming trend by hundreds of years. More recent studies have shown
            that temperature and CO2 changed together in Antarctica at the end of the last ice age. Temperature rises in the past have of course been caused by other events, such as the earth’s orbital cycles (or solar activity). But a small temperature rise triggers a much larger CO2 rise which accounts for most of the subsequent global warming – one study suggests 93% of the total global warming in inter-glacial times.

            Climate change has always taken place. Anthropogenic global warming is superimposed over what may naturally be taking place. CO2ppm was not above about 280ppm for many thousands of years. It started rising with increased use of
            fossil fuels, and is now about 400ppm (a natural change of this order would take many thousands of years; it has taken about 120 years). Human activity accounts for only a fraction of the vast amount of CO2 moving through the carbon cycle every year, but the point is that the land and oceans cannot absorb this extra CO2 – so CO2 levels rise.

            One further point: land temperature rise has slowed in recent years, but the Earth has not ceased to heat up. More of the heat caused by CO2 increases is now going into the oceans, which will eventually have a vast impact on land and air temperatures and weather. Climate science is indeed very complicated, and computer models and statistics, constantly refined, are needed to appreciate what is happening. This is no reason to deny it is happening.

          • avi barzel

            You have summarized and pasted from a hack-job by an environmentalist activist blogger, “dana 1981,” who in turn, ineptly summarized a problem-ridden paper by Shakun et al. A prime example of the pseudo-scientific quackery ladled out to the public.

            Briefly put, the Shakun numbers and time frames are demonstrably incorrect and the conclusions are therefore unsupported. Dr Easterbrook’s analysis of the data and conclusion lists a number of lethal flaws which have not been answered by Shakun. The problems include dating, lack of historic data necessary for some of the key contentions, crucial errors in the formulae and unsupported assumptions about such things as supposed and conviniently positioned hemispheric “see-saw” effects and orbital forcings. The fact that CO2 follows warmings is empirically demonstrated; the attempt to deny this by fudging data and throwing in imagined assumptions is a clear science fail.

            In your second part, you seem to be either copying or channeling a hypocritical crank and a salaried propagandist, Al Gore and Joe Romm. The basic assumption is that a rapid rise of CO2 is both “unnatural” and unprecedented and will, somehow, result in catastrophic warming. This is is the core argument of warming alarmism and is unsupported speculation. First, evidence from plant stomata and other proxy data shows incidences of frequent and rapid rises in CO2 up to and past 400 ppm as recently as 1930 which were naturally caused. These CO2 rises never, ever, resulted in temperature forcings (Middleton, Rudgren, Koewenberg, Ljunggqvist, Van Hoof, etc.). Secondly, the models which attempted to show such a correlation have utterly failed in their oredictive value and are of no use.

            Your last point that “…land temperature rise has slowed in recent years, but the Earth has not ceased to heat up” and that this heat is hiding somewhere, deep in the oceans where we can’t find it, but like a mythical sea monster will rise up and heat up our atmosphere is the recent desperate shmagaggle for the unschooled which is unworthy of a response. Piling a new, desperate speculation upon endless layers of speculation is not science, it’s medieval occult.

            And you close with, “Climate science is indeed very complicated, and computer models and statistics, constantly refined, are needed to appreciate what is happening. This is no reason to deny it is happening.” In other words, what you are saying is that the stats and models are shitty junk, we need to tart them up and throw-in more obscurantist crap, but in the meantime, we must keep on believing. You’re peddling doctrine, a new cult, not presenting science arguments.

          • avi barzel

            Can you tell me what “climate change means,” how it differs from “anthropogenic global warming” and if it is different, what the underlying mechanism tied to anthropogenic atmospheric carbon emissions is?
            I’ve been always confused by this, but looks like you’re a real scientists, so it should be no trouble to summarize this in your own words within a paragraph or two. Thank you in advance!
            O, and if you can throw in a plausible explanation as to why ice core samples on paleoclimates consistently document rises in atmospheric CO2 concentrations hundreds of years after a global warming, I’d be much obliged.

          • avi barzel

            This isn’t even a self-respecting conspiracy. It’s a conflation of several goals, such as finding a new way to further tax energy consumption, and to redistribute wealth internationally under a managerial regime. Governments, all of them which have grown at unprecedented rates and magnitudes require vastly greater amounts of revenue. It’s not just the salaries, pensions and perks; it’s life and death matter, where the public has come to expect unprecedented cradle-to-grave benefits.
            Carbon dioxide is a fairly good indicator of fossil fuel consumption and easy to calculate with. With the premature panic over “end of oil,” governments understandably thought to start up new sources of energy and pegging carbon emission to fuel sources is a convenient way to differentiate between the sheep and the wolves. The hard part was convincing consumers and energy producers to fork out the money for programs they don’t accept. Wealth redistribution and revenue scrounging are not popular agenda and no one believes in the imminent end of oil after a dozen of comical scares and ludicrous predictions. CO2, a beneficial plant food, had to be re-branded as a civilizational threat and the only thing it could be associated with was climate. We have a hard time remembering that correlation does not equal causation, so with a little fudging of numbers, concealment of historical data and a lot of expensive propaganda churned out by suddenly very wealthy environmental organizations, legislation and the annual international climate circuses, a plausible scare was born.
            Where the conspiracy comes in is in the massive and blatant scientific fraud that had to be committed to and continued relentlessly for at least a generation. Because the whole CO2=global warming=badness hypothesis is utter crock on hundreds of levels which any first year science, anthropology or history student should be able to dismiss from hundreds of angles, massive amounts of funding had to be diverted to the publicly most prestigious sources such as Royal Societies, NASA, universities, well-known institutes and so on. And so they were; the evidence is clear in the stupendous amounts of money transferred and in the explicit directives relating to this payoff. The second tier of this fairly obvious conspiracy involved the media politicians and lower educational institutions. Struggling mainstream media was thrown a lifeline through all sorts funding, “infrastructure” jobs were paid for and teachers in public schools took up the cause through their unions which were at that point already in alliance with the wealthy environmental orgs. The last tier, for the unbending skeptics and genuine scientists, is the mafia-type stuff. Intimidation, campaigns to discredit scientists and the buying of cops and judges, censorship and so on. If the public drags its feet and more and more scientists and public personalities express skepticism and generate contrarian studies, that third way will be expanded and people will start dying. We’re not there yet, but will be soon, because this cause, no matter what happens with climate (which hasn’t been cooperating at all) and no matter what evidence against it comes up (and its damming) it will not go away. This is not and never has been a debate; this is a program and the skeptics and evidence-based science will lose it.
            As for the examples you gave, each and every one is either wrong, outdated, or part of a natural cyclical climatic process. The ice extents fluctuate, as does ocean acidification, oceans rise at the same barely perceptible rate because we are still in the moderately warm Holocene, etc. Remember, we just came out of an ice age 11 thousand years ago, and a mini ice age barely a century ago and have a long, long way to go up in temperature until we reach the statistical norms for our earth as measured in the long term. I can and will walk you through each example if you will, although veering off topic and doing so here would be a bit discourteous to our host.

          • Dreadnaught

            Indeed let’s leave it there old chap.

      • carl jacobs

        Don’t misunderstand. I am not excluding the idea of a Christian critique. I am saying that the current critique as commonly presented is antithetical to Christian theology. It is not a coincidence that the churches parroting that critique are themselves fleeing Christian theology.

        The underlying assumption of that critique is that man is a blight on the Earth – that the Earth is greater than and more important than man himself. That’s the fundamental problem. The only way to actually realize a solution to the problem they present is to radically control population. It goes without saying that the population to be controlled does not incorporate themselves.

        • Dreadnaught

          that man is a blight on the Earth… I don’t subscribe to that viewpoint at all but I do subscribe to the human species being the most damaging of all life forms. Population control makes it sound all very Soylent Green which of course makes even discussing the option taboo.
          The only example I see, is how ‘things’ change for a species when their habitat ceases to provide. The human species is no different when reduced to surviving; isn’t this the reason for mass migrations? why leave home if everything is fine in the garden?
          I feel I am free from the constraints on my thinking, that all that happens and has happened is attributable to a deity and I don’t have to take that option into the equation. That others do, is theirs by choice and convition.
          I could be wrong; I could be right; but for the moment, I am aware and that means I am alive and observing only in the material sense.

        • These are not the premises of Pope Francis’ recent encyclical which covers both man’s moral relationships with creation – as stewards – and between men and women – as co-creators of new life with God.

        • Patsy

          the population problem is the reverse in this culture. We now have too few people working to pay pensions for the older generation coming up to retirement. Western birth rates have plummeted and are reaching unsustainable levels. The only people providing the children in numbers are ethnic minorities.

  • sarky

    China are building dozens of coal power stations and loads of fat Americans are rolling around in gas guzzling 4×4 vehicles. And they tell me I can save the planet by switching the TV off at the plug overnight! Why? Because it is the tiny standby light that is causing the hole in the ozone layer!!! Get a grip!!

    • len

      Don`t forget the planes that are leaving trails of pollution all over the planet….

      • dannybhoy

        There are people who do that..
        Mainly vegetarians.

  • len

    Let the Church get on with its Commission to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and leave ‘ the Gospel of Gaia’ to the Pope the new agers and those who seem very keen to climb on this particular bandwagon….

  • No wonder the C of E is in decline. Nothing about attracting new members, nothing about the teachings of Christ.
    It’s time it went out and preached the gospels and tried to get converts to Christianity before the C of E becomes history.

  • Inspector General

    The name “Synod” really doesn’t do the thing justice. How about the People’s Revolutionary Committee for Radical Change. Climatists (or what about ‘Climentalists’) aplenty there may be, but don’t forget these days it’s de rigueur to have a LGBT* group in the vanguard. (Whatever you do, don’t miss the asterisk out, spent a night in the cells last week from doing that…). And a few animal rightists. And womyns organisations – dare you forget them! A token black (Sorry, Sentamu, didn’t see you there). A few anti-capitalists with experience of camping out in St Pauls yard. A rag tag bunch of illegal immigrants who’ve crossed the Med. Mustn’t forget the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Oh yes, come on in, a food bankerist, the only acceptable banker these days. And last but not necessarily not least, a fellow who believes in God and accepts Christ and what he did for us, and, believe it or not, has no particular axe to grind, other than to spread the gospel to those who don’t have it.

    Here’s a tip synod types – it’s not about our earthly travels. Really it isn’t. There’s enough groups around concerned about that as it is, but precious few representing Christ’s world for our souls after death. And the possibility we might get there…

    • avi barzel

      Ok, must ask: What’s the asterisk on LGBT* for?

      • Martin

        Avi

        I suspect for adding on any other sexual deviants who may be currently supported by all right thinking politically correct persons.

        • avi barzel

          Thank you. You must admit, though, that’s very thoughtful and inclusive of them. Wonder if I can add my deviancies as well; I’m into trucks, motorbikes and WW I Mauser sniper rifles.

          • Martin

            Avi

            Sounds as if your into good engineering, as someone with an engineering background I can see not deviancy there.

      • Inspector General

        Avi. From what one has gleaned from PN, it indicates that each component of LGBT can be prefixed. Thus Gay*paedophile. Or Lesbian*brute. Bit of a simplification, but you get the idea. Some peoples derangement go well beyond being represented by just one brief word, and they want to tell the world about it, for some reason lost to the Inspector…

        • avi barzel

          Thank you, Inspector. Surely you have come to sympathise, though. Being misunderstood, not appreciated or valued and eventually forgotten for all of cold Eternity is the terrifying Hell of the contemporaneous secular worldview. Hence these new anthropolinguistic tags, graffiti, tats and evidently asterisk prefixes are now part of the brave new language and metaphysical semiotics. Either that, or I’m again full of shit and this turn-of-the-century culture is just dominated by an undeserving pack of fecking retards.

          • Inspector General

            But dear Avi, these people MATTER. It’s why they go on gay pride marches for, so we can all stop what we are doing and weep for them and admire them.

            It’s rather amusing on PN. If some queer type says he supports the transgendered, they’ll pile on top of him to say he’s committed a literary crime by not getting the words right. Well, to their fascist satisfaction, anyway. So don’t miss out the asterisk, there’s a good fellow…

          • avi barzel

            Let no one here say that you are insensitive to people, Inspector! And I’m certain the regulars at Pink News know this and greet your inspections with a hearty cheer and warm offers of a cold pint of ale. I will remember your advice, but if I do forget and if any fellow out there chastises me for my negligence, I will go beyond the call of duty and compensate for my crime of omission thus: LGBT(_*_)

          • Inspector General

            One does believe you have something there Avi. Must have a go sometime…

      • Linus

        The LGBT* acronym is used as an umbrella term by many groups that are neither lesbian, gay, bisexual nor transgender.

        The asterisk fulfills the role of an “etc” and may include, but is not necessarily limited to, extra letters such as Q (questioning, i.e. those who question their sexuality and haven’t yet defined themselves as straight, gay or bisexual), another Q (queer, i.e. those who reject the notions of straight, gay and bisexual and prefer an individualistic approach to sexuality), I (intersex, i.e. those whose gender is not easy to define or who may have ambiguous primary sexual characteristics and identify neither as man nor woman).

        There is no hard and fast rule about the use of the asterisk, but in general, the more politicized you are, the more likely you are to use it. I tend not to, but then I also describe the Québécois and Newfies as Canadians, Hongkies and Taiwanese as Chinese, and the British as Europeans. Life is too short to take every little groupuscule into account…

        • Inspector General

          You don’t use the asterisk when in servile admiration of your fellow unhappy? It’s a gulag for you my boy, where you can be re-educated….

  • Have no fear…. part of the conditions for the Greek bailout was to solve global warming by noon today …

    • dannybhoy

      Sam,
      how environmentally friendly is the streimel manufacturing industry?

      • avi barzel

        Streimels, you’re going after Sammy’s streimels! Them’s fighting words. Gets pretty hot under one of those, though; greenhouse effect in action.

        • dannybhoy

          I used to see these guys wearing white coats and some kind of bandaged leggings topped off by streimels in Mea Shaarim and at the Western wall..
          I thought they looked pretty cool, distinctive even. Every now and again I remind Shmu’el. He might want to get me one….

          • avi barzel

            The white coats are kittels; kind of like burial shrouds in acknowledgment of the imminence of death. A Hassidic version of the memento mori craze in the Middle Ages. The knickerbocker trousers are just a throwback to what their rebbes wore in the 19th century. Most will dress this way on Sabbaths and festival days. I don’t do streimels and such, but if you want to go wild be my guess…just be careful what neighbourhood you’re walking through!

          • dannybhoy

            I thought most Hasids wore black. I had a lot of interest in them. So where do the streimel people originate from?

            I don’t know what kind of reception I’d get in our little church if I came in dressed like that.
            Do they do those kittels in kevlar?

          • avi barzel

            Yesw, black, by the shirts are always white, and sometimes the socks.
            In Kevlar? No, but I can make and sell you one for the reasonable price of about a thousand pounds. Knickerbockers extra. Sounds like a lot, but Danny, your wellbeing is worth it. And think of the children.

          • dannybhoy

            Think of the children laughing at me you mean?
            We don’t see many Hasids in rural Norfolk, although I’d love to have one come and speak at our church..
            In fact I think its sad there isn’t an Anglican-Hasidic Friendship society. It would do the Church of England more good than chumming up to the Green Party.
            A thousand pounds for a kevlar kittel in extra extra large I consider a bargain already! Thanks Avi.

          • avi barzel

            They won’t go into a church building. A mainstream, Orthodox will, to give a lecture, but in the social hall rather than the sanctuary part. Most will come with a friend if you invited one. Maybe someone else in your congregation should ….trada-boom!

          • Happy Jack suspects if he was Jewish he might be Hassidic.
            How about a Cyber Hassidic Guard?

          • avi barzel

            A Brisker or a Bobov Hassid. Carl would definitely be an antiHassidic Litvisher.

          • Jack would want a Hassidic community with clear doctrinal statements and authority. Is this asking too much?

          • avi barzel

            No, youll get plenty of that. Too much even.

          • carl jacobs

            So if I have this correct … the Hassidim are mystical and the Litvish are logical and rational? Yes, that makes sense.

          • avi barzel

            Broadly speaking yes, although the polarized positions of the late 19th century have mellowed and much “cross-contamination” has occured. Kabbalah and its book of questionable provenance, the Zohar, have been absorbed by Orthodoxy almost across the board, even by the Litvacs (Lithuanians), except for a substantial minority in the un-organized rationalist and right-leaning Modern camp… my turf… which is also part of the Lithuanian continuum. As with many things, demographics rules and Hassidim have been quite productive in the baby department, so, for now and until poor economic productivity gets them, they rule.

            The Brisker, Bobov, Satmar and the huge Lubavitch began as charismatic, emotional and mystical movements, but they all calmed down after the Sabbatean and other messianic disasters. So, yeah, Jack woul find a place among the multitude of charismatic rabbis and scholars, study circles, quorums and basement synagues.

            The reason I pair you up with the Litvaks is that they appear to have been directly influenced by Calvinism/Puritanism, minus the obvious Christian doctrines of course. It’s more in the no-nonsense, sterner, “face the facts, you’re a sinner, stop your whimpering and man-up” approach …which I’m temperamentally and philodophically more comfortable with… than in specific theological approaches I can think of. Many a time I’ll read your opinion on something teligious and say to myself, “oy, what a Litvishe kopf!”

          • carl jacobs

            So what this means is …

            I am rational, logical and objective whereas Jack is mystical, emotional, and subjective,

            I think you have presented a very sound analysis of the situation.

            😉

          • I’m not Hasidic

          • dannybhoy

            I know you’re not.
            Judging by the yellow tie you’re a Libdem
            Judging by the blue ribbon you were once awarded a medal.
            and judging by the turban you’re a Sikh.
            (from the 39 Steps with the late, great, Kenneth More..)
            Am I right governor?

          • Heh , it’s a painting of the rambam, Moses Maimonides.

          • dannybhoy

            Really!
            I thought it must be a hero of yours, but I had no idea it was the Rambam…

      • Beats me dude….

    • Politically__Incorrect

      The EU is trying to solve the problem of global warming by driving Greece back into the stone age. It’ll be Spain or Italy next.

  • Patsy

    As I understand it ‘the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it”. What man is supposed to do to change the trajectory I have no idea. Even if people in the west were willing to give up all their electronic equipment and go back to living in the 1950’s, America isn’t or China. All we do is export our waste to the third world where children wander about on toxic rubbish heaps. In the meantime we close pits and spend a fortune on windmills that are as effective as a chocolate cake in a heat wave. The Church are just buying in to the cultural talking point of the decade.
    I have stopped supporting Christian Aid because they gave out this issue as a main element in their work. Their role is to provide help and assistance to those in need, not be dabbling in this issue.

    • avi barzel

      No one is giving anything up, Patsy, and those who are spinning this know it. The end run is another layer of taxes and a whole lot of regulatory mechanisms to extend government authority into….well, everything. Organizations which go on about global warming get something for it or st least are trying to “stay relevant.” I’ve pulled monthly donations from two orgs for this and told them why in short, terse note. That was a few years back, and I noticed one of them no lonher mentions “global warming,” or “climate change” on its site. I guess I’m not the only they miffed.

  • Inspector General

    The Inspector has yet to find a problem with global warming. So the odd Island with a maximum height of 3 feet is lost to the waves. So damn what, that’s the earth for you.

  • chiefofsinners

    Lift up your EYES to the heavens, look at the earth beneath; the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment and its inhabitants die like flies. But my salvation will last forever, my righteousness will never fail. Isaiah 51

    Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your HEARTS on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your MINDS on things above, not on earthly things. Colossians 3.

    Eyes, hearts and minds on things above. There’s an ecotheology for you.
    the bish of Salisbury could stick it in his pipe and refrain from lighting it due the potentially inequitable climatic impact.

  • Martin

    One has to wonder when the CoE & its Synod will get to talking about the Bible, if ever.

    • sarky

      They won’t. The truth is climate change etc etc etc is relevent to the masses,where as, the bible isn’t.

      • Martin

        Sarky

        The truth is that the climate always changes and attempts to put the blame on man for the alleged AGW is simply a mechanism to acquire funds, either through taxes or research funding. The UEA email debacle and subsequent whitewash of an ‘inquiry’ demonstrated the dishonesty of the so-called ‘climate scientist’ in much the same way as the numerous debacles we have seen over Evolution.

        If you bothered to take the Bible seriously you would not be so easily taken in by nonsense and made to look a fool.

        • sarky

          Errrm I’m not taken in at all (see my other posts), but I dont need your bible, I managed to work it out all by myself.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            So why say CC is relevant to the masses? Are they so low below you?

  • Gerry Lynch

    I think you’ve set up a false dichotomy here, Gillan. It’s not an either or issue and it’s not as if either Synod hasn’t spent considerable time discussing evangelism or that churches across the country don’t. I’d hardly call “proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom and teaching, baptising and nurturing new believers” less fashionable. Honestly, is there any evidence for that assertion?

    I don’t think this article sits all that well with much of what you have written over the years. In this case, I think you’re in danger of reducing Christianity to a quest for individualistic salvation from negative consequences in the afterlife (from which good works might flow, as a positive side effect). Salvation in Christ is much more than that and is at least as much about the here and now as it is about what will be. Remember John 3:16 – God so loved the *world* that through Him it might be saved; and the Greek kosmos is, as its modern English adaption shows, considerably wider in its embrace than “world” in contemporary English. Being given dominion over creation, as in Genesis 1, also means being given responsibility and the assurance that we will be held accountable.

    As I said before, I don’t think this sits well with much of your other writing; when we reduce Christianity to individual pietism, we collude with the more aggressive side of New Atheism that religion should be kept behind closed doors and any public case made must be made on entirely ‘non-supernatural’ grounds. That is a view held ever more widely on both the left and the right, particularly among people under 45. But Christianity can’t be kept under wraps, it isn’t about private pietism, and we shouldn’t be restricting the scope of our own witness.

    And if you’re serious about engaging with people who’d never enter a church service, working with them on a common problem, which is a grave threat to everyone, with us not coming with an agenda but simply seeking to serve the common good, is a good place to start.

  • John Thomas

    Don’t worry, we’ll all be members of the First Church of Christ Ecologist before long …