Imagine a court case which judges the idea of Climate Change
A Global Warning
Few subjects in our era cause as much controversy or discussion as the state of earth's environment. Experts representing both sides of the debate have been presented by interested parties.
Is “Climate Change, Global Warming” a reality, a scientific fact, or are we victims of one of the biggest scientific frauds ever perpetrated? How can we ascertain the reality, the truth of this subject?
When a court tries someone accused of a crime, there are several factors used to determine innocence or guilt. They are physical evidence, historical profile, and testimony of witnesses and experts. Using these tools, let me subject the theme of Global warming to the principles of law. According to those principles, a fabrication is more open to detection when the number of conspiring fabricators grows. According to the “New York Times,” 67% of Americans accept Global Warming as a fact. Furthermore, according to “Scientific American,” 97% of scientists accept that Global Warming is caused by human intervention.
And yet, there are still some very powerful and influential voices out there that strongly deny this. Most prominent among these is the US President himself, the self-titled “Leader of the free world.” They argue that this is not simply a scientific matter but a social and political one, that is open to interpretation.
So what are the facts, the physical facts on this matter? Where is the evidence? Also, what historical comparisons can be made regarding the environment?
Finally, who are the witnesses in the case? What are their backgrounds, their qualifications, their reputations and their impartiality levels? Who are we willing to believe? Who is beyond reproach?
On the first subject, evidence, let us be clear, numbers do not constitute evidence. Mohandas Gandhi stated a simple truth, namely that “In a minority of one, the truth is still the truth.” Therefore, although the greater percentage of people may overwhelmingly believe in Global Warming, that does not make it a reality. It is a powerful indication of probability but, nonetheless, not absolutely conclusive.
However, the nature of evidence does constitute facts. In legal terms, something must be proven “Beyond reasonable doubt.” Does the evidence presented on Global Warming resist reasonable doubt? What do the most respected, established scientific institutions state regarding the geographical, biological, meteorological and historical evidence?
"The scientific evidence is clear: global climate change caused by human activities is occurring now, and it is a growing threat to society." - American Association for the Advancement of Science
"Comprehensive scientific assessments of our current and potential future climates clearly indicate that climate change is real, largely attributable to emissions from human activities, and potentially a very serious problem." - American Chemical Society
"Human‐induced climate change requires urgent action. Humanity is the major influence on the global climate change observed over the past 50 years. Rapid societal responses can significantly lessen negative outcomes" American Geophysical Union
"Our AMA ... supports the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s fourth assessment report and concurs with the scientific consensus that the Earth is undergoing adverse global climate change and that anthropogenic contributions are significant." - American Medical Association
"It is clear from extensive scientific evidence that the dominant cause of the rapid change in climate of the past half century is human-induced increases in the amount of atmospheric greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide (CO2), chlorofluorocarbons, methane, and nitrous oxide." - American Meteorological Society
"The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring. If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth’s physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur. We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now." - American Physical Society
"The Geological Society of America (GSA) concurs with assessments by the National Academies of Science (2005), the National Research Council (2006), and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2007) that global climate has warmed and that human activities (mainly greenhouse‐gas emissions) account for most of the warming since the middle 1900s”
“Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia. The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, and sea level has risen.” - Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
“It is now more certain than ever, based on many lines of evidence, that humans are changing Earth’s climate.” - Royal Society of London
“Global warming is the most serious issue of the 21st century. It challenges the very structure of our global society.” - Cambridge University England
What about the historical data, what does it reveal when comparing today's climate to previous eras?
“Trends in temperature readings from around the world show that global warming is taking place. Every one of the past 40 years has been warmer than the 20th century average. 2016 was the hottest year on record. The 12 warmest years on record have all occurred since 1998. Over the past 130 years, the global average temperature has increased 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit, with more than half of that increase occurring over only the past 35 years. The pattern is unmistakable: Every one of the past 40 years has been warmer than the 20th century average. 2016 was the hottest year on record. The 12 warmest years on record have all occurred since 1998." - Union of Concerned Scientists
But are there individual sources, witnesses, that are acceptable to both sides of the debate? Who would be respected enough to be believed?
Consider one aspect of this debate that does not draw much focus. It is a facet that is often overlooked yet, not only could it shed light on the question of Global Warming but, it could provide just the witnesses needed to convince either side.
For those who do not believe in a creator of life, a “God,” the person who is often cited, quoted and respected on most subjects is the man considered by many to be the greatest scientific mind on our planet. His authority is virtually unchallenged when he speaks on the subject of science. I am speaking of Mr Stephen Hawking, the highest authority of atheists and evolutionists.
What does this respected icon have to say on this controversial subject?
“As scientists, we understand the dangers of nuclear weapons and their devastating effects, and we are learning how human activities and technologies are affecting climate systems in ways that may forever change life on Earth. As citizens of the world, we have a duty to alert the public to the unnecessary risks that we live with every day, and to the perils we foresee if governments and societies do not take action now to render nuclear weapons obsolete and to prevent further climate change… There’s a realization that we are changing our climate for the worse. That would have catastrophic effects. Although the threat is not as dire as that of nuclear weapons right now, in the long term we are looking at a serious threat.”
“The danger is that global warming may become self-sustaining, if it has not done so already. The melting of the Arctic and Antarctic ice caps reduces the fraction of solar energy reflected back into space, and so increases the temperature further. Climate change may kill off the Amazon and other rain forests, and so eliminate once one of the main ways in which carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere. The rise in sea temperature may trigger the release of large quantities of carbon dioxide, trapped as hydrides on the ocean floor. Both these phenomena would increase the greenhouse effect, and so global warming further. We have to reverse global warming urgently, if we still can. ”
Can we accept his statements and, if not, why not? Any court in the world would accept this man's testimony on such a subject.
But what if we do believe in a God, perhaps the God of the Bible? Does the Bible say anything on this subject, and if God himself were to warn us of Global Warming, would not Christians, and other religious people be compelled to listen and act?
It is a little known fact that the Bible does indeed comment on Global Warming. In the final book of the Bible, “Revelation” (The Apokalypse), the writer is given visions of the future, “The last days” or “The final age of this earth.” The images he sees are disturbing and violent. One of them is a vision of God taking action to prevent a potential disaster. It states “God will bring to ruin those ruining the earth.” (Revelation 11.18). Elsewhere in the Bible, warnings are given which tell us two things about our world. Firstly that things would become so bad that “There will be nothing that is unattainable to them,” meaning that mankind will transgress the boundaries of morals and science. Also, Jesus himself, speaking of the time that God directly intervenes in human affairs in the future, warns that “Unless those days are cut short, no-one would be saved.” He warns of a “Great tribulation such as the world has never seen before, nor will see again.” He also warned of increasing frequency and intensity of natural disasters such as earthquakes.
That the Bible can comment on our earth being brought to the point of “Ruin” is remarkable in itself but, the important issue for believers is – Do we accept God's own testimony, confirming that our earth is facing ruin? If not, why not? Surely, there is no higher authority in the mind of a religious person! If the witnesses cited above are rejected by people, on either side of the debate, then one must turn the spotlight on one's own motives on this issue.
Finally, regarding the issue of motives, it is very pertinent, and revealing to examine the backgrounds, associations and motivations of those who argue for or against the issue of Global Warming.
But, first, let me make my position clear in this matter. I am not associated with any organization, company, political party or lobby group that stands for or against the issue. I am completely non-political, that is to say that I do not vote for any person or government. I am neither right wing nor left wing. I abstain from all forms of man's political agendas. I also reject philosophy as a means of interpretation or explanation for natural phenomena. Philosophy is a man-made, imperfect system of perspectives and it is not based in science. Most importantly, I stand to gain absolutely nothing from writing this article.
I do have the deepest respect for science itself. I believe that, on the issue of environmental matters, it is science that holds the key both to understanding and preventing it.
Therefore I cannot be accused of any ulterior motive in this matter. I follow where the scientific facts lead.
But what of the motives of both those that propose Global Warming as a fact, and those that deny it, what are their motives, associations and backgrounds?
It is difficult to imagine what a scientist at Oxford University or a scientific academy could gain from proposing environmental decline. Perhaps there are scholarships or funding to be had for them although, since this is now a dated issue, it is difficult to see how anyone could continue benefiting indefinitely from this issue. Furthermore, while I do accept that there are individuals and possible fringe organizations that may unscrupulously manipulate data and opinion to support Global Warming, it has to be acknowledged that these would have to be a tiny minority, otherwise we are accusing the scientists of the world of falsification as a whole community and that would be a slanderous statement against a vast body of respected intellectuals.
And what of the other side, the deniers? What could be their motives? Sadly, time and again we read in the press of individuals and organizations publishing denial articles, only to find that they are paid by, or sponsored by, or actually working for, the very commercial organizations that stand to lose the most from any implemented policies brought in as a response to Climate Change. Too often, when I have read testimonials denying climate change, I have investigated the backgrounds of these people, only to find, time and again, that they have a financial, vocational or political advantage for their stance. This alone stands as a great discredit to the community of climate change deniers, and it severely weakens their academic and moral position.
And what of our own personal experiences in life. If we are old enough, what do we see in the world around us, compared to the world when we were young?
It is an established fact that diseases associated with chemical contamination, including gases are increasing rapidly, to the point of unprecedented numbers of cases of cancers, asthma and other breathing related conditions. Rivers are polluted, sea levels are rising.
When I was a child, I remember observing, on a daily basis, certain animals and insects. Starlings were numerous, as were bees and butterflies. Foxes were a rare sight in towns, as were deer and badgers. Large birds of prey were never seen in built up areas. Today, however, there are no starlings where I live. I see an occasional bee, and the butterflies I observe are missing two complete varieties. I see deer in towns and foxes scavenging in back gardens and rubbish tips. I see Buzzards and Harriers in my town on a regular basis. These are just a few of the changes I have observed in my own local environment. On a global scale we see deforestation, decaying coral reefs and contaminated bodies of water.
Logic alone tells us that when 7.5 billion people pour billions of tons of chemicals into the atmosphere, and strip millions of acres of forest bare, and pour millions of tons of chemicals into our rivers and seas, and mine millions of tons of minerals from the earth's soil, that there must be an impact on the environment.
When all of the above is considered, namely that the official scientific community, including the likes of Stephen Hawking, state as a fact Global Warming, and the God of the Bible warns of the consequences of this reality, then we must take note, we cannot ignore this phenomenon. From all authorities and sciences the message is clear, it is loud and it is undeniable. We have a Global Warning which we dare not dismiss, for our very survival depends on it!