The Importance of Climate Conversations
“The problem is that so many political leaders, not just in Europe but in the United States, made decisions to get more of our energy from wind and solar. Despite sinking trillions of dollars into subsidies and tax incentives for these, wind and solar still make up 2-3% of global energy use. The more you put them into electric grids, the more unstable those grids become. We find the places that use the most wind and solar are the places with the highest costs. People are waking up, and what’s happened in the last year has a lot to do with that.
In Great Britain, electricity prices are wholesale. They are multiplying by eight to ten times what they were a year ago. In Europe, it’s forcing many businesses to close because they can’t pay their electric bills. As I studied these issues, I understood that abundant, affordable, reliable energy is indispensable to lifting and keeping whole societies out of poverty. Unfortunately, the climate emergency mindset threatens people’s access to that.”
Why We Can’t Rely on Solar/Wind Energy Alone.
“A research team at Harvard set out to answer the question, ‘How much land would we have to cover with wind turbines to replace all the electricity that we now generate in the United States from coal and natural gas with electricity generated from wind?’
They found that it would have to cover everything from the Atlantic coast to the Mississippi. Then they asked, ‘How much more land would we have to cover to generate enough electricity to replace all of our internal combustion engines on our roads with electric motors?’ Their answer was the same.
Wind turbines, solar panels, and EV batteries are built from rare minerals mined in China, Latin America, and Africa. There, miners are under very poor environmental conditions. As a result, the batteries and solar panels have huge toxic waste problems that we haven’t figured out how to solve.”
Do Believers Have a Responsibility to Care About Climate Change?
The document is about climate change and our responsibility as Christians to fight it because it ‘shows that we care about the poor.’ The primary author is a biologist, not a climate scientist, named Dorothy Boorse. In a CNN interview, she went so far as to say, ‘You can’t say that you love Jesus and care about others and not about climate change.’ Her statement confuses motivation with a scientific fact. In that interview, she also said, ‘The science is not what convinces. Narrative stories that connect to their values are what convince people.’
Those things may move people, but they don’t convince anyone. To convince is to persuade with evidence and logic. This document contains stories about people who natural disasters have hurt. These stories are heartbreaking, and it’s true that, as Christians, we should care about these people and what happens to them. However, this document does not prove with any evidence that the things that hurt these people were driven by human-caused climate change.
The empirical record tells us there has been no increase in the frequency or intensity of extreme weather events. Therefore it is impossible that ‘man-made’ climate change caused these things. Instead, they need to rise out of poverty to protect themselves and recover more quickly when they do occur. But, unfortunately, that’s what the agenda of the climate alarmists will prevent by forbidding people from having access to abundant, affordable, reliable energy.”
Calvin Beisner’s Opinion on Self-Focused Theology
“When Paul wrote about the resurrection of Christ in 1 Corinthians 15:3-11, he didn’t talk about the feelings in his own heart. Instead, he said, ‘For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.’
Pastors can’t be expected to know all the ins and outs of the climate change controversy. However, they have a responsibility to learn about it, and that’s why we at the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation put so much helpful material on our website. I’ve also done a lecture called Climate Change and the Christian that could be shown to a congregation to improve understanding. It is ultimately a matter of, ‘He showed Himself by many convincing proofs, to be alive.’ We need evidence and logic, not gut feelings, to determine what’s true.”
Calvin Beisner’s Take on ‘Protecting The Least of These’
“There’s a lot in this that any thoughtful Christian can and should embrace, particularly in protecting those vulnerable to threats from climate and weather. We should prioritize the measures that will minimize harm to these people because they can’t minimize that harm themselves. This applies to everything; everything that’s a threat is more of a threat to those who are poor than those who are wealthy.
Proverbs 18:11 says, ‘A rich man’s wealth is his strong city.’ So when we look at any major event, we must ask, ‘Who are the people most vulnerable to this, and how can we reduce their vulnerability?’ From 1900 to the present, human mortality rates from extreme weather events have fallen by over 98%. That’s not because we have fewer extreme weather events. It’s because many people have grown from extreme poverty into reasonable prosperity.
Global warming driven by greenhouse gasses happens primarily toward the poles, in winter, at night, not toward the equator in summer and the daytime. As a result, it raises low temperatures while leaving high temperatures unchanged. At any rate, we need to find out how societies rise and stay out of poverty.”
The Findings of The Cornwall Alliance
“We’ve found two indispensable things. One is a set of social institutions, private property rights, entrepreneurship, free trade, limited government, and the rule of law. The other is access to abundant, affordable, reliable energy.
The tragic thing is that the policies pursued by those who insist that we should mitigate global warming caused by human emissions of greenhouse gases reduce people’s access to social institutions and energy.”
An Important Thing to Remember Regarding Developing Countries
“John Christie, a research professor in climate at the University of Alabama, was a missionary in Kenya for the early part of his career. During this time, he observed the typical life of rural sub-Saharan African women.
They spend about six to eight hours a day gathering wood and dried dung to fuel the fires on which they cook their meals. The World Health Organization estimates that smoke from these fires kills anywhere from three to four million people a year, mostly women and young children. This primitive energy system for the world was used by the vast majority of people until about a hundred years ago. In the United States, the average person spends about 20 minutes a day earning that portion of his income, with which he pays for his electricity, natural gas, and gasoline for his vehicle.
We have billions of people around the world who have no electricity. That means they can’t study at night, their kids can’t receive education, and their hospitals can’t run most of their equipment. So as a result, the world is using more coal now than ever before, and it will continue this way for the next few decades because the developing world is far more committed to rising out of poverty than fighting climate change.”
Can Anything be Done to Help Those in Impoverished Countries?
“The UN intergovernmental panel on climate change generates scenarios for the future about human well-being and economic growth through the end of this century. Those scenarios are based on various assumptions about how much CO2 and other greenhouse gases we put into the atmosphere.
They yield different growth curves for economies. In every scenario, including those where we do nothing to fight climate change, everybody is much better off at the end of this century than they are today. It’s in the warmest of those scenarios where we do the least to fight global warming that today’s poorest countries are the richest at the end of this century. This means that economic development is outstripping anything from climate change to reducing human mortality. Economic growth is far more important.
If you have an income equivalent to the bottom 10% of Americans, you can thrive in any climate from the Arctic Circle to the Sahara Desert. However, if you’re living on the equivalent of $2 per day, you couldn’t thrive in the best tropical paradise. Poverty is a far greater threat to human well-being than climate ever has been or ever will be.”
About Dr. Calvin Beisner
Dr. Beisner is Founder and National Spokesman of The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, a network of over 60 Christian theologians, natural scientists, economists, and other scholars educating for Biblical earth stewardship, economic development for the poor, and the proclamation and defense of the good news of salvation by God’s grace, received through faith in Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection.
He has written over a dozen books, edited over 30, contributed to over 35, and published thousands of articles, popular and scholarly; has lectured at universities, seminaries, conferences, and churches in North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia; testified as an expert witness on the ethics and economics of climate change and climate and energy policy before committees of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives; briefed the White House Council on Environmental Policy; and presented a paper to a scholarly colloquium on climate change of the Pontifical Institute for Justice and Peace at the Vatican in Rome. In 2014 the Heritage Foundation honored Dr. Beisner with the Outstanding Spokesman for Faith, Science, and Stewardship Award at the Ninth International Conference on Climate Change.
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