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Climate Emergency or Hot Air?

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If you scroll through the internet, more than likely you’ll see an article or two about climate change. It’s the main topic of the day. Time magazine named teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg the 2019 Person of the Year while Dictionary.com deemed existential their Word of the Year. All this climate change chatter has people fearful over what’s supposedly coming.

Many people experience eco-anxiety, defined by the American Psychological Association as “a chronic fear of environmental doom.” In turn, eco-anxiety has prompted the rise of eco-anxiety support groups called the Good Grief Network.

Further spurring on the panic, this past November, 11,258 scientists from around the world added their names to a report that declares what they deem to be a climate change emergency caused by greenhouse gas emissions. The report, titled “World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency,” was published in the journal Bioscience. But things may not be as dire as they first appear.

William Ripple, professor of ecology at Oregon State University and colead author of the study, proclaimed, “Climate change has arrived and is accelerating faster than many scientists expected.”

But if they’re really trying to prove a climate emergency, then shouldn’t the majority of scientists who contributed to the report be qualified environmental scientists? You would think so. But one researcher found that only 240—just 2%—of the scientists who signed the report were considered experts in climate-related fields.

In reality, only a small sampling of climate scientists believes we are facing imminent doom. So why all the insistence on anxiety and panic?

In defense, Ripple explained, “What we wanted was a wide diversity of scientists in many different disciplines because climate change has moved beyond a topic just for climate scientists.” The study’s numbers were bolstered by experts in unrelated fields such as paleontology, nutrition, computer science, and linguistics.

In reality, only a small sampling of climate scientists believe we are facing imminent doom. Furthermore, thousands of scientists with climate-related degrees have sent letters and signed petitions arguing against a climate crisis, further emphasizing that the scientific community can’t reach a consensus on the issue.

So why all the insistence on anxiety and panic?

Secular scientists approach the climate debate from an unbiblical perspective, believing that humans alone manage the rising temperatures. Certainly when we have clear evidence that we are abusing creation, we should take actions to correct it. But Christians know that God designed our magnificently complex climate and has promised that the present earth will be inhabitable until he creates a new heaven and a new earth (Isaiah 65:17).

Answers Magazine

March–April 2020

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