As evangelicals, we commend those who signed the Evangelical Climate Initiative’s “Climate Change: An Evangelical Call to Action” for speaking out on a public issue of ethical concern. We share the same Biblical world view, theology, and ethics. We are motivated by the same deep and genuine concern they express for the poor not only of our own nation but of the world. That very concern compels us to express our disagreement with their “Call to Action” and to offer an alternative that would improve the lot of the poor more surely and effectively.
It is important to speak directly to the issue of motive. We do not question the motive of those who produced or signed the ECI’s “Call to Action.” We assume that they acted out of genuine concern for the world’s poor and others and considered their action justified by scientific, economic, theological, and ethical facts. We trust that they will render us the same respect.
It is not sufficient, however, to have good intentions. They must be linked to sound understanding of relevant principles, theories, and facts. As we shall argue below, that linkage is lacking for the ECI’s “Call to Action.”
We present our case in two stages. First, we respond point-by-point to the ECI’s four claims and the four assumptions on which its “Call to Action” rests. Second, we present five contrary conclusions. The first four follow from the evidence presented in our critique of the ECI’s claims. The fifth sets forth our own alternative call to action to protect the poor, the rest of humanity, and the rest of the world’s inhabitants–not only from global warming but also from other potential environmental threats.
Response to the ECI’s Four Assumptions
The ECI’s “Call to Action” rests on the following four assumptions:
- Human emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere as we burn fuels for energy are the main cause of global warming.
- Global warming is not only real (which we do not contest) but is almost certainly going to be catastrophic in its consequences for humanity–especially the poor.
- Reducing carbon dioxide emissions would so curtail global warming as to significantly reduce its anticipated harmful effects.
- Mandatory carbon dioxide emissions reductions would achieve that end with overall effects that would be more beneficial than harmful to humanity and the rest of the world’s inhabitants. All of these assumptions, we shall argue below, are false, probably false, or exaggerated.