Evangelicals, Katherine Hayhoe, and Climate Change

In Environment, Religion, The Big Picture by Vijay Jayaraj

Dr. Katherine Hayhoe is an evangelical scientist who desires the wellbeing of human society. She crunches data and helps people quantify the impacts of climate change.

Sadly, her communication to the church has been anything but helpful.

Dr. Hayhoe says, “The data tells us the planet is warming; the science is clear that humans are responsible; the impacts we’re seeing today are already serious; and our future is in our hands.”

But is it? Does the church have to take her at her word because she is an evangelical and an atmospheric and climate scientist at Texas Tech University who is passionate about communicating science to the faith community?

Not at all!

There are evangelical scientists in both camps—the climate alarmist camp and the climate realist camp (aka the climate skeptics).

None can be termed ‘climate deniers,’ since scientists in both camps agree that the climate has been changing from the beginning of time. They only disagree on the magnitude of human contribution.

How, then, do we arrive at truth?

To test the validity of dangerous climate change theory, we have to repeatedly compare predictions based on the theories with data (real-world observations) and see whether the data contradicts those theories. The science of climate change is no exception. This is where Dr. Hayhoe’s claims are found wanting.

The data do not reveal dangerous warming. Instead they show that climate has been changing since the creation of the Earth, and recent changes are well within historic bounds.

While she is right to say that the planet has warmed since the mid-19th century, the warming is not unprecedented. The earth has been warming since the Little Ice Age of the 16th and 17th centuries. We should be surprised if it were not.

We have had two similar warming trends in the past 2000 years, both when humans had nothing to do with carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.

In fact, temperature reconstructions show us that there have been many such warmings in the past. Thus, we have no reason to panic about our role in the warming.

With regard to the relationship between carbon dioxide levels and temperature, we have no conclusive proof that the global temperature levels are driven to dangerous levels by carbon dioxide levels.

The three warmest years in the past 20 years were a direct result of exceptionally strong El Niños, not carbon dioxide. Even though carbon dioxide levels increased steadily during many of those 20 years, temperature did not.

Where do the dangerous warming forecasts originate?

They come from computer climate models that have been proven wrong. How? By comparing their predicted warming rates with the data. On average, they predict 2 to 3 times the observed warming. These are the very same models Hayhoe cites as proof for catastrophic warming.

The fault in the models is widely acknowledged, even by scientists in the climate alarmist camp, and testified to by climate scientists to the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

There has been no significant warming in the past 19 years and no drastic sea level rise as hyped by the popular media.

No human activity has impacted the global climate system in any dangerous way, contrary to Dr. Hayhoe’s claims.

Church leaders should, therefore, use their conscience to safeguard the church from science communicators who misinform and promote an alarmist agenda based on skewed scientific data.

This misinformation regarding climate data impacts millions of people around the world adversely, robbing them of access to clean, affordable, and reliable energy from fossil fuels. It hampers the Christian efforts to address the needs of the poor and marginalized.

Dr. Hayhoe is fond of saying, “If you begin a conversation with, ‘You’re an idiot,’ that’s the end of the conversation.” Ironically, she does not live up to her own doctrine, as she continues to refuse dialogue with her fellow evangelical climate scientists who differ from her perspective.
Christianity isn’t a blind faith, but climate alarmist dogma is!

Vijay Jayaraj (M.S., Environmental Science, University of East Anglia, England), Research Associate for Developing Countries for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, lives in India.

Vijay Jayaraj (M.S., Environmental Science) is the Research Associate for Developing Countries for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation. He currently lives in Udumalpet, India.