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Many scientists are warning us about climate change in the USA. Examples are given later in this blog, and it’s frightening. But before we go there……..

While in Australia recently, I visited with two college friends. Many years ago Julian Pfitzner and I took Honors Physics together, while Mark Schubert (also a physics major) was a roommate for a year or two. These two men were and are very solid Lutherans, and both influenced me when I was grasping for spiritual experience. I respect these men as balanced and unbiased……honest searchers and assessors of scientific truth. Humble and stable men, they were high-school teachers for most of their lives, and always prepared to help others (both have travelled a few times to Indonesia to teach English as a second language to incoming Seminary students and pastors).

Julian and Jane Pfitzner in Adelaide.

This is why I read with anticipation a recent article by Julian and Mark called “Climate Change – the science”. In my opinion, it is a balanced examination of the data, is relatively short, and provides a simple but good understanding of what climate change is all about. The article is about science, not politics, and I highly recommend the article if you are like me and have been yearning for something that you could get your arms around. Just Click on or CTRL – Click on the header-link below.

Climate Change – the science If clicking doesn’t work, you may instead copy and paste the following URL into your internet browser: http://jppf.wordpress.com/2012/09/29/climate-change-the-science-2/

For a taste of the article by Julian and Mark, I attach here just the written Conclusion:
“There is still considerable uncertainty in some areas of climate change science and particularly in the effects of the change. However, the evidence is very strong for the central idea, namely, that it is human-produced greenhouse gases which are the primary causes of the observed recent changes in our planet’s climate. The effects of the change range from helpful (more plant growth in some places) to severely disruptive, or even catastrophic, adding to the global stresses already coming from an increasing human population which requires more food, water and energy.

We insure our property against the relatively small risk of damage or destruction. Similar risk management means we should insure against the severe or disastrous effects that are possible outcomes of human induced climate change. Serious cost/benefit analysis supports action now.

As Christians we want to respond to God’s love for us by loving him, all people, and his creation. This means acting responsibly by using the knowledge and gifts he has given us. We believe that humanity has the ability to begin to make changes now to limit the severity of the potential problems caused by climate change and so protect the earth for future generations”.

The trees and the forests cannot gobble up CO2 fast enough.

Extracts from a recent article from Associated Press about weather patterns in the USA in 2012, and what climate change may look like in the future**:
“But since at least 1988, climate scientists have warned that climate change would bring, in general, increased heat waves, more droughts, more sudden downpours, more widespread wildfires, and worsening storms. In the United States, those extremes are happening here and now.

[This year] the East Coast was hit with triple-digit temperatures, and a derecho — an unusually strong, long-lived and straight-line wind storm — blew through Chicago to Washington. The storm and its aftermath killed more than 20 people and left millions without electricity. Experts say it had energy readings five times that of normal thunderstorms.

The spring and winter in the USA were the warmest on record and among the least snowy, setting the stage for the weather extremes to come, scientists say.

Since January 1, the United States has set more than 40,000 hot temperature records, but fewer than 6,000 cold temperature records, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Through most of last century, the USA used to set cold and hot records evenly, but in the first decade of this century America set two hot records for every cold one, said Jerry Meehl, a climate extreme expert at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. This year the ratio is about 7 hot to 1 cold. Some computer models say that ratio will hit 20-to-1 by midcentury.

The 100-degree heat, drought, early snowpack melt, and beetles waking from hibernation early to strip trees all combined to set the stage for the current unusual spread of wildfires in the West, said University of Montana ecosystems professor Steven Running, an expert on wildfires”.

Some bird and animal habitats are shifting due to warming.

Finally down where I live in Albuquerque, New Mexico:
I heard this week that our annual rainfall is only 60% of normal. And this is the second year of drought here. The Rio Grande River which runs through Albuquerque, and Lake Powell which is fed by the Colorado River, are both at 20-year lows.

A new book called “A Great Aridness” addresses drought in the American Southwest……both historically and in present times^^. A very well-written book, containing impressive research, it draws substantive conclusions and some of these are downright scary. After all, we have in the southwest (where I also live) some of the largest desert populations in the developed world (eg, Phoenix, Arizona), and according to the author the situation is precarious!

What is our Christian responsibility in regard to these things?
In my opinion it is first to look after God’s creation. Second, it is to understand what science (not politics) says about climate change. And third, to communicate this, e.g. pass this blog along to others who may want or need to know more about the science behind climate change. Your comments as a reader are always welcome even if you disagree (please post in the Comment box at bottom of the blogsite).

The Gray Nomad.
Probing the practice of Christian believers….

“And God said See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the land, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to all the animals on the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the ground, to everything in which there is the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food. And it was so. And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good and He approved it completely.” (Genesis chapter 1, Amplified Bible).

** Seth Borenstein, AP, 2012
^^ William deBuys, “A great Aridness” (Oxford University Press, 2011)

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5 Responses to Some Truths about Climate change: What is the science? What is our Christian responsibility?

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    • I know your students will appreciate it John…..its a lucid succinct summary of climate change (the science) that anyone can read and benefit from.

  2. Dave Nawrocki |

    Wow! Well done article, Ian, and I’m glad you posted it. Sorry for what happened back home. I fear the die is cast and my grandkids will see the impact far more than we will…

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