Re: [asa] An Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming

From: Michael Roberts <michael.andrea.r@ukonline.co.uk>
Date: Sat Dec 05 2009 - 02:47:11 EST

In a word "nonsense" . Read it carefully and you will see it is heavily
dependent on Calvin Beisner with his YE views , all coal and gas formed in
the Flood and his idea of "wilderness to Garden", and the Fall cursed the
earth. It has been around for some time .

I include something I wrote some years ago; (In my book I contrasted the
Greens i.e Houghton cal de Wit witht eh Browns)

THE BROWNS

Whereas most Christians and many evangelicals have developed a great concern
for the environment over the last forty years, significant numbers of
evangelicals have not. Many of these are associated with the Religious Right
in the USA and have a great suspicion of anything liberal or “leftie”. Since
1990 evangelicals opposed to the approach of Cal de Wit and others have been
gaining strength and have formed coalitions to express their understanding
of environmental stewardship, culminating in the Cornwall Declaration
produced in 2000 which is not strictly environmental, though it questions
much conventional environmental wisdom.

An essential aspect of the opposition to mainline environmentalism came from
free-market economics and this was linked to the upholding of conservative
theological principles, both Catholic and evangelicals with the founding of
the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty in 1990 by Father
Robert Sirico to, quote “promote a society that embraces civil liberties and
free-market economics”. The Acton Institute and Beisner opposed the
Evangelical Declaration on the Care of Creation. In 2000, the Acton
Institute established the Interfaith Council for Environmental Stewardship,
whose founders included leading evangelicals like James Dobson (Focus on
the Family), James Kennedy (Coral Ridge Ministries), Bill Bright (Campus
Crusade) and Charles Colson as well as conservative Roman Catholics and
Jews. Their Cornwall Declaration was produced in 2000, which was posted to
35,000 churches. This ran counter to the Evangelical Declaration, but it was
not “anti-environmental”, though it has been perceived as such. First, the
declaration is anthropocentric and emphatic that humanity has dominion over
the earth and criticise “Some unfounded or undue concerns include fears of
destructive manmade global warming, overpopulation, and rampant species
loss.” (Concerns 3) Then in the section on beliefs, the fifth statement
reads “ By disobeying God's Law, humankind brought on itself moral and
physical corruption as well as divine condemnation in the form of a curse on
the earth. Since the fall into sin people have often ignored their Creator,
harmed their neighbors, and defiled the good creation.” This as we see
claims that the Fall had an effect on the whole of creation, in that it was
a “curse” and not just a “fall”. Larsen wrote that, “the Cornwall
Declaration represented the first acknowledgment of the need for
environmental care” by politically conservative leaders. That in itself may
be very significant for the future. In 2005 ICES was relaunched as the
Interfaith Stewardship Alliance (ISA).

            To understand the Browns and the ISA, it is best to focus on
their leading theoretician, Calvin Beisner, who is associate professor of
social ethics at Knox Theological Seminary (which is attached of James
Kennedy’s Coral Ridge Church and has written three books on environmental
stewardship: Prospects for Growth: A Biblical View of Population, Resources,
and the Future (1990); Man, Economy,and Environment in Biblical Perspective
(1994), and Where Garden Meets Wilderness: Evangelical Entry Into
theEnvironmental Debate (1997). Beisner is not a scientist and studied under
the economist Julian Simon, whose book Resourceful Earth 1984 advocated the
“Cornucopia hypothesis” of unlimited economic growth, and who did not
recognise the limited nature of natural resources. Hence Beisner has far
more of a free market approach to the environment rather than a scientific
one, whether on climate, pollution or material resources.

            Beisner’s supports his understanding of environmental
stewardship from his interpretation of early Genesis where he argues that
there are two different mandates in chapter 1 and 2 and that the “curse” of
Genesis drastically changed the natural world and that it was a real curse
and not just a human Fall. Richard Wright argued in 1995 that “the emerging
Christian anti-environmentalism … The presumed biblical support for this
position is currently found primarily in Beisner’s work”. (Wright 1995).
Beisner rejected the common idea that the meaning of subdue and rule in
Genesis 1:28 and to till and keep in Genesis 2 are essentially the same to
argue from the Hebrew, as he did in Where garden meets wilderness that there
are two contrasting cultural mandates. 2:15 being gentle, and 1:28 harsh.
One is appropriate to the garden, the other to the earth outside the garden,
i.e. the wilderness. Thus the wilderness must be “subdued” to become a
“garden” and that includes taming wild animals. As Beisner expressed it,
“the incremental transformation of wilderness into garden, bringing the
whole earth under human dominion, taming the wild beasts, and building order
out of chaos … while tender cultivation is suited to a garden, forceful
subduing is suited to all of the earth that has not yet been transformed
into the garden. In short, subduing and ruling the earth should metamorphose
gradually into tilling and keeping the garden as the earth is progressively
transformed into the garden.” Ref to mck

Many would not accept this biblical interpretation, but it has serious
implications in that Genesis 1. 28 becomes a command to tame the wilderness
and as Mckeown put it “so the logical outcome of his reading of Genesis
(though he mostly avoids it) is that it is a dereliction of duty to leave
any wild area untransformed or any wild creature untamed.” That goes
completely contrary to any understanding of protecting the wildernesses of
our planet and the ideal of National Parks. I will leave the reader to make
up her own mind!

Beisner also claims that “there is a difference between the Fall and the
Curse. The fall is man's sin, and the Curse is God's response to man's sin.
The Curse is on the earth”. He points out that “most evangelical books on
the environment never mention the Curse” but only the Fall and that “The
only degradation that the Declaration mentions occurring to the earth is all
through human action” neglecting God’s direct action against the earth by
curse and flood. Beisner judged that this silence was motivated by the
greens’ desire to identify environmental problems as human-caused, but the
report of the 1992 WEF meeting (above) indicates that the reason was their
uncertainty about whether the earth’s physical aspects were actually changed
by the curse. In other words, were earthquakes, storms, predation, death and
disease actually introduced after the Fall to be the Curse. This as we have
seen in chapter seven is a basis premise of YEC. In his contribution to the
Pontifical Council for Justice and peace in April 2007 he wrote, ‘According
to both the Bible and sound science, the great pools of oil and veins of
coal formed from sudden, simultaneous deposits of vast numbers of plants and
animals in a great geological cataclysm – what Christians recognize as the
Flood of Noah’s time.’ (Beisner 2007) Many would not agree that this is
sound science.

It is not possible to give a detailed discussion of Beisner’s and the ISA’s
basis for environmental issues, but it is difficult not to conclude that
they are based three contentious conclusions, first that there are unlimited
resources in the earth, secondly on a rather idiosyncratic interpretation of
early Genesis, and that it is predicated by a YEC view of the fall as a
Curse, along with a rejection of the consensus of scientists on so any
issues, whether environmental or basic science.

From the latest presentation to the Senate on religious views of Global
Warming (June 2007) discussed below, it is clear that Beisner has convinced
a large proportion of religious conservatives, including the Southern
Baptists. His whole approach has been savaged by two environmental informed
evangelical scientists, Richard Wright and Jeff Greenberg of Wheaton. The
latter wrote with complete exasperation! Despite, on in spite of that, many
evangelicals and conservative Catholics have supported the Cornwall
Declaration and under the guise of good stewardship of the environment
reject many of the aims of most environmentalists, particularly those which
are seen as junk science. This has caused a rift among American
evangelicals, which does not follow the usual demarcation of creationist and
evolutionist.

----- Original Message -----
From: "John Walley" <john_walley@yahoo.com>
To: "AmericanScientificAffiliation" <asa@calvin.edu>
Sent: Saturday, December 05, 2009 4:49 AM
Subject: [asa] An Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming

Guys,

Tell me what you think about this.

John

A Renewed Call to Truth, Prudence, and Protection of the Poor
An Evangelical Examination of the Theology, Science, and Economics of Global
Warming

http://www.cornwallalliance.org/articles/read/a-renewed-call-to-truth-prudence-and-protection-of-the-poor/

Endorse An Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming!
Download this document (PDF, 76 pages)
Download a summary (PDF, 6 pages)

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The world is in the grip of an idea: that burning fossil fuels to provide
affordable, abundant energy is causing global warming that will be so
dangerous that we must stop it by reducing our use of fossil fuels, no
matter the cost.
Is that idea true?
We believe not.
We believe that idea—we’ll call it “global warming alarmism”—fails the tests
of theology, science, and economics. It rests on poor theology, with a
worldview of the Earth and its climate system contrary to that taught in the
Bible. It rests on poor science that confuses theory with observation,
computer models with reality, and model results with evidence, all while
ignoring the lessons of climate history. It rests on poor economics, failing
to do reasonable cost/benefit analysis, ignoring or underestimating the
costs of reducing fossil fuel use while exaggerating the benefits. And it
bears fruit in unethical policy that would
* destroy millions of jobs.
* cost trillions of dollars in lost economic production.
* slow, stop, or reverse economic growth.
* reduce the standard of living for all but the elite few who are well
positioned to benefit from laws that unfairly advantage them at the expense
of most businesses and all consumers.
* endanger liberty by putting vast new powers over private, social, and
market life in the hands of national and international governments.
* condemn the world’s poor to generations of continued misery characterized
by rampant disease and premature death.
In return for all these sacrifices, what will the world get? At most a
negligible, undetectable reduction in global average temperature a hundred
years from now.
Our examination of theology, worldview, and ethics (Chapter One) finds that
global warming alarmism wrongly views the Earth and its ecosystems as the
fragile product of chance, not the robust, resilient, self-regulating, and
self-correcting product of God’s wise design and powerful sustaining. It
rests on and promotes a view of human beings as threats to Earth’s
flourishing rather than the bearers of God’s image, crowned with glory and
honor, and given a mandate to act as stewards over the Earth—filling,
subduing, and ruling it for God’s glory and mankind’s benefit. It either
wrongly assumes that the environment can flourish only if humanity forfeits
economic advance and prosperity or ignores economic impacts altogether. And
in its rush to impose draconian reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, it
ignores the destructive impact of that policy on the world’s poor.
Our examination of the science of global warming (Chapter Two) finds that
global warming alarmism wrongly claims that recent temperature changes have
been greater and more rapid than those of the past and therefore must be
manmade, not natural. It exaggerates the influence of manmade greenhouse
gases on global temperature and ignores or underestimates the influence of
natural cycles. It mistakenly takes the output of computer climate models as
evidence when it is only predictions based on hypotheses that must be tested
by observation. It falsely claims overwhelming scientific consensus in favor
of the hypothesis of dangerous manmade warming (ignoring tens of thousands
of scientists who disagree) and then falsely claims that such consensus
proves the hypothesis and justifies policies to fight it. It seeks to
intimidate or demonize scientific skeptics rather than welcoming their work
as of the very essence of scientific inquiry: putting hypotheses to the
 test rather than blindly embracing them.
Our examination of the economics of global warming alarmism (Chapter Three)
finds that it exaggerates the harms from global warming and ignores or
underestimates the benefits not only from warming but also from increased
atmospheric carbon dioxide. It grossly underestimates the costs and
overestimates the benefits of policies meant to reduce carbon dioxide
emissions. It exaggerates the technical feasibility and underestimates the
costs of alternative fuels to replace fossil fuels in providing the
abundant, affordable energy necessary for wealth creation and poverty
reduction. It ignores the urgent need to provide cleaner energy to the
roughly two billion poor in the world whose use of wood and dung as primary
cooking and heating fuels causes millions of premature deaths and hundreds
of millions of debilitating respiratory diseases every year. It fails to
recognize that the slowed economic development resulting from its own
policies will cost many times
 more human lives than would the warming it is meant to avert.
In light of all these findings, we conclude that

* human activity has negligible influence on global temperature,
* the influence is not dangerous,
* there is no need to mandate the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and
* environmental and energy policy should remove, not build, obstacles to the
abundant, affordable energy necessary to lift the world’s poor out of
poverty and sustain prosperity for all.
We also gladly join others in embracing An Evangelical Declaration on Global
Warming.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY OF CHAPTER ONE:
THEOLOGY, WORLDVIEW, AND ETHICS OF GLOBAL WARMING POLICY
Earth and all its subsystems—of land, sea, and air, living and nonliving—are
the good products of the wise design and omnipotent acts of the infinite,
eternal, and unchangeable Triune God of the Bible. As such they reveal God’s
glory. Mankind, created in God’s image, is the crown of creation. Human
beings have the divine mandate to multiply and to fill, subdue, and rule the
Earth, transforming it from wilderness into garden. They act as stewards
under God to cultivate and guard what they subdue and rule. Calling them to
be His vicegerents over the Earth, God requires obedience to His laws—in
Scripture and imprinted in the human conscience—in their stewardship.
Although sin, universal among mankind, deeply mars this stewardship, God’s
redemptive act in Jesus Christ’s death on the cross and His instructive
activity through Scripture, communicating the nature of creation and human
responsibility for it, enable people to create wealth and
 decrease poverty at the same time that they pursue creation stewardship
and, even more important, the true spiritual wealth of knowing their Creator
through Jesus Christ.
The Biblical worldview contrasts sharply with the environmentalist
worldview—whether secular or religious—in many significant ways. Among
these, four are particularly germane:
* Environmentalism sees Earth and its systems as the product of chance and
therefore fragile, subject to easy and catastrophic disruption. The Biblical
worldview sees Earth and its systems as robust, self-regulating, and
self-correcting, not immune to harm but durable.
* Environmentalism sees human beings principally as consumers and polluters
who are only quantitatively, not qualitatively, different from other
species. The Bible sees people as made in God’s image, qualitatively
different from all other species, and designed to be producers and stewards
who, within a just and free social order, can create more resources than
they consume and ensure a clean, healthful, and beautiful environment.
* Environmentalism tends to view nature untouched by human hands as optimal,
while the Bible teaches that it can be improved by wise and holy human
action.
* Environmentalism tends to substitute subjective, humanist standards of
environmental stewardship for the objective, transcendent standards of
divine morality.
This Biblical vision anticipates the development of environmentally friendly
prosperity through the wise application of knowledge and skill to the raw
materials of this world and the just ordering of society. That is, it
anticipates the achievement of high levels of economic development and the
reduction of poverty along with reductions in resource scarcity, pollution,
and other environmental hazards.
The providence and promises of God inform a Christian understanding of
creation stewardship, helping to avert irrational or exaggerated fears of
catastrophes—fears that are rooted, ultimately, in the loss of faith in God.
Those who do trust God are able to assess and respond to risks rationally.
God’s wisdom, power, and faithfulness justify confidence that Earth’s
ecosystems are robust and will, by God’s providence, accomplish the purposes
He set for them.
Sound policymaking requires both moral and prudential (cost/benefit)
analysis. In this, a high priority for the church should be the welfare of
the poor, since environmental policies often adversely affect them. That is
the case with policies intended to reduce global warming by reducing the use
of fossil fuels. For example, such fuels are currently the most abundant and
affordable alternatives to dirty fuels, like wood and dung, which are now
used by two billion people and cause millions of deaths and hundreds of
millions of illnesses from respiratory diseases contracted by breathing
their smoke. Insisting on the use of more expensive alternative fuels
because of global warming fears means depriving the poor of the abundant,
affordable energy they need to rise from abject poverty and its attendant
miseries. Such policies fail both moral and prudential tests.
Environmental policies the world’s poor most need will aim not at reducing
global temperature (over which human action has little control) but at
reducing specific risks to the poor regardless of temperature: communicable
diseases (especially malaria), malnutrition and hunger, and exclusion from
worldwide markets by trade restrictions. Money diverted from these goals to
fight global warming will be wasted, while the poor will suffer increased
and prolonged misery. Overall economic policy toward the poor should focus
on promoting economic development, including making low-cost energy
available, through which they can lift themselves out of poverty. It should
not focus on wealth redistribution, which fosters dependency and slows
development. Above all, the poor—and all other persons—need the gospel of
salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY OF CHAPTER TWO:
THE SCIENCE OF GLOBAL WARMING
When people ask, “Do you believe in global warming?” chances are they mean,
“Do you believe human beings are causing global warming?” It is unfortunate
that global warming has become synonymous with manmade global warming,
because it obfuscates the real question: To what extent are human beings
contributing to changes that are always occurring in nature anyway?
Some people claim repeatedly that melting sea ice, an increase in
global-average temperatures, stronger storms, more floods, and more droughts
are occurring due to humanity’s burning of fossil fuels. But how many of
these changes are real versus imagined? And of those that are real, how
much, if at all, can they be attributed to human activities?
Indeed, there have been some significant climatic changes in recent decades.
For instance, the normal summer melt-back of Arctic sea ice has increased in
the 30 years during which we have had satellites to monitor this remote
region of the Earth. There has also been a slow and irregular warming trend
of global-average temperatures over the last 50 to 100 years—the same period
of time the carbon dioxide (CO2) content of the atmosphere has increased.
But correlation does not mean causation, and there has been a tendency in
the media to overlook research suggesting that these recent changes are, in
fact, related to natural cycles in the climate system rather than to
atmospheric CO2 increases from fossil fuel use. That changes occur does not
mean human beings are responsible. There is good evidence that most of the
warming of the past 150 years is due to natural causes. The belief that
climate change is anthropogenic (human-caused) and will have catastrophic
consequences is highly speculative.
Recent progress in climate research suggests that:
* Observed warming and purported dangerous effects have been overstated.
* Earth’s climate is less sensitive to the addition of CO2 than the alleged
scientific consensus claims it to be, which means that climate model
predictions of future warming are exaggerated.
* Those climate changes that have occurred are consistent with natural
cycles driven by internal changes in the climate system itself, external
changes in solar activity, or both.
In fact, given that CO2 in the atmosphere is necessary for life on Earth to
exist, it is likely that more CO2 will be beneficial. This possibility is
rarely discussed because many environmental activists share the
quasi-religious belief that everything mankind does hurts the environment.
Yet, if we objectively analyze the scientific evidence, we find good
evidence that more CO2 could lead to greater abundance and diversity of life
on Earth.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY OF CHAPTER THREE:
THE ECONOMICS OF GLOBAL WARMING POLICY
Many economists who have published articles on the subject consider the
science of climate change a settled matter—that human beings are responsible
for greenhouse gas emissions that cause dangerous global warming. We are
aware of no economic models that take into account the possibility that
human influence on climate is negligible. If this argument is correct—and we
believe it is (see the science chapter)—then the justification for
governments’ pursuing greenhouse gas reductions in the name of climate
control collapse.
While we believe that human influence on climate is negligible, our task is
to assess the economic prudence of policy options offered on the contrary
assumption.
Although some sector-level economic studies in agriculture and forestry
indicate that warming might enhance well-being, most models find that human
well-being improves because of economic growth with or without warming but
improves less with significant warming. Even so, economists conclude that an
optimal climate policy, assuming there should be one, would avoid locking
into a particular technology. Nonetheless, most energy legislation does just
that. Economists also recommend against stopping climate change entirely,
favoring a policy ramp whereby carbon taxes or emission reduction targets
slowly increase as and if average global temperatures rise. But the optimal
policy recommendations are based on projected future temperatures from
climate models rather than observed temperatures, on the basis of which less
warming might be expected.
On the assumption that politicians will seek to force reductions in carbon
dioxide (CO2) emissions, economists generally favor taxes over cap and trade
as the means. Carbon taxes are (1) transparent so that citizens can
recognize them, (2) flexible so they can be adjusted as needed (e.g., tied
to average global temperatures), and (3) widely applicable (including across
countries). Their revenues can be used to reduce other taxes, thereby
possibly providing a double dividend (reduced CO2 emissions and economic
growth due to removal of other taxes). In contrast, cap and trade leaves
room for unjustified credits because of government and business corruption
and dubious activities such as forest conservation and tree planting; it
gives large emitters huge windfalls in the form of free permits early in the
regime unless all emission permits are auctioned by the government; and it
yields no double dividend. Both large industrial emitters and financial
 institutions, unsurprisingly, lobby hard for cap and trade—the former
benefiting from the windfall at the start, the latter from transaction fees
in a commodity market that could be worth $3 trillion annually. Their
support for climate policies must not be mistaken, however, for conviction
either that dangerous manmade warming is real or that the policies are the
best way to respond. It is rent seeking: lobbying for legislation to profit
from potentially massive, policy-created windfalls.
Finally, many supporters of mandated emission reductions assume that
price-competitive renewable energy sources will soon displace fossil fuels.
However, large technical obstacles need to be overcome before renewable
energy will become price competitive on global or national scales—a process
that might take 50 to 100 years or more.
In light of these considerations and those of the other two chapters of this
document, we recommend against mandated reductions on CO2 emissions—whether
through cap and trade (the worst kind of emissions reduction policy) or a
carbon tax (the least bad emissions reduction policy, but still not
good)—and for the promotion of economic development and targeted problem
solving (e.g., disease reduction and nutrition enhancement) as a means to
fortify people the world over—especially the poor—against material threats
to their well-being, whether from climate change or anything else.
Endorse An Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming!

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