As part of the kickoff dinner for a conference held by LEAD Canada, of which my wife is a fellow and former president, there was a presentation by Dr William Rees from UBC. His topic: "Getting Serious About Global Warming".
If you've read my book, A Very Convenient Truth - real hope in the face of environmental fears (available at Pilgrim Book & Bible, Chapters Metrotown, House of James and Christian Book & Music Centre in Victoria), you'll know that -- at the time -- I bought into the concept of anthropogenic global warming. If you've heard my presentation, you'll know that now, I don't really take a position one way or the other, because of the politicization of the issue.
(People who oppose or even question the concept are vilified as corporate hacks, junk scientists or just plain evil: one hard-liner was quoted as saying that politicians who don't vote for endorsing the Kyoto Accord should be thrown in jail; another claimed that those who present opposing views are just as bad as those who deny the Nazi Holocaust. That's what I call "politicization", and it makes me wonder what kind of ground people who make those statements are standing on. If the debate strays from "what's right" to "who's right", something is definitely wrong.)
Now, because I look at the whole issue of the environment as being a matter of our relationship with God in toto, I see the fact that there's a debate of this level at all as one of the many signs that Satan is mucking about with all sides in this issue, keeping us at each other's throats rather than actually doing something to fix it.
Dr Rees' presentation is compelling, and his figures are hard to challenge. One point that kept coming up was the fact that much of the doomsday scenario sketched out just a few years ago has already turned out to be wrong -- in the wrong way. It's actually worse than they thought it was going to be. According to Dr Rees, the evidence shows that the rate of the sea ice melt (for example) is faster than they thought it would be and that the predicted concomitant rise in the sea level would be considerably higher.
Other parts of the talk were equally alarming, such as the statement by a group of scientists that the only way to head off global disaster would be for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to engineer a "planned worldwide recession". Or the map from New Scientist magazine, showing how a vast area of the earth -- anything south of Washington State and north of Antarctica -- would become uninhabitable in a very few years because of no water and no respite from the heat.
Something else that gave me cause for pause was a rather bizarre discovery: something that has actually held global warming somewhat in check has been atmospheric air pollution.
This brings that element of confusion, which is another of the signs I mention in the book that Satan is stirring the pot. If we're confused, we have to go back to the basic question: What is truth? And we know that, when we ask that, we're usually staring right at it.
See, it appears there are some false premises that need to be addressed:
1 - an anthropogenic problem has an anthropogenic solution
2 - human beings are essentially aliens on this planet
To deal with point (2) first, Dr Rees made reference to "natural" global warming and "anthropogenic" global warming -- i.e. the things we're responsible for due to our activities, like industry. But unless humans were to live like any other animal on earth, that premise doesn't hold water, in my view. Population, industrialization and other human activity is natural.
The problem comes because humans have not been doing the unnatural activities, namely, following the Word of God. God commanded us to manage the earth and gave us the fleshly intelligence to do it, then upped the ante by reminding us again and again that He's there to help us whenever we ask Him. Through sin, we stopped relying on God and have spent the past 6,000 years leaning on our own understanding. That's why the environment is in the mess it's in now. But instead of beating our brains out pointing fingers and searching for a scientific solution that only leads to more problems, God promises that He will fix everything if we just turn back to Him.
"If My people, which are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from Heaven and will forgive their sins and will heal their land." 2 Chr. 7:14
Can't get more settled than that, can it?
In other words (and this addresses point (1) up there), praise God that, through Jesus Christ, we can repent for our sin of having not managed creation properly, and turn back to God with a clean slate (2 Cor. 5:17). The anthropogenic problem can only have a Parthenogenic solution.
My thoughts go back to that New Scientist map. It's quite possible - since scientists have been readily admitting that they've missed the mark before (has anyone noticed how often even the weather reports have been wrong lately?) - that the map shows a worst-case scenario and that perhaps we can squeeze a level of habitability out of ... say ... two thirds of the planet.
That leaves a third of the planet uninhabitable ...
"... and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up. ... and the third part of the sea became blood; and the third part of the creatures which were in the sea and had life died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed ... and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, ad it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters ..." Revelation 8:7-10 (KJV)
The Book of Revelation talks about a third of everything on the planet being destroyed, and trust me -- the descriptions of hail mingled with blood and horsemen of the apocalypse make the New Scientist map look like a pretty picture to hang on the wall.
But the Book of Revelation has an important message that Dr Rees' presentation was lacking: WE WIN! IT'S ALREADY BEEN DECREED!
That's HOPE. Hopelessness is another sign of Satan's involvement.
If you read through to the end of the Book of Revelation*, you find that, for all the terror foretold about the end-times, God's people come through in victory. And when you consider that God has NEVER equivocated on this and that His Word has not failed us yet in any other area of life, if I were a betting man, I'd put my money on His promise.
It provides a WHOLE LOT MORE HOPE than the notion that the only way out is a "planned global recession".
The scientific findings Dr Rees presented -- and this is why I know God put me in that room for a reason -- support the prophecies in the Bible about the times preceding Jesus' return. What we need to do is give our collective head a shake and understand that our human efforts to reverse environmental destruction will be in vain if we leave God out of it. "Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it." For sixty years, we've tried and tried and tried to change things using our own intellect, and things keep getting worse. We need to stop the madness and find a new paradigm -- and that paradigm is the Word of God. Only then will we truly get serious -- not just about global warming, but about His plan.
*Note to the guy from Portland OR who pointed a finger at "Bush and the Bible-thumpers" for delaying action on global warming: if you'll read it, you'll thump it too!