Italicized words are mine; others are of the SBC. Statements led by ****** are the most critical.
WHEREAS, God is not a distant bystander with respect to human affairs, but judges all people and holds them accountable for their thoughts and actions (Psalm 24:1; Isaiah 45:5-8; Hebrews 4:12-13); and
WHEREAS, Christians are called by God to exercise caring stewardship and dominion over the earth and environment (Genesis 1:28; Psalm 8); and
WHEREAS, We share God’s concern that the poor should not be abused, taken advantage of, nor overburdened (Psalm 140:12; Proverbs 14:31; 29:7; Isaiah 25:4; Ezekiel 22:29, 31; Matthew 25:40; John 14:15); and
WHEREAS, The record shows that global temperature has risen and fallen cyclically throughout geologic history, with some periods warmer and others cooler than the present; and
WHEREAS, The global temperature has generally risen since 1850 as it recovers from the “Little Ice Age” (1550-1850 A.D.); and
The occurrence of the “Little Ice Age” has been linked to changes in total solar irradiation (TSI) (Eddy 1976). TSI has not risen since 1950 (Delaygue and Bard 2010) while global temperature has (Mann 2008, fig. 3) (below). TSI is expected to decrease in the coming decades (Herrara et al 2015).
WHEREAS, The ten warmest years since 1850 have occurred in the last fifteen years; and
2016 was the warmest year on record by a significant margin; 2017-2019 follow. (NOAA climate webpage 2019)
WHEREAS, The scientific community is divided regarding the extent to which humans are responsible for recent global warming; and
WHEREAS, Many scientists reject the idea of catastrophic human-induced global warming; and
WHEREAS, Sixty international experts in climate and related sciences signed an open letter on April 6, 2006, to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper stating that scientific evidence does not support the computer models of catastrophic human-induced global warming; and
This letter (link in references) does not contain any references to peer-reviewed literature and its claim that “the human impact still remains impossible to distinguish from this natural “noise”” was unfounded at the time (Oreskes 2004) and still is (see next section).
The climate models are structured by the Navier-Stokes equations for the motion of a compressible or incompressible fluid for the atmosphere or ocean, respectively. These equations are directly derived from Newton’s laws of motion combined with a very reliable empirical relationship between the force exerted on the fluid and its opposing viscous force. Subsequently, the Naiver-Stokes equations are combined with the three laws of thermodynamics, applied to the chemical and physical properties of the atmosphere and ocean, and forced by the sun and greenhouse gas emissions in order to simulate the entire climate. Modern models also include biogeochemical cycles. (Carbonbrief.org)
For time periods of 0-15 years, the models can have poor accuracy since random (technically “chaotic”) ocean cycles, dust from volcano eruptions, and human aerosol emissions result in variability that is nearly impossible to predict (Schmidt et. al, 2014). For longer periods, since the Earth cannot absorb all the extra energy, it becomes averaged out through global temperature, rendering the basic model structure a reliable predictor.
******For surface temperatures, the peer-reviewed climate models have high accuracy in hindcasting the climate back to 1950 (International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 5th Assessment Report, 2014 (AR5) Climate Model Assessment) and are therefore expected to provide accurate predictions for time periods of 50-100 years into the future (the IPCC reports are entirely based upon peer-reviewed literature and authors are selected in such a way as to represent a wide range of socio-economic views (IPCC author selection 2014)). Accuracy tests of the previous five IPCC forecasts yield error ranging from -28% (AR2, 1992) to +17% (AR1, 1990). When combining the land and ocean surface, AR5’s predictions have, thus far, overestimated the temperature rise by 9% (Carbonbrief Models). The results for AR5 are also verified by Cowtan et al. (2015).
Lower tropospheric temperatures, over the period since 1979 when the observational satellites were launched, have been found to be modeled about 50% too high by the IPCC AR5 (Christy and Mcnider 2017, fig. 2). However, sea level rise predictions, which are mainly caused by thermal expansion from warming waters, have been under predicted by approximately the same amount (Rahmstorf et al. 2007). This could mean that, although some drought and precipitation predictions may be somewhat extreme, sea level rise and coral reef death predictions may be too mild.
There is uncertainty in the models of about 2 degrees C per 100 years (IPCC AR5, 4th fig. on this document). Since the climate system mainly consists of positive feedbacks, most climate models underestimate the observed warming (Roe 2007).
The term “catastrophic” is arbitrary. The predictions of the models based on 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming are given by Figure 2.0 of (IPCC 2018 figures, link in references). Likelihood of higher temperatures, some areas facing more droughts, and extreme precipitation events, which is greater than 66% in all these cases, is given by IPCC AR5 SFP, pg. 7. Total costs of adaptation to unregulated climate change per year starting in 2030 (Orange) and 2050 (Blue) for developing countries are estimated by the World Bank and UNFCC (figure 17-5 from IPCC AR5, below). The time-delay of the climate feedbacks result in 10-20 years of some inevitable change even if emissions are brought to zero.
******One area of particularly high certainty and high risk is coral reefs. Warming of 2.0 degrees would cause >99% of coral reefs to die (without recovery) by 2100 (very high confidence), but limiting the warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels would still cause 70-90% mortality (high confidence) (IPCC 2018). Coral bleaching events, which have been increasing in frequency, are expected to soon outpace reefs’ regrowth rates (Kleypas 2019). About 6 million people depend on coral reefs for food (Teh at. al 2013), and the global value of coral reefs is estimated to be $28.9B/year (Cesar et. al 2003). The current estimate of mortality for 1.5 degrees was the estimate for 2.5 degrees in 2014 (IPCC corals).
WHEREAS, The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), while remaining politically active in warning of catastrophic human-induced global warming, has recently altered many of its previous statements, reducing its projections of the magnitude of global warming and its impacts on the world; and
These have been reversed again recently so that the predicted impacts are greater. (IPCC 2018)
WHEREAS, Many scientists argue that natural causes such as El Niño, alterations in solar energy, solar wind output, cycles of cosmic ray influx, precipitation microphysics, and changes in cloud forcing—along with human-land-use conversion for cities and agricultural use and deforestation—are much more significant in climate change than CO2 emissions; and
(1)****** Two peer-reviewed surveys (Doran and Zimmerman 2009, Anderegg et al 2010) and one peer-reviewed comprehensive literature review (Cook et. al., 2013) show that 97-98% of publishing climate scientists believe that global warming since 1950 was mostly caused by humans. Using 14 other reputable surveys of either scientists or peer-reviewed publications over the past 2 decades, Cook et. al., (2016) show that this consensus has strengthened over time and is also strengthened as the surveyed population’s climate expertise increases. The papers corresponding to the dissenting 2-3 percent have been shown to have significant flaws (Benestad et al, 2016).
As far as the degree of influence, IPCC AR5 (2014, fig. 1.9) (below) gives the median estimate for the degree of natural influence as 0% and shows that the probability of natural forcings causing more than 10-15% of the observed change is very small.
Additionally, 9 studies comparing natural and anthropogenic contributions to global warming since 1950 (Tett et al. 2000, Meehl et al. 2004, Stone et al. 2007, Lean and Rind 2008 (considers El Nino specifically), Huber and Knutti 2011, Gillett et al. 2012, Wigley and Santer 2012, Jones et al. 2013. and Ribes et al. 2016) suggest that the natural contribution is at most 10%.
As far as the listed possible natural causes,
Haustein et. al (2019) use a model that shows accurate hindcast since 1850 to show that external forcing, as opposed to multidecadal ocean variability which includes the effects of El Nino, explains 97-98% of global warming since 1850 (fig. 5c).
Cycles of cosmic ray influx would cause the planet to cool down (Lockwood 2007) if they did have an effect, but they do not (Benestad 2013).
Solar wind has been shown to have a marginal effect on cloud formation (Lam et. al. 2014). However, since solar wind correlates with solar activity in general (Tokumaru et. al. 2010), and solar activity has not increased since 1950 (Delaygue and Bard 2010), it is unlikely that solar wind has caused or will cause global warming occurring within the time frame including the past 70 years and the coming century.
Precipitation microphysics and changes in cloud forcing have been the largest source of uncertainty within climate model (IPCC AR5: model assessment). However, a recent review shows that the feedback is likely positive (Zelinka et. al., 2017). This means these effects would make global warming worse as greenhouse gases are emitted.
Land use change causes changes in the surface albedo which have a negligibly small cooling effect. (Ghimire et al 2014). Deforestation causes many effects such as an increase in CO2, a decrease in evapotranspiration, and an increase in albedo (Mahli 2008).
WHEREAS, Certain areas of the world, where some say warming is most pronounced, were actually much warmer than they are today, like Greenland, which was extensively farmed by the Vikings from around 1000 to 1300 A.D., before colder temperatures made farming virtually impossible for them; and
WHEREAS, Measures to curb global warming, such as those contained in the United Nations-sponsored Kyoto Protocol, are estimated to only reduce the likely rise in the average global temperature by 10 percent or less, from an increase of 2.0o C to 1.9o C by 2100, for example; and
From IPCC AR5:
WHEREAS, Some estimate that compliance with Kyoto would cost the global economy from about $200 billion to $1 trillion each year without a policy that would allow for global carbon emissions trading and $75 billion each year even with a worldwide trading scheme; and
(2)******A survey of 365 of the world’s best economists who have published articles about climate change (Howard and Sylvan 2015) yielded a median estimate for the social cost of carbon (SCC) to be $125 per metric ton for 2020 (their fig. 15). Ninety-three percent (3% opposed) of respondents indicated that the US Government should commit to reducing greenhouse gases (fig. 9). A statement on carbon dividends supporting a carbon tax, signed by 27 Nobel laureates including libertarian Republicans Greenspan and Bernanke, provides further evidence of consensus (Carbon Statement 2019). The DICE (Dynamic Integrated model of Climate and the Economy) model, which earned William Nordhaus a Nobel prize in 2018 (nobelprize.org), and is also praised by Dr. Hassett, President Trump’s former lead economic advisor (cfr.org), shows the SCC to be about $37 for 2020 (Nordhaus 2017, table 1). The worsening of Climate projections (IPCC 2018) suggest that a higher value of $90, which yields a gas tax of about $1 per gallon, could be prudent. This carbon tax would account for the difference between long term costs and benefits, solving the negative externality of global warming. However, it should be noted that 13% of economists support zero-carbon incentives in place of a carbon tax (Howard and Sylvan 2015, fig. 7).
These estimates by Dr. Nordhaus were given before the scientific reports giving the grave danger to coral reefs. He has said: “We’d have to be very pessimistic about the economy or optimistic about technology for 2 degrees. If we start moving very swiftly in the next 20 years, we might able to avoid 2 degrees” (NY Times). This could save 10-20% of coral reefs. He believes keeping temperatures at 1.5 degrees to be impossible.
Additionally, in the most recent environmental address by President Trump (whitehouse.gov), he implied that cutting carbon emissions was good and also supported solar and nuclear energy. The Green New Deal, in its current form, significantly differs from the average recommendation of economists and scientists.
WHEREAS, Large developing countries such as China, India, and Brazil are currently exempt from Kyoto; and
China, Brazil, and India ratified the Paris Agreement in 2016, agreeing to limit their emissions in accordance with their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). They have not withdrawn, and their policies put them on track to meet or exceed their goals for 2030 (UN Emissions gap report, 2018, pg. 7)
WHEREAS, Exempting emerging economies like China, India, and Brazil from CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions reductions would significantly undermine the minute effect on average global temperature gained through reductions by developed nations; and
******In general, if the collective action of a group of people results in negative consequences, then each individual within that group is responsible for their respective contribution. Citizens should be held responsible for their share of damaging global warming by governing bodies. The aforementioned carbon tax reflects this. Also relevant are Jesus’ words: “First take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matt. 7:5, NIV).
WHEREAS, Forcing developing countries to comply with Kyoto will significantly inhibit their economic development and the development of the international economy; and
Global warming is most detrimental to developing countries (IPCC AR5 SFP pg. 15)
In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that, between 2030 and 2050, global warming will cause 250,000 deaths per year (WHO 2018), mainly within these countries. Fortunately, current technology allows us to greatly decrease global warming without causing undue suffering to the present-day developing world. For example, it has been shown that building a solar power plant is often cheaper than keeping an existing coal plant running (Kowalski 2019).
WHEREAS, Proposed carbon offset programs will have little impact on reducing rising temperatures if human activity is not a significant cause of recent global warming; and
WHEREAS, Some are proposing that a maximum acceptable global temperature increase should serve as the guideline for determining reductions in CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions; and
WHEREAS, Businesses and municipalities will likely pass along the cost of emissions reduction programs to consumers, driving up the cost of goods and services; and
WHEREAS, Poor people and underdeveloped regions of the world will be impacted the most severely by higher costs; and
WHEREAS, The poor and most vulnerable people around the world are faced with many more quantifiable, immediate, devastating problems; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in San Antonio, Texas, June 12-13, 2007, urge Southern Baptists to proceed cautiously in the human-induced global warming debate in light of conflicting scientific research; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we consider proposals to regulate CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions based on a maximum acceptable global temperature goal to be very dangerous, since attempts to meet the goal could lead to a succession of mandates of deeper cuts in emissions, which may have no appreciable effect if humans are not the principal cause of global warming, and could lead to major economic hardships on a worldwide scale; and be it further
Possibly. That is why a tax would be better. Perhaps poor people could be exempt from the tax.
RESOLVED, That we urge Congress and the president to only support cost-effective measures to reduce CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions and to reject government-mandated reductions in greenhouse gas emissions; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we urge governments to begin to take steps to help protect vulnerable communities and regions from the effects of the inevitable continued cycles of warming and cooling that have occurred throughout geologic history; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we strongly request that all public policy decision makers ensure an appropriate balance between care for the environment, effects on economies, and impacts on the poor when considering programs to reduce CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we support the development of environmental public policy that will improve the stewardship of the earth’s resources without resulting in significant negative consequences not only on the United States and other developed economies, but also, and most importantly, on the poor and on developing economies; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we support public policy that helps provide immediate assistance to the poor and most vulnerable people around the world, including access to clean drinking water and electricity, AIDS care and prevention, vaccinations, malaria eradication, and education programs; and be it finally
RESOLVED, That we continually reaffirm our God-given responsibility to care for the earth by remaining environmentally conscious and taking individual and collective efforts to reduce pollution, decrease waste, and improve the environment in tangible and effective ways.
Anderegg et al 2010:
Benestad et al, 2016:
Carbon Statement 2019:
Cesar et al. 2003:
Christy and Mcnider 2017:
Cook et al 2013
Cook et al 2016:
Cook is also a Christian
Cowtan et al. 2015
Delaygue and Bard 2010
Ghimire et al 2014:
Haustein et. al. 2019:
Herrara et al 2015:
Howard and Sylvan 2015:
IPCC AR5: figure 1.9:
IPCC Author Selection:
IPCC 2018: figures
IPCC AR5 assessment of climate models:
IPCC AR5 SFP (reference bottom of pg. 15):
found in IPCC 2018, chapter 5 references
Lam et. al, 2014
Mahli et. al., 2008:
Open letter to Candadian prime minister:
Rahmstorf et al. 2007:
Schmidt et. al, 2014:
SBC resolution (2007)
Teh at al. 2013:
Tokumaru et. al. 2010:
UN emissions gap report