Cornwall Alliance Climate Scientists Challenge Evangelical Climate Alarmists to Debate
“As evangelicals, we need to get serious about protecting the poor from the harms of climate alarmism.”—David Legates and Roy Spencer
After evangelical climate scientists Katharine Hayhoe and Thomas Ackerman wrote in The Christian Post August 31 that “climate change is real, that most of it is human-caused, and that it is a threat to future generations that must be addressed by the global community,” two other evangelical climate scientists—Cornwall Alliance Senior Fellows Dr. David Legates and Dr. Roy W. Spencer—replied in The Christian Post September 10 with evidence that while climate change is real, most of it is not human-caused, and it is not a threat to future generations that must be addressed by the global community.
“While Hayhoe and Ackerman insist that their belief in dangerous manmade climate change is a matter not of faith but of sight—of scientific evidence—we are convinced that it is precisely the opposite,” Legates and Spencer wrote. “Why? Because the observational (scientific) evidence conflicts with it.”
“As illustrated in the two graphs below,” they continued, “the average (mean) carbon dioxide-driven warming predicted for 1979–2013 by the computer climate models on which Hayhoe and Ackerman depend for their alarms runs about three-and-a-half times the actual observed warming. Even the few model predictions closest to reality run at least 60% higher than observations. And as the second graph shows, contrary to the models’ predictions, there has been no significant warming for about the last 17 years.”
The “divergence between real-world observations and predictions means that the models vastly exaggerate CO2’s warming effect,” Legates and Spencer wrote. “Consequently, estimates of harms from CO2-induced warming, and of benefits from reducing CO2 emissions, too, are vastly exaggerated.”
Legates, whose Ph.D. is in climatology, is Professor of Geography/Climatology at the University of Delaware.
Spencer, whose Ph.D. is in meteorology, is Principal Research Scientist in Atmospheric Science in the National Space Science and Technology Center at the University of Alabama, Huntsville, U.S. Science Team Leader for the Advanced Microwave Radiometer flying on NASA’s Aqua satellite—source of global atmospheric temperature data since 1979—and an award-winning former Senior Scientist for Climate Studies at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.
“Hayhoe and Ackerman—like other climate alarmists—urge us to try to reduce future warming by reducing our use of fossil fuels,” they added. “That is doubly mistaken.” Legates and Spencer then explained why, and posed their challenge:
First, it would have next to no impact on future temperatures. As evangelical climate scientist Dr. John R. Christy calculates, even if the U.S. achieved a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050, the net impact would be a reduction in global average temperature of a practically undetectable and inconsequential 7 hundredths of 1 degree Celsius.
Second, the only way to reduce CO2 emissions is to make drastic cuts in use of fossil fuels for energy. But abundant, affordable, reliable energy is crucial to economic development, and, aside from nuclear, fossil fuels are, especially in the developing world, our best source for that. Switching from them to “renewables” like wind, solar, and biomass would mean drastically raising energy costs (and so the cost of everything else)—hurting everybody, but the poor worst of all.
As evangelicals, we need to get serious about protecting the poor from the harms of climate alarmism.
Hayhoe and Ackerman say they want “informed and sustained conversations.”
We agree. Therefore we challenge them, or other evangelicals of their choice, to a formal public debate—with a scientist, an economist, and a theologian on each side—at an evangelical college of their choice. Up for debate would be the magnitude, causes, and consequences of recent and foreseeable global warming and whether fighting it by reducing CO2 emissions would cause more good than harm to the poor.
E. Calvin Beisner, Ph.D., Founder and National Spokesman
Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation