Religion

Meteorologist Tells Christians: Climate Change Is Real

| by Michael Allen

Paul Douglas, a popular meteorologist in St. Paul, Minneapolis and evangelical Christian, is trying to convince other evangelical Christians that climate change is real.

Douglas and Rev. Mitch Hescox, president of the Evangelical Environmental Network, released a book on Oct. 4, "Caring for Creation: An Evangelical’s Guide to Climate Change and a Healthy Environment," that they hope will help change the mind of evangelicals who consider global warming to be a hoax, according to the Star Tribune.

"I figured if people didn’t want to hear from scientists, maybe they’d listen to a minister and a meteorologist," Douglas told the Star Tribune, which he writes a weather column for.

Though meteorology is a form of science, Douglas is aware that many evangelicals have a distrust of science, which he tries to get them to accept in his book:

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The book also attempts to win over evangelicals with buzzwords such as "personal responsibility" and "pro-life." Wind and solar energy is described as "cheaper, clean, homegrown American energy," which can lead to "energy freedom."

"The goal was to frame this in a way that resonates with people’s spiritual lives," Douglas told the newspaper. "To tell people they can have faith in God and follow the Ten Commandments, but that God also gave us tools to improve our lives, our society."

The Washington Post reported in 2015 about a study that found evangelical Christians were among the strongest skeptics of climate change science.

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David Konisky of Georgetown University and Matthew Arbuckle of the University of Cincinnati studied the "religiosity" of Catholics, Protestants and Jews, and how their faith affected their environmental views.

Konisky and Arbuckle wrote in their study, "Individuals that affiliate with an Evangelical Protestant church, all else equal, are less likely than both Mainline and Protestant churches to be worried about climate change."

The study also found that Christians who believe the Bible is the literal word of God "are less likely to express high degrees of concern about the environment."

Right Wing Watch noted in 2011 that the Cornwall Alliance, a Christian organization, has encouraged evangelical leaders to deny man-made climate change.

The Cornwall Alliance co-sponsored a climate change denial conference in 2009 with the Heartland Institute, an organization funded by Exxon Mobil, the Koch brothers and other right wing foundations.

Calvin Beisner, a conservative Christian who heads the Cornwall Alliance, is reportedly on the board of Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, which is funded by ExxonMobil, Chevron and the Scaife family (a wealthy oil family).

Beisner is reportedly an "adjunct fellow” of the Acton Institute, an organization funded by ExxonMobil, the Koch brothers and the Scaife family, and an adviser to the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, another group funded by ExxonMobil and the Koch brothers.

Oil and energy companies have traditionally been strong climate change deniers because they oppose carbon taxes and regulations to reduce pollution.

Sources: Star TribuneThe Washington Post, Right Wing Watch / Photo Credit: Cary Rothschild via Star Tribune

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