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The Unseen Consequence of Climate Change
Somewhere in the world, environmental disasters are always wreaking destruction and taking lives. In 2019, we saw Hurricane Dorian, Cyclone Idai, the Midwest U.S. “bomb cyclone,” earthquakes in Indonesia, tornadoes in the United States, and other deadly disasters, with California wildfires, Italian floods, and Australian and South African droughts pushing on into the new year.
Despite these disasters being drastically different—even antithetical—and hitting disparate locations across the globe, they are believed to all trace back to a common cause.
The 2019 California wildfire season included more than 6,000 fires, burning an estimated 200,000 acres, killing three people, and damaging or destroying more than 700 structures. Some of the scorched areas were still recovering from wildfires in 2017 and 2018 that destroyed more than 32,000 buildings and killed 150 people. Energy companies cut electricity to 2.7 million Californians to prevent their lines and equipment from igniting new blazes in the dry, windy conditions. Thousands of evacuees struggled to find shelter.
“This is what climate change looks like,” New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, linking to footage of the fires. “The gop like to mock scientific warnings about climate change as exaggeration. But just look around: It’s already starting. We have 10 years to cut carbon emissions in half. If we don’t, scenes like this can get much worse” (Oct. 28, 2019).
Nearly 11,000 miles away, South Africa’s water taps are running dry. Low rainfall and poor infrastructure have left thousands of people without water in the Eastern Cape province. Five villages have been without running water since July. Livestock lie dead, crops are withered, and schools are closed. One hydrology expert claims that South Africa is suffering its worst drought in a thousand years.
“Southern Africa is feeling the effects of climate change,” reported Forbes. “The United Nations is reporting that prolonged droughts there and across the continent have led to food shortages, which will impact 45 million people. … In southern Africa, temperatures are rising at twice the global average” (Nov. 7, 2019). University of Cape Town climate scientist Peter Johnston wrote on theConversation.com that researchers foresee further increases in temperature caused by carbon emissions (Nov. 12, 2019).
About 8,800 miles north, people in Venice, Italy, would have gladly given South Africans water if they could. There, streets became raging rivers and centuries-old buildings flooded as waters rose to their highest point since 1966. Rising water levels are making floods there more common, threatening the tourist haven. “This is the result of climate change,” Mayor Luigi Brugnaro said on Twitter (Nov. 12, 2019).
Southeast 16,300 miles in Australia, average rainfall for the first nine months of 2019 was at its lowest since 1965, while average temperatures were the highest since record-keeping began in 1910. The severe water shortage is devastating farmland across Queensland and New South Wales and causing the worst drought in more than 400 years, some sources say. One of the largest dams in the Murray-Darling Basin, Australia’s main agricultural region, is barely 4 percent full. Water supply is about to run dry in many towns, and summer is coming. Some farmers are asking for aid to abandon their farms. Australia, once the world’s top wool producer and fourth-largest wheat exporter, has a sheep flock at a 100-year low and had to import wheat this year. Many of Australia’s prime breeding cows are being slaughtered due to lack of water and feed. Combined with high winds, the dry conditions have led to huge bushfires along the east coast, with 4,000 square miles (three times more than last season) having burned across New South Wales before summer even began. The smoke from these fires reached New Zealand, 2,547 miles away.
“Temperature, fuel load, dryness, wind speed and humidity all affect fire risk and are compounded by global heating,” the Guardian reported. “The link between rising greenhouse gas emissions and increased bushfire risk is complex but, according to major science agencies, clear. Climate change does not create bushfires but it can and does make them worse” (Nov. 10, 2019).
A Common Cause
Many emergencies, one cause. Even threats that seem wholly unrelated are also being traced back to this same cause. After a hunter recently ate a wild rabbit in Inner Mongolia, China suffered an outbreak of bubonic plague. State media said that rodent populations there mushroomed because of droughts, and the droughts intensified because of—you guessed it—climate change.
The list of global problems being blamed on this single cause is rapidly growing. They include, but are far from limited to: more floods, more droughts, more wildfires, more heatwaves, rising temperatures, dropping temperatures, increased tornadoes, stronger hurricanes, rising sea levels, shrinking arctic sea ice, higher ocean acidity, less drinking water, imperiled agriculture, expanding desertification, multiplying disease-carrying insects. Then, climate change is blamed for the resulting deprivation, malnutrition, starvation, economic inequality, civil unrest, population displacement and so on.
As the list of climate-change consequences grows, more and more people are rallying to the common cause of combating it. The most impressive demonstration came on Sept. 20, 2019, when millions of people across an estimated 185 countries linked up in marches to protest the problem. It was a dramatic climax of a growing outcry against what is increasingly viewed as the greatest threat facing humanity.
Drew Angerer “This is what climate change looks like.” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
To get scientists, educators, politicians, celebrities, pundits, professionals, students and even children, millions of people from nearly every country on Earth, to agree on something, it must be simple. And this is exceedingly simple: An entire panoply of catastrophe and chaos fits neatly into a single basket called climate change. Moreover, this is a problem with a clearly identifiable cause: carbon emissions. Thus, to solve all these troubles, humanity need do just one thing: generate less carbon.
All who disagree are viewed as ignorant, possibly evil, a threat to humanity. Every time another disaster strikes, it is held up as more proof that world leaders are not doing enough to force carbon reduction.
Thus activists grow more impatient, their warnings more extreme, their “solutions” more radical, and their voices more shrill. “People are suffering; people are dying; entire ecosystems are collapsing,” 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg told the United Nations in the days after those mass protests. “We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth.”
This idea has grown stunningly popular: Climatic shifts will bring mass extinction, and the only prevention is to reshape modern civilization. More specifically, saving the world from environmental annihilation requires the West to abandon free-market economics. One blunt headline by Guardian Unlimited captured the gist: “Ending Climate Change Requires the End of Capitalism. Have We Got the Stomach for It?”
On Nov. 5, 2019, the academic journal Bioscience published a declaration signed by 11,000 scientists stating “clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency” and “[a]n immense increase of scale in endeavors to conserve our biosphere is needed to avoid untold suffering due to the climate crisis.” Among their prescriptions: end fossil fuel drilling, reduce living standards for the rich, shrink national economies, and take meat off the menu.
The real pith, though, is population control. “[T]he world population must be stabilized—and, ideally, gradually reduced,” the scientists write. They tout “proven and effective policies that strengthen human rights while lowering fertility rates,” including government-supplied contraception and abortion.
Over the roar and clatter of such alarmism, truth can get drowned out. This leads to what truly is a terrible consequence of “climate change”—one with life-and-death effects.
Manipulating the Data
A report endorsed by 11,000 scientists sounds unimpeachable—virtual scientific unanimity. But several skeptics scoured the list of these “scientists” and found huge numbers with questionable credentials: students, “researchers,” professors or associate professors in fields that have nothing to do with climate, such as gynecology, ethnomusicology and food safety. Some had no credentials at all. One signatory was Mickey Mouse, professor at the Mickey Mouse Institute for the Blind.
These skeptics had good cause for their suspicion: This kind of fraud is routine in climate change science.
For example, the U.S. government’s Fourth National Climate Assessment in November 2018 included a series of charts showing trend lines that presumably prove climate change. But as actual scientist Tony Heller points out, the start date for each of the trends is different: The graphs show heat waves increasing since 1960, arctic sea ice declining since 1979, U.S. wildfires increasing since 1983, and sea levels rising since 1920. Why? Parameters for each chart were deliberately chosen to ensure the trend line told the “right” story. Heller notes, “When you want to mislead people with statistics, picking your start date is very important.” The National Climate Assessment chose dates that avoid the hotter temperatures prior to 1960, the decreased sea ice prior to 1979, and the far larger number of acres burned by wildfires prior to 1983. Meanwhile, statistics show that sea levels have been rising at a steady, slow rate of 2.84 millimeters per year since at least the mid-1800s, and were also rising for thousands of years before that.
There are certainly actual scientists with actual expertise in climatology who believe that human activity is creating apocalyptic conditions. But before we start dismantling civilization and purging the planet of people, it is worth remembering: Science’s track record on this issue is abysmal.
The notion that the only hope for this doomed planet is to eliminate humans is at least decades old. Fifty years ago, Stanford professor Paul Ehrlich suggested that, to prevent global cooling, the government might reduce the population by putting sterility drugs in the food and water supply. In 1971, John P. Holdren (who later became President Barack Obama’s science adviser) wrote an essay, “Overpopulation and the Potential for Ecocide,” warning of a coming ice age. Examples of such deranged and failed predictions are legion. (Read Brad Macdonald’s August 2019 commentary, “Environmentalists’ Attack on Family,” showing how the real motive behind the push to depopulate has nothing to do with concern for the Earth.)
It is important to be reminded of such facts, because they are being absolutely buried by noise. We’re told that teenagers like Greta Thunberg “get it” as they scold and scream at the world for supposed inaction regarding climate change. And what barbarian would dare question 11,000 scientists? The media is on board this train, and more and more leaders are clambering on, or being pushed there—and are making ruinous decisions accordingly. It has become the presumed consensus. But it still doesn’t make it true.
Every new disaster we suffer brings out climatologists speaking as though these curses would cease if only we would all become vegetarians, erect windmills, and stop flying airplanes. This is not only delusional, it is terribly dangerous.
Many people see the dishonesty and hypocrisy of climate alarmism. But even they do not see the real disaster in it: the fact that this error obscures the real lesson we must take from these curses!
The Real Lesson
The focus on climate change hides the real issue. If human carbon emissions aren’t causing floods in Venice and droughts in Australia, then what is?
To be sure, human activity does directly cause some nature-related problems. Burning fossil fuels does release pollutants like sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide into the environment (though the U.S. has cut sulfur dioxide emissions by 91 percent and nitrogen oxide emissions by 60 percent since 1970). This can create “acid rain” that, though far less than in the 1970s, still poisons streams, lakes and marshes. Soil degradation is another man-made environmental threat: Scientists estimate our soil has lost 25 to 75 percent of its organic content since the dawn of human agriculture—and mostly because of crop monocultures that sap nutrients. There is also the issue of people building homes in flood zones, coastlines and other high-risk areas, where the routine workings of nature become calamitous only because they disrupt human activity.
But there is yet another, far more germane factor to consider regarding the cause of disasters. It is spiritual.
The Creator of the Earth has power over the weather (e.g. Psalm 148; Nahum 1:3; Job 38:28). And He uses it to accomplish very specific purposes.
Notice the promises God makes in Leviticus 26:3-4: “If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.” Contrast this with verses 14, 19 and 20: “But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments …. I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass: And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits.”
These verses and other related passages make clear that obedience leads to rain in its season, causing the land to produce plenty. God is able to create favorable weather and other conditions for people who are faithful to Him. But at times He holds back rain and creates other environmental-related challenges to correct those who disobey His laws.
“He loads the thick cloud with moisture; the clouds scatter his lightning. They turn round and round by his guidance, to accomplish at that he commands them on the face of the habitable world. Whether for correction, or for his land, or for love, he causes it to happen” (Job 37:11-13; Revised Standard Version).
God bathes the Earth with gentle, life-giving rain to show His loving concern and mercy. But as human beings reject Him and hurt His creation and each other, He sends storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, droughts and other disasters for correction. He is trying to help people recognize that they are pursuing the cursed way of disobedience, the way of immorality, deceit, coveting, violence, hatred, lust, greed, idolatry, blasphemy, vanity, selfishness.
This great Creator promises, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
This is the plain truth of the Bible! Those who attribute these disasters to the supposed “sins” of emitting carbon, eating meat and having children—rather than the actual sins that God defines in His Word—are directly contradicting and defying God’s truth!
When you understand that “natural” disasters represent our Creator reaching out to us to try to correct us and guide us back into a relationship with Him, the real tragedy of “climate change” becomes clear. Rather than seeing God and accepting His correction, they are being moved to anger, stirred to protest and revolt and castigate their leaders. They are throwing their emotional support behind misguided leftist causes and being overtaken by passionate self-righteous indignation that is weakening and fraying society.
This entire trend is covered with the fingerprints of the father of liars, who hates human beings and was “a murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44), “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2)—Satan the devil. This evil dragon deceives the whole world (Revelation 12:9), and few issues demonstrate this heartbreaking reality as plainly as this issue of climate change.
Obviously most people dismiss and mock this view, but the Bible could not be more plain. With these verses in mind, the nonsensical and bizarre actions of individuals and nations begin to make sense. And even more, you begin to see how crises, like droughts in South Africa and Australia, fires in California and flooding in Europe, can actually be solved.
I urge you to read our free booklet Why ‘Natural’ Disasters?—especially Chapter 3: “The Deadly Climate Change Deception.” Amid all the cacophony and hullabaloo on this subject, here is some truth— absolute truth based on the Bible. It gives the real solution. It is not suppressing fertility or financing abortions. It involves getting ourselves right with the Creator God, who yearns to bless us.