Climate Change Letter Misleads, Misrepresents Evangelicals

E. Calvin Beisner, Ph.D.,is the founder and national spokesman for The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation.
E. Calvin Beisner, Ph.D.,is the founder and national spokesman for The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation.

Ola Carpenter operates the Ms Ola School of Barbering and Community Development, a non-profit organization in Hattiesburg, MS. She has been a barbering instructor at Pearl River Community College there, from which, after having worked for 20 years at Big Yank clothing factory, she and her son and daughter all graduated in 1994. She knows the value of vocational education and hard work.

Last month she joined "more than 170 Evangelical Christian leaders" in signing a letter, orchestrated by the Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN), to President Barack Obama supporting his "Clean Power Plan" (CPP).

The letter commends the President for his "leadership on climate change," saying, "We see overcoming the climate challenge as one of the great moral opportunities of our time, a chance to fulfill the Great Commandments to love God, our neighbors, and ourselves."

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The letter calls the CPP "an essential step, the most important one we will have made to date in overcoming climate change."

A minister the Church of God in Christ (a predominantly African-American Pentecostal denomination) in Hattiesburg, Ms. Carpenter must have warmed to such sentiments.

But sometimes the devil's in the details — details she and many other signers probably didn't know.

The letter doesn't mention what U.S. News & World Report called "The Clean Power Plan's Dirty Secret": The estimated climate effect of implementing the CPP, even according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) itself, is 0.018˚ C (that's 32 thousandths of a degree F) reduction in global warming by the end of this century.

The cost? According to the economic forecasting firm NERA, between $41 billion and $73 billion per year, and, according to the Heritage Foundation's economic analysis, an "average annual employment shortfall of nearly 300,000 jobs."

It also doesn't mention that compliance with the CPP will force energy prices, especially for electricity, higher, hitting poor and low-income Americans hardest.

Did EEN reveal to her or the many other African American signers of the letter that federal EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said, "We know that low-income minority communities would be hardest hit" by the energy price hikes the CPP will cause?

Or, as National Black Chamber of Commerce Founder and CEO Harry C. Alford wrote in Investors Business Daily, that the CPP "will lead to lost jobs, lower incomes and higher poverty rates for the 128 million blacks and Hispanics living in America"?

The letter certainly doesn't mention that:

  • the computer climate models on which fears of dangerous global warming are based simulate, on average, twice the warming observed;
  • over 95% of those models simulate more warming than observed, indicating that the errors are not random but driven by bias;
  • none of them simulated the complete absence of statistically significant global warming over the past 18 years and 7 months; and
  • these three facts imply that the models are invalidated and therefore provide no rational basis for any predictions about global temperature or any policies in response to them.

Would Ms. Carpenter or any of the rest of the signers have signed had they known these facts?

And who did endorse EEN's letter in addition to Ms. Carpenter?

While Andre Mitchell in Christian Today calls them "conservative faith leaders," the two most prominent ones she names are theological/cultural/ethical liberals Brian McLaren (emergent church leader) and David Gushee (who recently endorsed same-sex "marriage"). At least three of the 43 pastors who signed (Chuck Redfern, Leroy Barber, and Richard Kohng) are affiliated with the far-Left Sojourners, led by socialist Jim Wallis and funded by billionaire globalist George Soros.

Another prominent pastor whom Mitchell doesn't name is megachurch pastor Joel Hunter, of Northland Church, Lakeland, FL, who has been campaigning in favor of climate alarmism for nearly a decade.

A careful count of signers (listed here), several of whom were inadvertently listed twice, yields only 166, not "over 170" (Curiously, neither McLaren nor Gushee is listed.), and few hold positions that one would naturally describe as "Evangelical leaders."

Ten signers are members of Young Evangelicals for Climate Action, an EEN subsidiary. Twenty-five, about whom nothing else is revealed, are identified as "Creation Care Champions," people who have signed up to participate in EEN-generated phone calls and events. Twenty-eight have EEN connections explicitly revealed in the signer list.

What are the signers' areas of expertise?

One would think some would be climate scientists — meteorologists, climatologists, atmospheric physicists, atmospheric chemists, and the like. Of the 166 listed, only one is a climate scientist of any sort — Paul Douglas, a broadcast meteorologist with a B.S. in meteorology, President of Aeris Weather, Excelsior, MN.

Of the other 40 who can be identified as having some expertise in the natural sciences, 25 are biologists, not climate scientists. The specialties of the remaining 14 aren't listed.

Because the CPP has such enormous economic implications, one would also expect to find some economists — especially specialists in environmental, developmental, or energy economics — among the signers. The list identifies none.

By comparison, the initial 142 signers of An Open Letter to Pope Francis on Climate Change, which refutes the climate alarmism underlying the CPP and EEN's letter and was released in April by the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, included:

  • over 20 climate scientists, including Weather Channel co-founders John Coleman and Joe D'Aleo, former National Hurricane Center Director Dr. Neil Frank, University of Alabama Principal Research Scientist and NASA award-winning climatologist Dr. Roy W. Spencer (U.S. Science Team Leader on NASA's Aqua Satellite Remote Sensing program, the source of global satellite temperature data), and one who is also a pastor, Rev. Charles A. Clough;
  • over 10 economists, including Thomas A. Hemphill and Mark J. Perry, both professors at the University of Michigan; Shawn Ritenour, Professor of Economics, Grove City College; Timothy Terrell, Associate Professor of Economics at Wofford College (whose Ph.D. is in environmental regulatory economics); and G. Cornelis van Kooten, Professor of Economics and Canada Research Chair in Environmental Studies and Climate, University of Victoria, BC, Canada;
  • plus other scientists, pastors, theologians, and other scholars, who have since been joined by over 430 others.

In the final analysis, EEN's letter does not broadly represent Evangelicals at large, conservative or otherwise, and certainly not Evangelicals who are well informed about climate science and energy economics.

E. Calvin Beisner, Ph.D., Founder and National Spokesman of The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation and a former professor of theology, ethics, and interdisciplinary studies at Covenant College and Knox Theological Seminary, is the author of Where Garden Meets Wilderness: Evangelical Entry into the Environmental Debate and Prospects for Growth: A Biblical View of Population, Resources, and the Future

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