Friday, February 2, 2007

Baby, it's Cold Outside

At least today, in Colorado Springs, where at 9 a.m. it's a brisk 2 degrees below zero. Ironically, the headline in the Colorado Springs Gazette was, "Warming 'very likely' man-made." That's right, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of hundreds of climatologists and other scientists representing 113 governments, issued a twenty-page report today representing the most authoritative science on global warming and based on years of peer-reviewed research. The "very likely" wording "translates to a more than 90 percent certainty that global warming is caused by man's burning of fossil fuels." (AP release)
The panel also said its best estimate was for temperature rises of 3.2 to 7.1 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of this century, accompanied by sea level increases of 7 to 23 inches over the same time period. Some scientists felt this estimate was too cautious, and that due to polar ice melt, the sea levels could increase four to eight inches more.

In addition, the scientists predict that the temperatures and sea levels would increase for centuries, no matter how much we try to control pollution. Nevertheless, scientists urge we do what we can to reduce emissions, as well as adapt to a warmer world with wilder weather. This poses all kinds of challenges to Christians, who should have an understanding of themselves as stewards of God's creation. Here are a few I can think of. Perhaps you can think of others you might like to add.

1. How can we (as a nation, as a species) begin to develop a longer perspective with regard to economic development and our use of natural resources, so that we begin to factor in the consequences of our actions on the lives of our grandchildren and great-grandchildren?
2. How might I personally respond to this issue in terms of my lifestyle? Is this a call to a simpler lifestyle? Do my actions matter, even?
3. Will American culture, which emphasizes consumption, convenience and comfort, need to change? How? What changes in mindset might be required?
4. How might we as people of faith respond from that faith to this issue?

Feel free to add your own questions or make suggestions, please.