Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Looking After Creation - Christianity Today Magazine

Looking After Creation - Christianity Today Magazine:
Acclaimed physicist Sir John Houghton discusses his motives and passion for a cooler world climate.
Interview by David Neff | posted 04/05/2006 10:00 a.m.

"Mark twain may or may not have said, "Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it." Sir John Houghton is trying to do something about it. As a result, the Science and Technology Foundation of Japan has awarded him the prestigious Japan Prize for 2006.

The 74-year-old physicist is recently retired from a long career in researching the physics of climate and weather. During that time, he has been a physics professor at Oxford University, the chief executive of the U.K.'s Meteorological ("Met") Office, and chair of the scientific assessment for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

He began to work on the effects of carbon dioxide emissions purely as an interesting physics problem. Eventually, he came to see it as his Christian duty to study the potential results of significant climate change. He has played a key role in gathering international groups of scientists, government representatives, and businesspeople to study the signs of global warming and to advocate for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in order to avert the worst effects of climate change...."
Here is an interview well worth reading in its entirety. I was especially impressed with Houghton's views on how this is an economic issue for the poor, since they tend to live in poorer countries that lack the infrastructure for dealing with weather disasters.

He sees care for the environment tightly linked to caring for the poor and disadvantaged.

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Michael W. Kruse said...

Thanks for the link to this article! Very informative.

As to the issue of helping the poor, it is also true that economic development is the most important aspect in lifting people out of poverty. The Kyoto Accords threaten the global economy which will also disproportinately hurt the poor.

I haven't seen anyone seriously in the debate in recent years who doubts that global warming is happening. The question is how much is human activity. I am not questioning his motives but Houghton does overstate the degree of agreement on how much is human caused. (The IPCC is constantly changing models to account for new variables.) Still, most of his suggestions are good ones whether global warming is human caused or not. I am still deeply suspicious of what kind of problem we are really dealing with.

Denis Hancock said...

This is one of those issues where ideology rears its head (on both sides). Personally, if I am going to err, I would prefer it be on the side of fewer "greenhouse emissions", cleaner water, and preserving old-growth forests.

It's not putting the environment above people, or even God; it's appropriate stewardship of what we have in our care.

Michael W. Kruse said...

Well said!