A climate scientist talks—respectfully—to climate-change skeptics

One of the most important things I’ve learned is that most people don’t really have a problem with the science or even the theology of climate change.

I know that there are lots of scientific sounding objections: “it’s just a natural cycle,” or “scientists don’t know enough yet,” or “those models are always wrong.” I hear these every day. And I also hear the religious objections: “if God is in control, then nothing bad can happen,” or “God gave us dominion over the earth, so we can do whatever we want,” or, “the earth is going to end anyway, so why does it matter?”

But if we talk about these concerns for more than a few minutes, the conversation quickly moves past the science and even the theology. People’s real objections are based on the fact that they believe the solutions to climate change conflict with their ideology and even identity. They’ve been told that climate change solutions will ruin the economy; that the issue is being pushed by godless liberal atheists, and Christians can’t go along with them; that the concern is a tool of the Democrats to expand big government and control people’s lives. And who wants any of that? I don’t.

Here’s the thing: those worries are not accurate. There are all kinds of solutions that energize local economies, build jobs, free people to develop their own energy sources, and—most importantly—fulfill our call to exercise responsible dominion over the planet and love others as Christ loved us. So my message is: we do not have to change who we are to care about this issue. Who we are is already the perfect person to care about this. We just need to connect the dots between the things that we already care about, how they are affected by a changing climate, and what we can do about it that is consistent with who we are.

Read the rest of my interview with Christian Century, here.