One of my motivations for writing my latest book, Weathering Climate Change, came from the repeated questions I heard at my outreach events and saw on my social media pages. One such question has been, If climate change is real, will immediate draconian economic sacrifices be needed to stop it?
It took a whole book to answer this question (and related ones) to a point where most inquirers could be equipped and confident. What I offer here is a brief glimpse into the topic.
Is Climate Change Real?
I purposely delayed writing Weathering Climate Change until reliable temperature records became available for the past 100,000 years. Those records led to my composing three dramatic
looking figures on pages 58, 59, and 151. These figures reveal that Earth’s norm is extreme climate instability where the global mean temperature changes by 11°C (20°F) on time scales of only a few centuries.
Such climate instability explains why humans living previous to 10,000 years ago were unable to launch and sustain global civilization. Then, beginning 9,500 years ago (for reasons that I explain in 12 chapters of the book), Earth
entered a period of extreme climate stability where the global mean temperature remained continually constant to within an astounding ±0.65°C, only to be interrupted by a 1°C increase during the past 70 years.
Extreme climate stability up to the middle of the twentieth century is real and compelling. Without it, our civilization, population, and technology would be impossible. I explain that this remarkable stability ranks arguably as the most
outstanding example of design for the benefit and purpose of humanity. It is a supernatural gift from God.
The 1°C increase over the past 70 years shows that climate change is real. If this trend continues, it will rapidly bring on the next ice age. I resolve the enigma of the ice age cycle, explaining why global warming always brings on
severe, catastrophic global cooling.
Must Economic Sacrifices Be Imposed?
Are the climate change alarmists right that immediate economic sacrifices and penalties must be implemented to stop global warming? Will governments require compliance?
I devote several chapters in the book showing how we can slow down, even turn back, global warming and stabilize the climate like it was for the nine millennia before 1950. At the same time, we can boost the world economy not
just for the wealthy but especially for the poorest people of the world. These chapters are based on the biblical command that humans have been assigned to manage Earth’s resources for our benefit and the benefit of
the rest of Earth’s life. We have a climate crisis because we have not sought the win-win solutions God has provided.
My book contains 16 specific proposals that would simultaneously help restore climate stability, boost the world economy, and create healthier and more beautiful ecosystems. Here is an outline of one such proposal.
A Win-Win Proposal: Selective Lumbering
The Amazon jungle accounts for over half of Earth’s rain forests (encompassing parts of nine nations) and is a major contributor to removing greenhouse gases from Earth’s
atmosphere and, thus, mitigating global warming. However, during the past 50 years, 20 percent of the Amazon jungle has been converted to pastureland. During the past 2 years, in their rush to make money from raising cattle, people
in the Amazon have been burning down huge tracts of the jungle. These people are apparently unaware that Amazon soil is too nutrient-poor to sustain pastureland for more than several years. They may not realize that continued deforestation
will inevitably drop rainfall to a point where the Amazon jungle, the diverse ecosystem it supports, and the Amazon pasturelands will be wiped out. Many scientists, politicians, and activists are aware and have been pressuring
world governments to send police forces into the Amazon to put a permanent stop to all deforestation and lumbering activities.
What I propose in Weathering Climate Change is that rather than sending enforcement agents into the Amazon, it would benefit everyone to show inhabitants how they could greatly expand the jungle’s capacity to remove greenhouse
gases from the atmosphere while they generate an income that would exceed what they could earn from cattle ranching.
Outlawing all commercial exploitation of the Amazon jungle is bad for the global climate, bad for the Amazon ecosystem, and bad for the Amazon economy. The reason why is that old trees do not grow as fast as young and middle-aged trees.
Old trees are much more likely to die from disease, bug and fungal infestations, and lightning strikes. When they die, they decay and release huge quantities of greenhouse gases.
Selective lumbering would enhance the Amazon jungle for everyone’s benefit. By cutting down the old trees before they are in danger of dying, greenhouse gas emission would be mitigated. By converting those old trees into lumber and
furniture, carbon that otherwise would be released to the atmosphere becomes semi-permanently sequestered in regions beyond the Amazon. By planting young trees to replace the old trees, the faster-growing young and eventually middle-aged
trees will remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere at rates that are 2–4 times greater than the old trees.
The oldest trees in a forest provide the greatest lumbering income. Replacing the old trees by planting young trees ensures that the lumbering enterprises have a long-term maximal supply of old trees. A forest filled with fast-growing
trees provides maximal resources for the forest ecosystem.
Selective lumbering would also benefit forests in US national parks. Rather than allow these forests to become so thick with trees that the trees become water-starved, infested with bark beetles, die, and release greenhouse gases, the
forests could be thinned out through selective lumbering, which confers these benefits:
- Trees would have sufficient access to water to fend off the bark beetles and not die.
- Forest wildlife would benefit by ecosystem preservation.
- More greenhouse gases would be removed from the atmosphere.
- There would be fewer devastating wildfires.
- Income of the local economies would be enhanced.
- Tourists would be pleased to see healthy forests replacing dead forests devoid of wildlife.
People today, perhaps more than ever, need hope. My book’s subtitle is A Fresh Approach. Instead of the gloom, doom, and panic that is so typical of other books on climate change, Weathering Climate Change inspires
gratefulness for the marvelous, unprecedented gifts God has provided humanity and offers hope that the God-provided solutions to climate change can grant us all the time we need to fulfill our purpose and ensure our destiny.