On his nationally syndicated radio program Friday, Dr. Albert Mohler discussed former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in global warming. Dr. Mohler placed his remarks in the following context:
The issue for me today, as I’m looking at this, is not so much about whether Al Gore deserves the Nobel Prize. That’s up to the Nobel Committee. It’s not even as to whether global warming fits the criterion for a peace prize. If the people giving it says it does, they’re the ones who get to decide. It’s what is global warming and, while all the world is talking about it, this is the place for intelligent Christian conversation, about how we figure out what global warming is, how we fit it within the Christian worldview, and how we move from the “So What?” to the “What Now?, the application question.
Dr. Mohler then went on to confess that his viewpoint on global warming is not the same as most evangelicals:
Just speaking honestly, I understand a lot of people (don’t buy into the theory of global warming at all). That’s not where I am. I think as I have tried to look honestly at the data I accept the fact that there is something to this; that there is a warming pattern.
But let me tell you the big questions I have about that. Number one, is this a natural kind of cyclical pattern? Is this the kind of thing that comes back again and again and again in terms of the history of the earth? We know that there have been different patterns, so that’s one question. The second question would be, are human beings causing this? That’s why we’re talking about this. If this were just some kind of natural occurrence the question would be, what do we do to try to mitigate its effects and all the rest, but if human beings are causing this, then that raises the whole question of responsibility, what can we do if we did it, can we undo it, etc.
And I’ll tell you where I am on those questions. On the first question having to do with whether this is just a natural pattern, it appears that it might be in part. It also appears that it is difficult to ascertain that simply because we don’t have the kind of meteorological data, the kind of weather data…there was no one back standing with Plato in ancient Greece holding a thermometer writing down the temperature every day in Fahrenheit or Celsius, and noting the weather so that we can track all this. We didn’t even have a knowledge in previous centuries of human history about the poles. The exploration of the poles is a fairly recent thing in terms of the lifetimes of people living right now. We don’t have the kind of data we would like to have on exact sea levels and all the rest. But, on the other hand, there is some data. We know where harbors are. That tells us something about sea levels. We have water levels marked on erosion patterns, and all the rest. So, the bottom line on the first question is, I think we know enough to know that something is happening here. Something unusual, and something alarming is happening here.
The second question, did human beings cause it? I’m going to be very honest with you, this is where I have had to change my thinking somewhat. This is where I have had to assume that it must be that humans have at least some contribution to this. How much? I don’t know. I am not posing as a scientist. I am not an environmentalist. I’m not a physicist. I’m not a meteorologist. But trying as my best to look at the data and to read the most credible people, it does appear that human beings are part of this.
Now, that doesn’t mean necessarily that we have to, or even could, reverse all of this. That’s a different question. One of the people that I most respect on this issue is the man who wrote The Skeptical Environmentalist, his new book is entitled Cool It. He’s Bjorn Lomborg. He is one who takes kind of a middle position here saying (paraphrasing), “I accept that there is such a thing as global warming. I accept that human beings are contributing to it, but let’s be real about what we could do to fix the problem and even whether we would be willing to do those things when we understood how it would change the way human beings live. ”
To get to the bottom line here, we have become an energy dependent people. As much as all of us wish there was some absolutely free and environmentally neutral form of energy, the reality is most of us need it. Most of us want it. We want hospitals to have electricity. We want air conditioning. We need the automobile. It’s become a part of modern society. I don’t think very many people are going to be willing to part with it. The big question is, how do we adjust to this? How do we respond to this?
Listen to the entire program here.