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Critical thinking and climate science


WORLD Radio - Critical thinking and climate science

Climate and Energy: The Case for Realism offers readers a realistic path forward for stewarding natural resources

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Friday, June 21st, 2024. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Myrna Brown.

LINDSAY MAST, HOST: And I’m Lindsay Mast. Up next, a review of a new book on climate change.

The nearly 450-page anthology features a dozen experts seeking to lower the temperature of the current debate. Together they help readers understand how the climate works and suggest a realistic path for better stewarding creation.

BROWN: Here’s WORLD Radio executive producer Paul Butler.

WOODSY: Give a hoot, don’t pollute…

PAUL BUTLER: As a child of the 70’s I grew up with Woodsy Owl. I was one of millions of young people in bell bottoms and T-shirts who readily embraced the battle against pollution with the conservation messages of: reduce, reuse, recycle.

But over the last 50 years, those messages have gone from personal responsibility to global alarmism, and in the process, conservation has been replaced with radical environmentalism.

PROTESTER: What do we want? Climate justice. When do we want it? Now!

Regnery Press has published a helpful new book: Climate and Energy, the Case for Realism edited by Cal Beisner and David Legates. It is a welcome invitation to reconsider the “sky is falling” claims of the modern climate change movement.

Cal Beisner is the founder, president, and chairman of the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation.

BEISNER: You know, critical thinking is hard work. It really is. And people really need to learn a lot of facts and counter emotions with facts.

And the many experts featured in Climate and Energy certainly cram a lot of facts into this volume.

In the chapter on the history and politics of climate change, co-editor and climatologist David Legates, reports that the climate conflict emerges during the 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment. It provides the backdrop for the clash between “conservationists” who wish to manage the earth’s resources and “preservationists” who say that nature must be protected from human threats. It doesn't take long for the “preservationists” to gain control of the movement. Leading to modern environmental activists like Greta Thunberg.

GRETA THUNBERG: You have stolen my dreams and my childhood…we are in the beginning of a mass extinction…

Today it’s almost impossible to have a reasoned conversation about the environment.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Today’s congress though is full of folks who stubbornly and automatically reject the scientific evidence of climate change…

BILL NYE: I’m just not clear on what’s going on with so aggressively denying science. It’s almost like they’re on the world is flat…

NEWS REPORT: Around the globe, populists including the new president of Brazil are attacking what they call the “myth of global warming…”

And for all the media and government appeals to “environmental and climate science” debates often turn on emotional arguments and fear, the kind where if something isn’t done immediately, the world as we know it is going to end.

That’s one of the things that makes Climate and Energy so refreshing. When you look at the list of contributors, they are all highly qualified academics and experts in their fields, and none of them can be called true climate deniers. They all acknowledge the climate is changing, but what they don’t buy into is that it is an emergency. They also don’t believe human activity is to blame for most of the changes. And they insist that change is a key part to climate science.

The 16 chapters cover a wide range of topics.

BEISNER: We have chapters on the role of the sun, the role of the oceans, the role of greenhouse gasses, the role of evaporation, precipitation and clouds. We have chapters on the effects of climate change, and on energy, all of these different things.

Each chapter begins with a summary in plain language and ends with a short conclusion. So even if readers get a little lost in some of the advanced math and technical terms in between, they can go back and re-read the chapter. Looking for what’s most important.

BEISNER: You just simply have to learn the hard facts. And the more you can do that, I think the better you can counter the emotional responses, but that's the way it is with most of life, isn't it?

At times the scientific language was a little intimidating, but it’s not used as a weapon to shut down investigation nor shout down skeptics. Rather it inspires deeper exploration. Every chapter is loaded with source citations and bibliographic information at the end. I felt empowered after reading every chapter.

Climate and Energy would be ideal for families preparing to send their kids to college. It will equip students with facts that are sure to come in handy—whether in class or conversation.

I also think this book would be a great gift for those interested in climate science. I think you could give it to anyone. It is not overtly Biblical or religious, but each author seems to have a high view of God’s design.

It’s not a textbook, though I could see a homeschool or Christian highschool using it as one. Nor is it a reference book that will collect dust on a shelf. It’s just approachable enough to make it feel like a valuable resource to turn to when countering the current climate change narratives.

A handful of the authors approach environmental and climate science from an old earth perspective, or at least reference sources that do, but the age of creation is not the point of any of the articles. No matter what your perspective on origins, you’ll find very helpful information about the world God has made.

King Solomon invites those who desire wisdom to “consider the ant.” Cal Beinser, David Legates, and the other authors invite us to consider the ocean, the sun, the atmosphere, the clouds, so that we will marvel at—and desire to protect—what God has made.

For WORLD, I’m Paul Butler.

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