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Climate Change and Religion

Last week in Boulder, Mike Hulme gave an impressive presentation of his book and his intellectual contribution to the subject of climate change. The title of the book is explains a lot of the project: “Why we disagree about climate change”. Mike explains climate change as an idea more than a physical event, it is a powerful narrative through which many of the issues of our times are played out; discussions on values, beliefs, attitudes among others. He has a very interesting take on the religious undertones of much of the discussion on climate change, and a general humanist openness quite unusual to scientists. As Hulme quotes on his website, part of this insight seems to come from his religious background: “I am an evangelical Christian and member of the Church of England, and my theology is broadly aligned with that espoused by Fulcrum, a movement seeking to act as a point of balance within the Anglican Church.” One of the reasons we disagree about climate change according to Hulme, is because we disagree about what we believe, and climate change becomes a platform for discussing these beliefs. In fact, for some, climate change itself is a form of religion.

This last point can be seen on the raging debate about the science on climate change. Judy Curry is a well known climate scientist that goes against the strain of climate . You can see the religious invocations here, where she is accused of heresy, and here where she discusses climate dogma. Judy Curry is considered by many scientists as a climate heretic for challenging many alarmist positions on climate change, apparently with substantive arguments. I have heard positive remarks about her positions within the academic community, but haven’t made my mind up yet. Apparently, she gets a lot of heat from fellow scientists, some posts get over 400 comments, like this one.

Anyway, changing gears a little, the other conference I went to was the Energy Justice Conference. You can read more about it on the link, but an interesting connection is how the climate change narrative deeply affects  many other issues such as energy justice. Aware of this, the conference director Lakshman Guruswamy in his concluding remarks made the point that Energy Justice is an issue that must be seen apart from climate change. This unhinging is likely betraying the losing power of climate change as a narrative for our times. Had the energy justice folks listened to Mike Hulme and Roger Pielke Jr.  among others, earlier, they may have unhinged themselves from climate change earlier…

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