Millions of Americans are evangelical Christians, and their belief in the science of global warming is well below the national average. This mistrust of scientific evidence persists despite overwhelming scientific consensus that man-made global warming is real, and that man-made global warming will lead to substantial harm for livelihoods, public health, and the environment. This talk outlines the arguments for climate change from an evangelical Christian perspective to lay bare the compatibility of man-made global warming with conservative and Christian values. Specifically, the talk refutes the ideas that mitigation measures must entail larger government, and allays other common doubts about man-made global warming. I argue instead that biblical values of justice and of helping the poor should be at the center of why Christians accept man-made global warming, and why evangelical Christians should use knowledge of the impacts of such warming to advocate for government action to mitigate against and adapt to man-made global warming. Using an example from my own research exploring the impacts of global warming on water scarcity in Sub-Saharan Africa, I conclude the talk by discussing how my own evangelical Christian views can motivate action in addressing the problem of man-made global warming.
I am a fourth-year PhD student in Environmental Engineering at Stanford University. My dissertation focuses on quantifying some of the impacts of future climate change on water resources. I look at two specific environments where water quality plays a big role: in the aquatic ecology of freshwater lakes and in the water fetching habits of poor households in Sub-Saharan Africa.
In my lifetime, the world’s leading scientists predict that we will face tremendous challenges due to climate change, of which a disproportionate amount will fall on the poorest of the poor. I hope my work can contribute towards designing mitigation and adaption strategies against such impacts, and lead to greater management of the future risks of climate change.
My work is strongly motivated by my faith.God has opened my eyes to knowledge that climate change disproportionately impacts the poorest and most vulnerable of our Earthly brothers and sisters and has kept this fact close to my heart as I pursue research and policy opportunities during my PhD.