Friday 18 March 2016

Climate change: why the about face?

The consensus among many COG pundits today is that climate change is a hoax, an example of left-wing lunacy. Mark Armstrong describes it as "the idiotic theory of man-made global warming." Even if there is climate change, it ain't nothin' to do with us.

But it wasn't always so.
At this very moment, in a world filled with revolution and dynamic changes, a veritable REVOLUTION IN WEATHER is occuring!
World temperatures are changing. The climate is warming up - causing drought in vast areas, with floods in others.
Why don't we wake up to the calamities we are bringing on ourselves!
Drought, floods, famines are the result of man's having turned from the ways of God. Man is bringing these sufferings upon himself.
(Herman Hoeh, "WEATHER Changes Threaten Disaster for U.S.A.", Plain Truth, January 1955).
Herman blamed farming practices and deforestation. If the science had pointed to carbon emissions in 1955, you can be pretty sure he would have lined up behind it.

Later that year Herman returned to the weather theme.
Despite the admissions of weather reporters and scientists, most news articles on weather are soft-pedalling the TRUTH. There is a definite campaign which aims at discrediting the real significance behind the weather changes. ("Worst WEATHER Ever!", Plain Truth, October 1955).
Would Herman be able to get these articles published in today's COG publications? You might think COG leaders would be tripping over themselves in their eagerness to proclaim that they had this 'prophecy' right many decades before it became an issue in the public mind. Yet they don't. I guess the 'talking points' have changed.

In these earlier times, the WCG beat the climate drum frequently. They may well have got that one right - though for all the wrong reasons. The question isn't so much whether Hoeh was correct back then, or whether he was just stirring the apocalyptic pot (I think it's clear it was more the latter); the issue is how and why most of the COGs have performed a massive double-flip and ended up in the climate change denial lobby.

Even in the 1984 50th anniversary issue of the Plain Truth Donald Schroeder was able to write:
Human activities have a part in causing changes in weather. In recent decades, scientists have begun to understand that industrial air pollution, harmful agricultural practices and deforestation are causing changes in local weather patterns. Man's burgeoning industrial activities and burning of coal and oil are significantly increasing carbon dioxide buildup in the atmosphere, threatening to alter world weather patterns. ("CHAOTIC WEATHER: Return of the Dust Bowl", Plain Truth, February 1984.)
Since then an anti-science attitude to evolution seems to have transmogrified into an anti-science approach full-stop. As a result, the COGs are increasingly orienting themselves to a fearful, wingnut constituency (to call it 'conservative' is to do all real conservatives a gross injustice), and in those circles the idea of Global Warming is anathema.

Herman Hoeh might have been puzzled by that.

[This blog post doesn't deal with the facts of climate change, but if that's of interest check out this link to National Geographic.]


Anonymous said...

My prophecy is sure and true -- guaranteed to come to pass, 100%.

Tomorrow, there will be weather.

I have also absolutely, positively predicted the outcome of every local and presidential contest for the past 25 years with 100% accuracy (and I expect that 2016 will be no exception to this outstanding stellar success).

However, I do not have a cult, do not want your money and I certainly do NOT want a following. It's too much trouble. The IRS accounting alone is a nightmare. Ask Ronald Weinland. And, of course, I've seen how Joe Tkach has been handling things and to tell you the truth, it looks as if having any sort of following is tiring and he wants to quit (maybe he's doing it wrong, but why take any chances!?!?).

Byker Bob said...

I've pondered this many times. Back in the 1970s, if one listened to the Garner Ted Armstrong program, it appeared that the church endorsed the environmental movement. The church even seemed to be on the cutting edge of this. In the Plain Truth and booklets appeared pictures of cars that had been junked in formerly scenic rivers, and industrial smoke stacks belching horrid and noxious pollutants.

I believe that at some point in time, ministers or members began separating what man is doing to the planet from the miraculous manifestations and signs described in Revelation. There was speculation that man-made phenomena were in no way equal to the curses that God was going to bring to the planet as punishment. That was to be separate. It probably didn't hurt that climate change was seen as a liberal issue, a massive cause or calling for people to endorse, detracting from the "real" cause, Armstrongism. Also, they simply couldn't allow for the notion that man could do something to resolve existential threats. Hence, denial.

I wonder if there is any independent thought amongst the splinter membership of today on this topic. Do some of the more aware types seriously ponder time-lapse satellite images of the vastly diminished Arctic ice mass, or rapidly shrinking glaciers that are responsibe for feeding the rivers that huge populations depend upon for life itself? Or do they simply listen to those who would say from the pulpit, "Brethren, global climate change is science, so-called! It is junk science!"

Historically, one was encouraged to make financial and other sacrifices for the cause of Armstrongism, but the leaders of the movement did not want funds and resources that "should" go to the church, diverted to other causes and projects. This could be yet another case of belief or doctrine being dictated by financial concerns. Working to reduce one's carbon footprint costs money, and often require deep thought.


Unknown said...

It is a fact that there is "climate change".

It is self evident with glaciers and ice ages growing and receding over the millennia, often in dramatic ways.

These things happened well before mankind used fossil fuels. The sun does not put out a constant energy stream, it too does cycle, as well as volcanoes, which put out massive amounts of hydrocarbons, greater than that EVER produced by man.

The idea that climate change is "MAN MADE" is certainly open to debate, and doubt.

Anonymous said...

I believe there is larger question. Why is it that Armstrongites and members of Grace Communion International are so enamored of right-wing politics. I am curious about their reaction to Donald Trump. After all he is like one of their own ministers. He has big hair and and expensive suit. He ignores all opinions but his own and brays these opinions loudly and confidently to his shallow followers. He hates "Gentiles." And you know how Armstrongites worship the wealthy and successful. My guess is that Trump is a big hit among the HWA crowd. I am wondering if they have begun to compare him to the Biblical David? But it does not fit into their eschatology. We should not have a "great leader" rise up at this time. Global warming does fit into the Armstrongite eschatology but now it is being denied. My guess is that the HWA crowd is now having a nettlesome time sorting out this end time stuff.

I speak with a member of GCI in my community from time to time. He and I used to attend the same WWCG congregation. He hangs onto every word he hears on Fox News like it was the Oracle of God. He one time told me with a sad expression on his face and a whimpering voice how badly he felt about all the people who would be damaged by Obamacare. BTW, he has a nice health insurance program (and to hell with everyone else). After talking with him on different occasions, I decided that he really has a problem with a racially Black president. These people are Right-Wingers first and Christians second. They worship Rush Limbaugh first and Christ is second and only where he can be made to coincide with Rush.

The political side of Armstrongism is something that has not been much examined but if we were to drain the swamp I am sure we would be appalled.


James said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
James said...

And I might add that this GW is more toxic crap that the wcg put into the political world as an 'idea' that was exploited by those who saw a buck before the truth. A lot like episodes on TV that were about the wcg without using the name of our god forsaken cult.

GW, is a natural phenomenon. The planet Mars also has seen its ice caps melt at the same time our blue planet saw its ice caps melt. Just what can we link to this? Duh.... Hint: It glows during the daytime and is reflected at night...

Anonymous said...

Isn't there any moderation on this website?!


Byker Bob said...

There are two separate debates. One is whether climate change is real, and the other is, if so, whether it is caused by humans.

My question would be, doesn't mankind have a history of muting the impact of natural forces? If we know a hurricane is about to hit, we batten down the hatches. We have flood contol systems in every major city. We minimize underbrush, execute controlled burns, and use other planned measures to limit the extent of forest fires. We design and erect buildings to withstand the majority of earthquakes. So even if much of the climate change is due to forces of nature, the real debate should be over whether human effort to control the human induced parts of the equation can make the problem less bad. Whether a decrease in scientifically measurable greenhouse gases would slow or reduce the problem as the natural cycle passes. Whether restoring the oceans by cleaning up the horrible garbage gyres in each one, allowing depleted sea creatures to repopulate to normal levels, and permitting plankton and coral reefs to regenerate will give planet earth a fighting chance to avoid becoming like Mars.

Chalking climate change up to natural cycles, and throwing up our hands and doing nothing will not save the planet. I don't know why other conservatives will simply not acknowledge that 1) There is a problem, and 2) whether natural or human, there is a human component that we can alter. Actually, some scientists believe we've already reached the point of no return. Wouldn't it be ironic if all of the false prophets, or "biblical analysts of world news" completely missed this, because they were so plugged in to right wing Republicanism?


Minimalist said...

GR's thread intro is a well researched & presented piece exposing COG dissonance!

The Skeptic said...

I agree with Bob. Sure, climate has had its ups and downs in the past, due to volcanoes, meteors, ice ages, etc. But ... this time, the amount of carbon in the air is wayyyy above any time in the past umpteen millions of years. This increase in carbon in the atmosphere happened exactly - guess when - humans are burning fossil fuels and pumping tons of carbon into the air. I don't think anybody would argue this is coincidental. And I don't think anyone can argue it's harmless.

So if we have it in our power take measures to improve this situation, why shouldn't we? Mankind has taken action in the past over this kind of thing. We've stopped using aerosols and the ozone layer is improving. The smog in L.A. is much better now than in 1975. The air in London is much improved over 1890. Even the Hudson River is clean again! (Thanks Pete!)

Almost every nation in the world is on board with reducing carbon emissions. How silly a certain segment of the U.S. population must look to them. And - how tragic it took us so long to start taking action.

Anonymous said...

We live in a world where 30% of air pollution in San Francisco comes from China -- all the way across the Pacific Ocean (thanks, Jon Stewart on the Daily Show!).

In the week after 9/11, the atmosphere above the United States started to clear up as all jets (except the 400 flights used by Arab students to travel back to their countries). Studies have shown significant improvement, particularly in the ozone layer. This is important because the luminosity of the sun is not getting through. Some places are being impacted dramatically. For example, grape arbors in Israel have been negatively impacted.

I think -- for what my opinion is worth, and that of the scientists posting articles in Analog -- that we, as human beings, really could do quite a lot to effect global climate change. Unfortunately, we would need to get China to stop polluting the air over San Francisco (good luck on that one), ground most of our jet flights and severely restrict travel (you might not be able to order some items off of to be delivered to your area, even with drones) and generally curtail a good deal of business.

How realistic is that?

Just try to get corporations to change. Making things locally in your own country would mean greater expense and fewer choices of consumer products. International travel would have to downsize to a trickle, used only for absolutely necessity (wars don't count).

Who's the first give up their consumer goods? Who is going to be first to reduce their standard of living significantly for the good of the world?

Eventually, if it gets too bad, the earth has a solution: Eliminate humanity. There have been what? 5 extinction level events? The earth lived just fine without us for over 4 billion years and could do without us in the future.

Or... it could end up like Venus.

Good luck, then.

Anonymous said...

I read this last week: Al Franken (Democratic senator from Minnesota) was discussing the human caused global warming scientific view with a reporter and commented that on the Republican side, any Republican in Congress who departed from the right-wing view that humans are NOT responsible for global warming is immediately primary challenged from their right, funded by money from Koch, Scaife et al. Therefore many Republicans in Congress are saying things like they don't know, they're not scientists so how can they take a position, they don't believe it, don't think its been proven, etc. and etc. The reporter asked Franken what percentage of Republicans who say they don't believe there is human caused global warming actually do believe it. Franken answered, "probably about ninety" (90% of Republican legislators who say they don't believe it, actually do). Franken gave some reasons justifying that assessment. The bottom line is if carbon emissions are causing global warming, then economists are fairly united that one of the most effective ways to reduce carbon emissions is by market mechanisms through the vehicle of a stiff carbon tax (with some of the proceeds of such a tax able to be used to alleviate the negative consequences on poor people affected by such a tax on fossil fuel industries). Powerful financial interests in the fossil fuel industries, e.g. but not limited to the Koch brothers, do not want a stiff carbon tax. All else follows from this, more or less. Some of the same right-wing organizations which are at the center of currently promoting human-caused climate change denial promoted tobacco health hazard denial, in the pay of the tobacco industry, of a former generation. It is same song, verse two... gd

Anonymous said...

The arab nations are already realising that oil might become a stranded asset in the future.
Buffet is investing hugely in solar energy.
The cost of solar have declined significantly in comparison to fossil energy over the past 5 years. This price comparison is of major significance, not the scientific debate.

In the emirates many oilpumps nowadays are already fueled by solar as in the past that was by gas.

It is a matter of time when financial institutions will start increasing the risklabel on investment in fossil fuels and start investing the huge reserves now built up for the purpose of a transfer to alternatives. It's not a matter of debate anymore.

We are at the brink of the financial world realising where the next opportunity for profit is to be made. And it will not be in stranded assets like peat and coal.