Tim, a regular contributor to this Blog, has suggested that we need a column on Global Warming. It is a most important subject with undoubted moral elements. But I hesitate simply because my expertise on the issue is limited. So I want to enlist your help. I am jotting down here some questions which come to mind, and I am sure there are others. If you can contribute some answers and discussion of the topics I may well be able to do a column, or more than one column, for the newspaper. In fact I am rather attracted to the idea of formulating columns which will be joint endeavours from us all.
1. We know that global warming is occurring but how confident can we be that it will continue to occur?
2.. What is the good case/bad case scenario for the future, and what confidence can be place on the predictions?
3. This appears to coincide with a massive increase in carbon emissions resulting from the Industrial Revolution. But are the two really linked?
4. What proportion of global warming can be attributed to carbon emissions, and what to natural fluctuations in the world’s temperature?
5. If there is international agreement on target emissions, and if these are accomplished, will global warming recede, be slightly modified, or continue as before?
6. How do we deal with the question of developing countries where it might be argued that industrial growth justifies high emissions?
7. Will alternative sources of energy be a help, e.g., wind farms, hydro electric, use of tides, nuclear power? Might carbon emissions come down because carbon production becomes unnecessary?
8. Would we do better to maximise investment in protecting the world from the worst effects of global warming, whether this is preparing to move populations, or to build better infrastructure in the right places, or to accept that we must develop genetically manipulated crops which can grow under dry conditions?
9. Is this simply a secular matter or do we have specific obligations as Christians? If so, would this be based on our duty, given to us in Genesis, to care for God’s creation, or is it based on our general love of neighbour?
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I would prefer as many contributions as possible to appear on the Blog, but if anyone would prefer to email me directly, please don’t hesitate.