The mail brought me the Coral Ridge Ministries DVD titled titled Global Warming: The Science and the Solutions and its little companion booklet, Overheated. The DVD presents an expanded version of the global-warming denialism that was broadcast on The Coral Ridge Hour. I gave a detailed account of that broadcast segment in a previous post. The main point of the Coral Ridge broadcast remains unchanged—environmental extremists are sinfully fighting God's command to subdue the earth—but a few more favorite targets are dragged into view, together with a couple of additional skeptical voices.
Dr. Tim Ball of the University of Winnipeg sets the tone with his observation that the global-warming scare is some kind of hoax designed to stop human progress. Besides, CO2 is great stuff that we should appreciate more.
Ball: CO2 is presented as a pollutant because you want to show that it's the byproduct of industry, which is what they're attacking. In fact, there is no life on earth without CO2 in the atmosphere. Plants need it to produce oxygen and without that oxygen there is [sic] no living things on the planet. And to push to lower CO2 levels is, in fact, endangering the planet and life on it much more than any increase in CO2.May I ask why environmentalists are accused of scare tactics while denialists like Ball get off scot-free despite statements like this? We might also note that plant life could probably do without oxygen very well; to them it's a waste product. Ball means to say that animal life requires it, which is largely true (unless you're anaerobic). He also fails to acknowledge that too much of a good thing is probably going to be a bad thing, and no one is arguing that we should try to drive CO2 levels down to zero. Ball is what he accuses others of being: a scaremonger.
The other denialist who was added to the DVD version of the video is Kenneth W. Chilton, professor of management at Lindenwood University and director of the Institute for Study of Economics and the Environment. He's not exactly a scientist, After Ball took his swipe at environmentalists, Chilton takes a turn at defaming one of the founders of modern-day environmentalism.
Chilton: Unfortunately, what looks good and appears good oftentimes to policy makers has unintended consequences that are quite tragic. A good example: the whole environmental movement kicked off—for us anyway in the western world—with Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring.If Chilton had bothered to be careful, he would know that the DDT story is largely a hoax. Malaria staged a comeback because indiscriminate use of DDT resulted in the mosquitoes rapidly developing resistance to the pesticide, not because DDT was banned. (In fact, the DDT moratorium is not even a complete ban, but the its reduced effectiveness means that DDT's environmental damage is no longer balanced by its formerly effective pest control power. DDT is yesterday's flawed solution.)
Narrator: Carson's 1962 book claimed that the pesticide DDT caused cancer and threatened certain bird species. But DDT had also been extraordinarily successful in combating malaria-carrying mosquitoes, with the World Health Organization estimating it save half a billion lives.
Chilton: What happens with DDT sprayed in a home or a hut in Africa is the mosquitoes typically don't even want to enter the house. If they land on the wall of the house, they are going to die, but generally it just wards them off. And it has protection for almost six months—very inexpensive.
Narrator: In the years following World War II, malaria was nearly eradicated in countries where DDT was used, but Carson's book ultimately spawned a worldwide moratorium on the pesticide. More than four decades later, most of her claims about DDT have been disproved, yet malaria spread by mosquitoes is again one of the leading causes of death in underdeveloped countries, killing more than a million people a year.
Chilton: The unintended consequence, a huge rise in malarial deaths and malarial cases—again, in the parts of the world that are the poorest, in sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere—I think we can safely say they were in the tens of millions. That's a lot of humanity. Yeah, Christians should care about the environment just because we care about the creator, but we do have to be careful.
D. James Kennedy and his Coral Ridge Ministries are marching in lock-step with the climate-change denialists. This is more a function of Kennedy's extreme conservatism than his religious convictions. He and his people have made common cause with those who view unbridled development and unregulated industry as God's plan for humanity. To mask their radical agenda, they express their tender concern for the poor of the world and paint all environmentalists as extremists who wish humans would vanish from the face of the earth. While they're at it, these putative Christians earnestly bear false witness against Rachel Carson, one of the great humanitarians and pioneer environmentalists of the twentieth century.
Who would Jesus smear?