Acton Institute Powerblog

The Voice of a Secular Prophet

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The Americans brought this on themselves.

That’s one reaction coming from around the world as it surveys the devastation following Hurricane Katrina. In what can only be described as callously political maneuvering, Germany’s environmental minister Jürgen Trittin said today, “The increasing frequency of these natural events can only be explained through global warming which is caused by people.”

Instead of offering condolences, well-wishes, or prayers, minister Tritten delivered the judgment of secular environmentalists. The Americans’ crime? “A U.S. citizen causes about two and a half times as much greenhouse gas as the average European,” said Trittin.

This mirrors the reaction of religious global warming advocates following the Indian Ocean tsunami late last year. The global warming boogeyman, blamed for seemingly everything under the sun, is the knee-jerk explanation for any natural disaster these days.

As one paper puts it, “Because hurricanes form over warm ocean water, it is easy to assume that the recent rise in their number and ferocity is because of global warming.”

Why deal in facts when hysteria and rhetorical excess can do the trick instead? “The severity of hurricane seasons changes with cycles of temperatures of several decades in the Atlantic Ocean. The recent onslaught ‘is very much natural,’ said William Gray, a professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State University who issues forecasts for the hurricane season.”

Those scientists who do see a link between global warming and increases in the number and intensity of hurricanes are opposed by those who realize “worldwide weather records are far too inadequate for a thorough examination of such trends.”

As for the disastrous effects of Hurricane Katrina, the prudence of building a huge coastal city under sea level should be questioned long before any issues related to global warming arise.

Global warming serves as a convenient scapegoat in place of the recognition of the God of heaven and earth (see Job 38-41). As God says to Job, “Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me” (Job 41:11 NIV). Hurricane Katrina should serve as a reminder to all of us of the fleeting days of life and the priority of the eternal over the temporal, a modern-day object lesson to heed the words of Jesus.

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash” (Matthew 7:24-27 NIV).

Update: More on Trittin’s comments at Davids Medienkritik

Jordan J. Ballor Jordan J. Ballor (Dr. theol., University of Zurich; Ph.D., Calvin Theological Seminary) is a senior research fellow and director of publishing at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty. He is also a postdoctoral researcher in theology and economics at the VU University Amsterdam as part of the "What Good Markets Are Good For" project. He is author of Get Your Hands Dirty: Essays on Christian Social Thought (and Action) (Wipf & Stock, 2013), Covenant, Causality, and Law: A Study in the Theology of Wolfgang Musculus (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2012) and Ecumenical Babel: Confusing Economic Ideology and the Church's Social Witness (Christian's Library Press, 2010), as well as editor of numerous works, including Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology. Jordan is also associate director of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research at Calvin Theological Seminary.


  • Craig Goodrich

    From an AP story on the devastation in Mississippi:

    Ida Punzo rode out the s torm with a friend and two neighbors in her 130-year-old home on the beachfront in Biloxi. The first two floors of the old house were almost completely gone, but she survived.

    “It was a miracle,” Punzo said. “This place is held together with God’s spit. We’re not supposed to be alive.”

    — just wanted to add something upbeat here…


  • Ironically, today I received an email update from a website named CO2 Science that had all sorts of articles on Global Warming. The article continues to refer to actual science that clearly refutes many of the alarmist claims of Global Warming. It especially refutes the contention that Global Warming is the major contributor to events like the natural disaster of Katrina. If Dr. Mann, who invented or contrived the “Hockey Stick theory”, will not release his study and supporting data to the US House of Representatives sub committee investigating this issue, how can anyone assert the theory is plausible?
    Dr. Mann’s taxpayer funded research must be released to congress and as a matter of good science it should have been released long ago to the scientific community. The hypothesis has not been peer-reviewed by qualified, independent, objective scientists. The only reason I can think this report is not released so its findings can be verified or refuted, is the author and/or the environmentalist cabal supporting the theory and using it to overturn the past hundred years of
    progress of mankind, does not want it released. It looks like they may fear that once put under the investigative scope of truth by people who look for truth rather than cause, the entire theory will be disproved or at least be shown as excessively exaggerated. There are reports that if we were to adapt the “Kyoto Protocols Treaty” that the UN wants desparately to impose on us, the economic effects would literally throw the world, including America, back over one hundred years. The famine, poverty, misery, and general upheaval would lead to draconian measures to deal with the resultant tragedy. No terrorist could wreak as much havoc as adapting this measure would produce. And I say, if this theory and all the alarmist actions demanded of us, are proved to have been contrived or grossly exaggerated, all should demand criminal prosecution of those who conspired to dupe mankind. Its time America and all affected by “junk science” demand accountability of those who use science to huckster their political agendas. Socialism, world government, extreme environmentalism, and other plots to bring about the downfall of representative governments around the world, must be exposed as the sinister plots to gain power and control people, that they are. They are criminal endeavors and should be treated as such.