Forums
Featuring guest Katharine Hayhoe

Katharine Hayhoe | Global Weirding

Katharine Hayhoe joins Jim Stump to talk about climate change: the science and the effects we see in the world today. She ends with some practical solutions and a call for rational hope.


Share  
Twitter
Facebook
LinkedIn
Print
3 Comments
3 Comments
sillhouettes on a hill against a sunset

Katharine Hayhoe joins Jim Stump to talk about climate change: the science and the effects we see in the world today. She ends with some practical solutions and a call for rational hope.

Description

Katharine Hayhoe is a climate scientist. And she’s a Christian. You may have noticed that climate change is not a topic that is often brought into the church because it often seems to divide people more than bring them together. But Katharine wants to change that. Her science doesn’t come in spite of her faith but because of it. She sits down with Jim Stump to talk specifically about some of the common misconceptions about climate change, the science of how we know about past climate changes, and the effects we see in the world today. She ends with some practical solutions and a call for rational hope.

  • Originally aired on March 12, 2020
  • With 
    Jim Stump

Transcript

Hayhoe:

The bottom line with climate change is there is hope, and the hope is this: The hope is that our actions will make a difference. We have been given a tremendous responsibility by God. God says, “Here, I’m not going to treat you like a bunch of robots that don’t have freewill. I am giving you the ability to make decisions.” “I am giving you,” as Paul tells Timothy, “I’m not giving you a spirit of fear. I’m giving you a spirit of power to act, a spirit of love, to have compassion on others.” And, as a scientist, my favorite one: “a sound mind to make good decisions.” Based on the facts that God has given us, and his creation is telling us loud and clear: The future is in our hands. Now is the time to make a good decision

My name is Katharine Hayhoe. I am a climate scientist and a professor at Texas Tech University.

Stump:

Welcome to Language of God. I’m your host Jim Stump. 

As you may have noticed in your circle of friends and on your social media feeds, the topic of climate change gets a lot of people riled up. And in many Christian communities, it is a subject, like politics, that is thought best to be avoided, as it seems to cause more division than it does disciple making. But Katharine Hayhoe has spent her career trying to change that and to show how disciples of Christ ought to be responding to the clear scientific data about our changing climate. There are deeply Christian and non-negotiable values that drive her work: responsibility for what God has given us in creation, care for the poor and the least of these, and love for our neighbors.

Katharine Hayhoe grew up in Canada, but today she lives in Texas where she has accumulated an impressive list of accomplishments. She’s a professor at Texas Tech University, she’s the director of the Climate Center there, and she’s served as a lead author for many of the important governmental reports on climate, to name just a few. She’s been named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people, and one of Fortune’s 50 greatest leaders. She has a TED talk that’s been viewed over 2.5 million times. She’s also a deeply committed Christian, married to a pastor, and lives out her faith in an authentic way.

In our conversation we address some of the common misconceptions about climate change, how we know what we do about the climate, and what kind of hopeful responses we can have, as Christians, to the problem. And stay tuned after the interview for some of her favorite resources on climate and solutions, which you can also find linked in the show notes. 

Let’s get to the conversation. 

Interview Part One

Stump:

Well thanks for talking to us, Katharine. We like to start by getting some personal context for what it is that you do now. So, in that sense, what do you remember from growing up that would have inclined you to a career in science?

Hayhoe:

So my dad was a science teacher, which means that I grew up with the idea that science is the coolest, best thing that you could possibly study because why wouldn’t you want to understand how the universe works?

Stump:

Right!

Hayhoe:

From an early age, some of my memories are of learning how to find the galaxy Andromeda with binoculars, lying out in the park at what felt like, you know, 3:00 in the morning for a four year old, but it was probably 10:30 at night. Or, learning to recognize bird calls or identify plants by their leaves. To us growing up, science was just part of understanding God and understanding God’s word. Because if we believe that God wrote the Bible, and if we believe that God created the universe, then how could the two possibly be in conflict? And can’t we learn about God through studying both of them?

Stump:

Right. So what were some of the other steps, then, to becoming a climate scientist? From looking at Andromeda through binoculars, what were some of the other steps that took you to get where you are now?

Hayhoe:

So I was planning to be an astrophysicist. And I had almost finished my undergraduate degree at the university. I had already worked on multiple research projects and had a few publications out, looking at variable stars, and galaxy clusters, and grand quasars, and I had to take an extra class before I graduated. I had already taken my minor in Spanish. I had already taken, you know, children’s literature in the history of the Gothic cathedral. All those interesting classes that you want to take.

Stump:

That makes you a well-rounded person. Right?

Hayhoe:

Exactly. I think so. So I looked around, and there was a brand new class that was just being offered that year for the first time over in the geography department on climate science. So I thought to myself, what, that looks really interesting. Growing up I learned that the climate was changing and humans are responsible. But I had always mentally lumped climate change with other environmental issues like deforestation and biodiversity loss and air pollution, things that are important and we should definitely try to fix them or make them better, but issues that really only environmentalists care about.

So I took this class, and I was completely shocked. Because, first of all, I learned that climate science is the exact same physics I had been learning in my astronomy and my physics classes, nonlinear fluid dynamics, radiative transfer, even orbital mechanics. But the even, even more shocking thing though was the fact that climate change is not just an environmental issue. So of course it affects our environment. But the reason why we care about climate change is because it is, as the US military now calls it today, a threat multiplier. In other words, it takes every issue that we already care about today, and it makes it worse, especially the more vulnerable we are, the more at risk we are.

So climate change doesn’t only take issues like biodiversity loss, and deforestation, and air pollution and make them worse, although it certainly does that. It also takes issues like poverty, and hunger, and lack of access to clean water, and disease, and political instability, and refugee crises, and it makes those worse. So that was what really changed my perspective because I thought to myself, here, I serendipitously—of course there’s no accidents with God—but I serendipitously had the exact skill set that you need to study this urgent global problem. I learned, also, in that class that it’s here and now. It’s not a distant future issue. We are already being affected today. So I already have the skill set to contribute to this problem that is disproportionately affecting the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world. And, for me, it wasn’t really so much a head decision as it was a heart decision.

I believe that, as Christians, not only have we been given responsibility over every living thing on this planet, which includes the plants and the animals as well as our sisters and brothers around the world. But I also believe that we’ve been given a new heart. And that new heart has been designed to love people and to care for people. And when someone’s suffering, you don’t say, “Oh, here. Have a Bible.” If they’re hungry, you don’t give somebody a stone. If they’re in need, you meet their physical needs. And, in doing so, we show the love of God to people in a tangible way. So, for me, I realized that, hey, I can actually do this. This is a way that I can show God’s love to the least of these, the poorest and most impoverished, most suffering people in the world. They are the ones who are being affected by climate change. And they’re the ones who do not have a voice to advocate on their own behalf. And so, I thought, well, maybe, in my own small way, I could do something to help.

Stump:

Nice. So we’ll dig in a little bit more to some of the specifics on the climate science, but you’ve flagged your faith a couple of times, here, already. So let’s hear some of the context of that too because it sounds to me like this is not just… Your faith is not just an add on in some sense to what you’re doing, but is deeply and intimately involved in motivating what you do. So what can you tell us about your faith background? Where did this come from?

Hayhoe:

Absolutely. The reason that I am a climate scientist is because of who I am, not in spite of it or not as an aside. I would be happily studying quasars and galaxies and marveling at God’s creation and doing so if it wasn’t for the fact that climate change is a threat multiplier, and it affects the poorest and most vulnerable people more than anyone else. So I grew up in a denomination called Plymouth Brethren. It’s not necessarily as common here in the States, but it’s pretty widespread across Canada, and the UK, and Europe. It originally was a breakaway from the Anglican church, kind of an early 1800s rebellion against all of the traditions and the ceremonies that had grown up surrounding our relationship with God. So the idea of the brethren was, you know, let’s go back and look at what the Bible actually says, and let’s do what the Bible says.

So manuscript studies, Bible study, all of that was a key part of my faith growing up. It wasn’t the type of church where you show up, and you sit in a pew, and you hear or don’t hear a sermon once a week. In the brethren church, they didn’t have a specific pastor and minister. Everybody was expected to minister with the gifts that they’d been given. So there was a lot of, you know, searching the truth out for yourself and listening to what other people had learned through their own studies. And that whole idea of really trying to figure out what God was telling us through his word. And that obviously carried through very naturally to science. What is God telling us through his creation as well?

Stump:

For many people in the sciences, though, there have been times where these two seem to stand in some tension, right? Did you ever have moments of having to work out, here’s what the Bible seems to be saying, but that can’t be right because this is what I’ve learned through my study of science?

Hayhoe:

Well, interestingly, a lot of the perceived conflicts between science and faith tend to come up a lot more in the US than they do in other countries.

Stump:

Why is that? Can you help us with that?

Hayhoe:

We, yeah, we can definitely dig into that cause that’s a whole new can of worms there too. But, for example, I never heard anybody opine on the age of the universe in church. It just wasn’t perceived as being relevant. I mean, the point of Genesis was that God did this. God created this. The author of everything we see is God. God spoke this into being out of nothing. The whole idea of the universe being sustained by God’s word. Why do physical laws exist? How do we take a breath in every moment? What keeps this amazing universe together? 

I had never come into conflict with a lot of these very common ideas of conflict that we know of now and we often hear of ourselves here in church until I moved to the US. But what happened was I had grown up with an idea, which I sort of took for granted, but now I realize was quite unique. The idea that if we truly believe that the Bible and the universe were created by the same person, then they fundamentally cannot be in conflict. Now, if and when they appear to be in conflict—which certainly happens with questions of origins and the age of the universe and other things like that—when they appear to be in conflict, we are the ones who are at fault.

Our understanding is limited. We may be misinterpreting or misunderstanding the science, and we might not have all the pieces that we need to really get the big picture. But, just as equally, probably, we might be misunderstanding what the Bible says. We might be interpreting it in too limited a way through our own cultural glasses of today or through our own cultural or ideological traditions that were not what was intended by the original writer and, of course, the original author, God. So having that perspective, I think, really helps because when we see a conflict, my response is, well, it looks like there’s a conflict there, but that means that we don’t understand something. And maybe with some patience and some humility, we will be able to reconcile the two to each other. And there’s a lot of people who do an amazing job, including your organization, in doing exactly this.

And then in some cases there might be a case where we don’t figure it out in our lifetime. And, so, I feel like, you know what, when I get to heaven there’ll be a lot of really interesting questions that I will be able to know the answers to. But I know that those answers exist because I’m starting from the fundamental premise that there cannot be a conflict. Whereas, sadly, today we so often are taught by both science and faith, by people like Richard Dawkins on one hand and by people like Answers in Genesis on the other hand, that both endorsed what we call the conflict model of science and faith. We are deliberately told to start with a different assumption, the assumption that they are in conflict. But it just doesn’t make sense because then who do you think created the universe if it wasn’t God?

Stump:

Right. So as you know BioLogos has just recently begun producing some more resources on climate, and you had a hand in some of those. And we were wondering if this might cause more of a backlash among some of our supporters in our audience, and we’re actually fairly pleasantly surprised that there wasn’t as much in terms of that as the typical kind of feedback we get on our origins work. I’m wondering what your experience has been of conflict with Christianity, or is it more the way some of the polls seem to suggest that the conflict for climate science is more along political ideological lines than it is religious lines? Has that been your experience?

Hayhoe:

It absolutely has, but often it comes with the religious sort of smokescreen or icing on the cake, so to speak.

Stump:

Ooh, tell us about that.

Hayhoe:

So I’m often asked, especially by secular reporters, have you ever found a conflict between your science and your faith that’s caused you to question your faith? And my answer is no. I genuinely have not. The only thing that has caused me, not to question my faith, not to question the existence of God, but the only thing that has caused me to question God’s ability to act in the world is the negative feedback that I have received from fellow Christians.

Stump:

Hmm, that’s sad commentary.

Hayhoe:

It is! And I’ve heard this from a few other scientists as well. So when I first, sort of, took that plunge to tell people, hey, I’m a Christian, and I am a climate scientist. I was expecting, due to the fact that we see the conflict models so widespread, I was expecting my scientific colleagues to blackball me to say, “Oh well she’s checked her brain at the door. She can’t be a legitimate scientist anymore.”

And I have to say with complete humility that I was so wrong. I massively misjudged my scientific colleagues. I have received incredible support, much of it from colleagues who say, “I share your faith.” Because it turns out that over 50% of us in the United States, at top research universities, we do identify with a specific faith. And mostly that is Christian. But I’ve also received enormous support from colleagues who say, “I don’t share your faith, but I think what you’re doing is fantastic.” In fact, I can literally count on the fingers of my hands the amount of really hateful negative comments that I’ve received either in person, or via letter, or email, or, even, the occasional phone call in the last 10 years from people who say, “Well, if you’re a Christian, you can’t be a scientist. You believe in fairytales.”

I get those occasionally, but very infrequently. Whereas, sadly, I need all of my fingers and all of my toes to count the amount of ugly, hateful comments I get from fellow Christians every week saying that you can’t be a Christian if you’re one of those scientists. So where do our objections come from? Often they are cloaked in a religious-y sounding language. So the idea that humans can’t be affecting something as big as the planet because God’s in control. Or the world’s going to end anyway, so why does it matter what we do? Or God said, I will never flood the Earth again, or there will always be seasons, so clearly the entire planet can’t be warming. But when we look at these religious-y sounding arguments, and we actually look at the truth behind them, we realize that they don’t have a foot to stand on.

I mean in Genesis 1, so book one, chapter one of the Bible, it says, “God gave humans responsibility over this planet.” And then in Revelation, it says, “God will destroy those to destroy the Earth.” And then of course all through that, there’s so much about how God takes such pleasure and creation, such joy in the tiniest aspects of, of life here on this Earth. And how in the new Testament how even though we don’t know the day or the time of Christ’s return, we are called to love others, to care for the orphans and the widows and the poor, to support our families. We are called to act because we don’t know when it will all end, but in the time we have a job here on Earth and that is to express God’s love. So we look at all of these religious-y sounding arguments and they don’t carry water.

They don’t. They’re not actually even based on the Bible. So then you say, well where does this come from? When we survey people across the US landscape, and emphasis here on the US, we survey people across the US landscape. It turns out that white evangelicals and white Catholics are right there together at the very bottom of the list of people who are most concerned about climate change. Ironically, Hispanic Catholics top the list and black Protestants are quite high up too. So, when you take the social science, and you start to dig into what’s actually causing this, it’s not whether we go to church or not. It’s not whether we believe the Bible or not. There is one simple factor that predicts whether we agree with 200 years of science that says climate is changing. Humans really are responsible. Now for the first time in the history of this planet, the impacts are serious and they fall disproportionately on the poorest and most vulnerable in this world. The one factor that determines whether we agree with that or not is simply where we fall on the political spectrum. That is it.

Stump:

Well, so we have some work to do then. I want to talk, specifically, about the communication of climate science in just a little bit. But, before we do that, I want to get clear on a few of the terminological things. So, turning more specifically, here, to climate science, we used to hear more the term global warming, now it’s climate change. What’s the difference, and what’s the reason for preferring one of those over the other?

Hayhoe:

What I find often is when you say global warming, that’s just one symptom. So, climate is changing because we are digging up and burning increasing amounts of coal, and, then later oil and natural gas that’s releasing carbon that otherwise would have been trapped inside the Earth into the atmosphere.

And carbon is a very powerful heat trapping gas. What we are, in effect, doing is wrapping an extra blanket around our planet that it does not need and it was not designed to have. And just like we would if somebody snuck in at night and put an extra blanket on us, just like we would start to sweat, in the same way the planet is starting to heat up because of this extra blanket we’re wrapping around the planet. But for you and me, the average temperature of the entire planet is the last thing we are ever going to notice. 

What we notice is global weirding. We notice the fact that conditions where we live are changing. We are getting heavier downpours and longer dry periods in between. When wildfires come, they’re burning much greater area than they would otherwise. When hurricanes come, as they always do, they’ve got a lot more rainfall associated with them, and they’re bigger and stronger than they used to be. We also see that sea levels are rising, and plants are blooming earlier in the year, and our seasons are shifting, and we’re having very unseasonably warm weather, sometimes, and then we have a crazy cold snap. What we see in the places where we live is global weirding. And, so, personally, if we’re going to pick a term to kind of refer to it colloquially, I would call it that, but as a scientist I call it climate change because that really is the root cause of the problem.

Stump:

Is there a good handy definition for climate in that sense? Aren’t there many different climates, and are they all changing or are there variability among these things?

Hayhoe:

So climate is formally defined as the average of weather over at least 20 to 30 years. So we have hot and cold, and we have wet and dry, and climate is the long-term average. It’s almost like weather is your mood, and climate is your personality. So you could be in a bad mood or a good mood one day, but your personality tends to be, you know, more even keeled or more higher maintenance. Now, climate has definitely changed in the past. We know that, for sure, because we climate scientists are the ones who study that. But we know that in the past it has changed a lot slower than it is today, much slower. In fact, the rapid warming from the last glacial maximum or ice age to the warm period that we’re in today, that warming was about 10 times slower than the warming that we are experiencing today.

So it is much faster. It is happening in the opposite direction according to natural factors. We should be cooling right—now very, very slowly, but cooling—where instead we’re warming. And it’s being caused by humans. In other words, we have elbowed natural factors out of the driver’s seat, and we are the ones clutching the steering wheel, pushing down on the gas faster and faster every year. So when we look to past instances of when climate has changed rapidly for natural causes, it actually makes us even more worried about what’s happening today. Not less worried because we know that something that happened a long time ago that was only a 10th as fast as today led to massive changes in the ecosystems in life on this planet. And we know that during those times we didn’t have 8 billion people on the planet. We hadn’t allocated every arable acre of land for food. We hadn’t allocated all of our water resources. We hadn’t built trillions of dollars of infrastructure that’s designed for certain long term conditions, which are what we experienced in the past, but not the future. So when it comes to a changing climate, we humans are the ones most at risk today.

[musical interlude]

BioLogos:

Hi Language of God listeners. Here at BioLogos we think that asking questions is a worthwhile part of any faith journey. We hope this podcast helps you to think through long held questions and consider new ones, but you probably have other questions we haven’t covered yet. That’s why we want to take this quick break to tell you about the common questions page on our website. You’ll find questions like “How could humans have evolved and still be in the image of god,” “How should we interpret the Genesis flood account?” and “What created God?” Each with thoughtful and in depth answers written in collaboration by scientists, biblical scholars, and other experts. Just go to biologos.org and click the common questions tab at the top of the page. Back to the show!

Interview Part Two

Stump:

What you just brought up there, I think, is one of the misconceptions. I think I’ve heard from people that the climate has always been changing, this is a natural cycle, that kind of thing. And one of the things you just mentioned there, I’ve taken to asking such people, why do you think that the climate has always been changing? Where do you get that information? And isn’t it from the climate scientists? These same people who are now telling us that the reason the climate is changing now is because of us. Can we get into the weeds here a little bit and say, how do you know? Can you, can you explain to us… How do you know that the climate was changing in the past? First of all, what are those evidences? Where do we go to find that kind of information?

Hayhoe:

Yes. I’m so glad you said that because that’s exactly what I think when somebody says that to me too. How do you know it’s been warmer in the past? Because we climate scientists study it, and we told you.

So, first of all, let’s just set the stage. If we believe in a young Earth, which many of us do, then there are no major natural cycles over the last six to 8,000 years. All that’s happened is the planet has very, very slowly cooled until we hit the industrial revolution. And then temperature went effectively, almost straight up. So to say that the planet’s been warm before, we have to be able to say, “Okay, the Earth is really old.” And when we look back in time, we know that thermometers only go back to the 1600s. So we do have a pretty good record back to the 1600s from thermometers. But before that we have natural thermometers. Natural thermometers or what we call paleo-climate proxy data. That’s the long form of it. We get those from tree rings, from ice cores, from sediment and pollen records in lakes. We even get them from ocean sediments. And we can even get them from historical records, and some places, like Japan, historical records of when the cherry trees have blossomed to go back 1100 years. 

So we put together all of these natural thermometers where, for example, the width and the density of a tree ring tells you what rainfall, and temperature was like that year for every year in ice core data, they have layers going back. The oldest ice core data goes back almost a million years, and they have little bubbles trapped in the ice where you can sample the levels of heat trapping gases at that time. And you can also get the air temperature. And with sediment records we can go much further back into the distant past. Using the skeletons of little marine creatures called foraminifera that are trapped in the sediment that actually record what the temperatures were. And even the salinity of the water, which tells you something about the hydrological cycle, we’re like going back, you know, millions of years. So when we put all of that together, we see that this is what’s been happening: For the last million or so years, we have been in a regular cycle of ice ages and warm periods and ice ages and warm periods.

Stump:

What are the kinds of things that cause that to happen naturally then, those fluctuations?

Hayhoe:

The ice age cycles were discovered by a Serbian engineer called Milankovitch. And he discovered the reason why we have these regular cycles of ice ages, warm periods in between, is because of something called orbital forcing. And I learned about this in my astrophysics classes. So the orbit of the Earth around the sun becomes gradually more elliptical and more circular over time. And we also know that our axis of rotation is tilted at 23.5 degrees relative to the plane of our orbit. So imagine spinning a children’s top, like an old fashioned child’s top. It goes around really quickly. That’s like the Earth going around once a day, but it also precesses around slowly, and our Earth does the same thing. So when you put these factors together, it turns out that that alters how sunlight falls on the Earth.

Now, if the Earth were all the same all over, if we were all a ball of frozen ice, or if we were all water everywhere, it wouldn’t matter. But it does matter because we have a lot more land area in the Northern hemisphere and a lot more ocean in the Southern. So how sunlight falls on the Earth actually initiates the ice ages and initiates the warm periods like we’re in today. So then people would say, “Okay, well aren’t we just getting warmer after the last ice age?” “No!” 

According to both natural thermometers—and you can calculate by hand, and I’ve done this myself where we are on the orbital cycles that Milankovitch discovered according to both the data and where we are in the cycle—the warming after the last ice age peaked about six to 8,000 years ago, which is the dawn of human civilization on this planet at just the sweet spot. Which I’m sure God knew, and, then, since then, we were very, very, very slowly, gradually cooling, preparing to head into the next ice age. And about 1500 years from now, which, of course, is not what we want for human civilization. The perfect temperature for us is the temperature that we had, our kind of Goldilocks temperature, not too hot, not too cold.

But here’s the fascinating thing. As humans grew and thrived, as we cut down trees, as we established agriculture and cities and people, we started to produce some heat trapping gases from deforestation and, primarily, from cultivating cows, and pigs, and goats, and sheep—things called ruminants that produced a lot of heat trapping gasses out the north and the south end. So it turned out that just before the Industrial Revolution, we, without knowing it, we had produced enough heat trapping gases to wrap a very thin, sort of, extra summer blanket around the planet to offset the orbital forcing. So we had actually just stabilized climate at the perfect temperature for us. And then we figured out how to dig up massive amounts of coal, and gas, and oil and burned them to power our society. And we started to head so fast in the other direction that there is no paleo climate analog as far back as we can go for the speed at which we are changing.

Stump:

Hmm. Okay. so explain this blanket a little bit more because the blanket is trapping things inside, but it still lets the heat and energy from the sun come in from the outside, right?

Hayhoe:

It does.

Stump:

So how does that work?

Hayhoe:

So, our planet is really uniquely designed for life because, according to basic physics, we should be a frozen ball of ice, and we’re not. We are over 60℉ or more than 30℃ warmer than we should be, thanks to a very thin blanket around our planet called our atmosphere. Our atmosphere is primarily made up of oxygen and nitrogen. That’s why we breathe. But it also has small amounts of very potent and powerful heat trapping gases. So the sun’s energy shines on the Earth and it goes right through this blanket, like a window because the sun’s energy is mostly in the visible spectrum. So it’s shorter wavelength energy. The Earth heats up, and it gives off heat energy. But that heat energy is much longer wavelength. And it turns out that these heat trapping gases absorb the heat.

So the heat comes up from the Earth and a molecule of CO2, for example, carbon dioxide, absorbs the heat, and then it re-radiates it in all directions. So that means 50% of it is still going up, but 50% of it is going back down. And then the 50% that’s going up, hits another CO2 molecule it gets absorbed, half of it goes down, half of it goes up. So that is how these small amounts of very powerful heat trapping gases keep our planet just the right temperature for life. But we, by digging up and burning more and more fossil fuels, we are wrapping an extra blanket around the planet that it was not designed to have. And that is why the planet is running a fever.

Stump:

Okay. So another misconception that I hear sometimes is that scientists don’t all agree. And in the field of evolution that BioLogos normally deals with, some of our critics seize on the fact that there are disagreements about some of the details of evolutionary theory. And then they say, see scientists don’t agree about evolution. Is climate science like that at all? Can you give us some idea of the broad area about which there’s overwhelming agreement and then maybe where there are some legitimate differences among climate scientists?

Hayhoe:

Yes. So the argument that scientists don’t agree is a very common one. And people say, oh, well there’s a letter signed by 500 scientists saying that there’s no climate emergency. Or there was a petition signed by 30,000 scientists saying that there is no global warming catastrophe. But when you start to dig into these letters and these petitions, you start to realize that they’re not actually signed by people who know anything about climate science. Scientific American estimated that out of the 30,000 signatures, only 200 of them were from anybody with any legitimacy in science at all. Like a Master’s degree or a PhD.

And when you actually boil that down to looking at people who have expertise in climate science, I can literally count those people in North America on the fingers of a single hand, who will, in any way, challenge the science that we’ve known for 200 years: that climate is changing, humans are responsible, the impacts are serious, and our choices will determine our future. We are 99.999% sure that the majority of the warming is human caused. That’s how certain we are. And the reason why we’re so certain is because we have known about heat trapping gases since the 1850s. It is such basic science that if we’re truly going to throw out climate science, we are going to have to throw out our stoves and refrigerators because they’re based on the same science as to how the heat and cool food. We’re going to have to throw out our airplanes because they’re based on nonlinear fluid dynamics just like our climate models.

Our science is so basic that the only reason anyone has to object to it is political ideology. So I mentioned that, you know, there’s a handful of legitimate scientists who would say, “Oh, it’s not very serious or it’s not that bad, or really there’s nothing we can do about it.” So I was curious. So I went and I bought their books, if they’d written a book. I read their interviews. I wanted to understand why would they say that? And, in every single case, there was a reason that had nothing to do with the science. In one person’s case, it was their political ideology. They were Libertarian, and they felt like climate solutions required government intervention, government intervention is anathema to libertarian. Therefore the problem couldn’t be real because if it was real, they didn’t, couldn’t support the solutions.

So, interestingly, when it comes to saying this isn’t a real problem, it isn’t the science, and it isn’t our theology that gets in the way. It’s the fact that we have been told by people we trust that there are no solutions to this problem that are consistent and compatible with our values. We have been told that the only solutions to climate change are socialism or communism. We’ve been told the only solutions involve destroying the economy or letting China take over the world. We have even been told, this is not an exaggeration, we have been told that the only solution to climate change is abortion, killing all the babies. And frankly, if those are the only solutions, I’m not on board with those solutions either. But here, here’s our psychological defense. If we’ve been told that the only solutions are so unpalatable to us. And so contrary to our values as Christians or as conservatives, our defense mechanism is to reject the reality of the problem. Because as a good person, I can’t say, “Oh, it’s a real problem, but I don’t want to fix it.” That would make me a bad person.

And we all want to be good people. I mean, why? Why do we accept Christ’s sacrifice in the first place if it is not for our sins? The desire to be right, to be justified. So our defense mechanism is to say it can’t be a real problem because if it was real, I would want to fix it. But our real objections are to the solutions. So for example, I’ll be talking to somebody, and they’ll say, “Oh, well, it’s all solar cycles anyways, and, don’t you know, that I need to drive my truck?” And you’re like, well, what does solar cycles have to do with your truck? It’s the fact that the truck is very low efficiency. It burns a lot of gas. And they’re kind of sensitive about that, but they need their truck because they work on a farm, or they live out in the country, and they don’t feel like there’s any other alternative. So that’s why talking about sensible solutions that actually help us rather than hurt us, that are compatible with our values, that help poor people that actually help our own pocket book, and make our life better. Talking about solutions is so important because if we feel like we can actually get on board with the solution, then all of a sudden we’re like, oh sure, it’s a real problem. But that’s okay because I know there’s something that I as a Christian can do about it. And that makes all the difference.

Stump:

I want to talk a little bit more about some of these solutions in just a little bit, but let me come back to this point on agreement and disagreement among scientists. And, so, you’ve convinced us that the overwhelming majority of scientists all accept this, but what are the points at which there’s disagreement? When you go to a conference of climate scientists, what do you argue about? Is it projections of how bad it’s going to get or when? Or what’s the minutia here that we might hear some dissenting opinions among these legitimate climate scientists?

Hayhoe:

Oh, I love this question because if you know scientists, you know that we love to argue. So what do we argue over? We argue a lot over how sensitive the planet is to this completely unprecedented and inadvertent experiment that we’re conducting with it. So we can measure how the planet has already responded today to what we’ve done so far. But when we look back in the paleo-climate record, using those natural thermometers, we know that the planet can be very sensitive to relatively small changes.

So there’s a lot of arguing over how fast Antarctica and Greenland are melting. We’re discovering new physical mechanisms all the time, like ice-cliff thinning, that is actually making us even more worried than we used to be. We’re learning about new ways that climate change is affecting us in ways that we didn’t even realize like political instability and resource shortages. I mean, that’s a very hot area of debate. You know, to what extent did climate change exacerbate situations that have already occurred, like the Arab Spring or the Syrian refugee crisis? It didn’t cause them but, being a threat multiplier, how did it make them worse? One of the emerging areas in climate research now is called event attribution. And what that means is when you see something happening these days, like a very strong hurricane, or the crazy wildfires in Australia, or Midwest floods, you see these events happen, and we know they always happen naturally, but we know that climate change is making them worse.

So people are starting to calculate, you know, for Hurricane Harvey, what percentage of the rainfall that fell would not have occurred if the same hurricane had happened a hundred years ago? And in the case of Hurricane Harvey, the numbers are around 40% which is really quite large considering some places got 50 inches of rain. For other events you might say, “Oh, well, climate change maybe increased the area burned by only 10 or 15%.” Or in some places you might say, “No, climate change increased the area burned by a factor of two or three.” Two or three times more area burned. So these are the types of things that scientists are really digging into and investigating. And probably the place that they’re arguing the most about is how fast are these changes going to happen. So I’ve done a little bit of wildfire modeling myself, and I work with ecologists who are experts in this. And, in early 2020, they were saying, this isn’t what we predicted. We predicted areas being burned by wildfires in Australia the size of what we saw this year by 2050. We didn’t predict it to be happening by 2020. So there is something about this system that we are not understanding: the black Swan events, the compound extremes when multiple things happen at the same time and interact with each other. This is where we feel like we may have dropped the ball. We aren’t being too alarmist. If anything, we have likely been too conservative.

Stump:

Yeah, it doesn’t seem as though any of the predictions we’ve heard over the last several years have scaled things back from what the threat in the future is. So that made me wonder if that kind of inborn conservatism of science itself of not being alarmist has really borne itself out to hold back from that until the data is absolutely clear that this is the way it’s going, and those seem to be getting more and more dire now. Is that the case?

Hayhoe:

Yes, you are absolutely right. So as you know, you can’t really even go to your favorite website these days without hearing about those climate scientists being alarmist people crying wolf and all their predictions are wrong. This is a common, you know, kind of discussion point, sadly among conservative, and even Christian circles. But when you actually look at the data, it turns out that when you track our global temperature predictions, and we’ve actually had climate models since the 1890s, that was when we knew enough about the physics of the system to calculate how much the world would warm as we humans increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Our projections since the 1890s of global temperature change have been right on the money decade after decade. But our projections of global weirding of how heat waves, and wildfires, and rainfall, and floods, and storms, and hurricanes will be affected. Those have been systematically underestimated. And there was a study that analyzed this in detail, and it concluded that we are subject to, as scientists, a syndrome called ESLD they called it Erring on the Side of Least Drama. So rather than being drama queens, we’re like anti-drama kings. Which is really bad because we are deliberately sort of scaling stuff back. I had a project working with infrastructure engineers, people who design transportation infrastructure for a number of years, and the first year of our project working together as climate scientists and engineers. The biggest lesson we learned is that we have exactly opposite definitions of the word conservative.

To a climate scientist, conservative is, you know, the best case scenario like, you know, lowest emissions, lowest climate response, that’s conservative. But to an engineer conservative is the worst case scenario times 10. Because you want to be conservative because human life is at stake. You don’t want a bridge that probably won’t fail. You want a bridge that absolutely will not fail even if conditions get 10 times worse. So I really feel that engineers have the right perspective because they understand that human lives are at risk. And, for a long time, because we come from physics and even from astronomy backgrounds, you’d be surprised how many climate scientists have a background in astrophysics. We don’t have that sense of we’re doing the science for the human race. And so our idea of what’s conservative is completely head over heels, topsy turvy.

[musical interlude]

Interview Part Three

Stump:

So you mentioned earlier that the people that are going to be affected most are the least of these, poorer nations and poorer people that are gonna suffer. And we’ve sometimes talked about this in terms of what’s going to happen in the future. But can you tell us what are some of the things that are happening right now around the world where the effects of climate change are absolutely clear and are affecting people in these ways?

Hayhoe:

Well, it used to be that you had to go up to the Arctic or maybe to a low lying Island in the South Pacific to see the evidence of climate change with your own eyes, whether it was glaciers receding, permafrost thawing, coastlines eroding, sea level rising. But today that’s no longer true. Today, wherever we live, we can see it happening with our own eyes. I was at church picking up my son from Sunday school a little while ago, and one of the other dads was standing there. I didn’t know him very well, but we were just chatting, and he turned to me, said, “You know,” he said, “I’ve lived here for 30 years. It is getting weird. The weather is weird. Anybody can tell that all you need is the eyes in your head to see that something is different today.” And I was like, “Preach it brother.” So what we see happening is we see that the natural risks that we already face in the places where we live, many of them are getting stronger or they’re getting more intense or they’re getting more damaging or some of them are also getting more frequent.

But if you live, for example, in Minnesota you’re not getting hit by hurricanes, but what you are seeing is that heavy rainfall is increasing and flood risk is increasing to the point where in some places people’s personal home insurance has gone up by 300% because of the increased flood risk. If you live in California, you know that wildfires are a natural part of the ecosystem there. But we know that the area burned by wildfires has already almost doubled since the 1980s. So when a wildfire comes as they often do primarily due to human ignition, when a wildfire starts, the hotter and drier conditions mean that on average it’s burning twice the area than it would without. If we live along the Gulf coast, we know that hurricanes are a normal part of life there, but hurricanes are fed by warm ocean water. And over 90% of the heat that’s being trapped by this extra blanket we’re wrapping around the planet is going into the oceans where it’s powering much stronger storms.

So we don’t see more frequent hurricanes, but we see that when they come they are bigger, and they are stronger, and they have a lot more rainfall associated with them than they would’ve a hundred years ago. So, no matter where we live, we’re starting to see these changes affect us. But what we see is almost inconceivable compared to what you see in poor countries. Already, climate change has increased the economic gap between the richest and the poorest countries in the world by 25% in some cases. 25%. 

Stump:

Why is that?

Hayhoe:

It’s because they, when your system is already vulnerable, when the crops fail and the droughts come, or the floods come, or as sea level rises or the hurricane hits, you don’t have crop insurance. You don’t have a nice healthy bank account, you don’t have the national guard, you don’t have FEMA, you don’t have insurance companies, you don’t have anything to help. You lose everything.

And so in terms of crop losses, we’ve been losing an average of $5 billion a year in crop losses, mostly in poor countries since the 1980s due to a changing climate. Due to the fact that rainfall patterns which used to, you know, you’d have the dry season, and the wet season, and the dry season, the wet season. Well, now, the dry season is lasting much longer and then when the wet season comes, it just dumps. For example, the monsoon is a normal part of life in India and Bangladesh. But two years ago in September, one third of the entire country of Bangladesh was underwater during the monsoon. That is not normal, and what that does to people’s homes, to their livelihoods, to their crops, to their farms. It’s just really unbelievable. They are on the front lines, and they’re already suffering the impacts today.

Stump:

Okay. I want to end by talking about some more hopeful things, but just before we get there, can you project out some of those same kinds of things you’re just talking about for the future if we don’t change our behavior and keep dumping more and more carbon into… What are going to be the kinds of effects of a two degree Celsius temperature increase? What will it be like in Bangladesh, in India, then, or in Africa when the climate changes that much?

Hayhoe:

So we have already seen a 1℃ increase in the average temperature of the planet, and we already have at least another half degree baked in due to our past choices. It’s kind of like, you know, if you sat down and you smoked a pack of cigarettes a day for a week there would be some lung damage. But if you keep on smoking week after week, month after month, the damage starts to accumulate. And even if you stopped smoking, you would still have some of that damage there. So, in the same way, we still have a little bit that’s going to happen no matter what. And that’s why preparing for and adapting for those changes is so important. Building resilience, recognizing that it’s going to be warmer, it’s going to be hotter, there are going to be stronger storms. So what can we do to prepare for that so we’re not taken unaware is really important. It’s not about saving the planet. The planet is going to be orbiting the sun until God decides it’s not. [laughter]

Stump:

Right.

Hayhoe:

It isn’t about saving the planet. It’s about us. Our civilization is going to have to make some very serious adjustments. But our political system, our economic system, our agriculture, and food, and water systems, they will be able to survive. If we wean ourselves off fossil fuels and manage to keep the warming below two degrees, we will still be able to survive with our geopolitical boundaries, with our economic systems, with our infrastructure in our homes. But if we continue on our current pathway, and we don’t change our ways, it’s kind of as if you go to the doctor, and the doctor says, “well, you know, your arteries are 30% blocked. So either you change your lifestyle, you change your diet, you change your exercise habits, and you take some medication, or you’re going to end up on the surgery table.” And I don’t know how things are going to go.

So that’s the situation we’re at today because it is our civilization that is on the line. It is our economic systems. It is our infrastructure that’s built for the conditions we had in the past, not the future. It’s our ability to grow our food and drink water. It’s our health that’s on the line. One out of every six deaths around the world is already related to pollution. Much of that is due to fossil fuel use. So that is the difference. And if we continue on our current pathway, who knows what the impact will be, the poorest countries in the world could lose 75% of their economic productivity, pushing them into absolutely abject poverty beyond what we can even imagine today. We here, ourselves, would, you know, the insurance industry wouldn’t be able to cope. Our food systems would break down. Our infrastructure wouldn’t be prepared for what’s coming.

We’d see massive migration of hundreds of millions of people inland from the coastlines, which is where a lot of our infrastructure is located from homes and buildings to ports and wastewater treatment facilities. It would be really hard to even wrap our minds around the scale of the change. But we know one thing, it wouldn’t be good. It is not going to be good for any of us. And it’s going to be worse for the poorest people right here at home as well as on the other side of the world. So just as an example, when heat waves hit, when flooding hits, people who are homeless, people who live on the street, people who rely on public transportation, those are the people who are already disproportionately impacted today, whether they live in Boulder, Colorado or Miami, Florida, and when you go outside the US it’s even worse.

So the bottom line with climate change is there is hope, and the hope is this: The hope is that our actions will make a difference. We have been given a tremendous responsibility by God. God says, “Here, I’m not going to treat you like a bunch of robots that don’t have freewill. I am giving you the ability to make decisions.” “I am giving you,” as Paul tells Timothy, “I’m not giving you a spirit of fear. I’m giving you a spirit of power to act, a spirit of love to have compassion on others.” And as a scientist, my favorite one, “a sound mind to make good decisions” based on the facts that God has given us and his creation is telling us loud and clear the future is in our hands. Now is the time to make a good decision.

Stump:

Okay. So let’s talk a little bit more about how we might do that. We’ve heard the science here from you now and we’ve gotten into this effective communication of that science. I think when I started working for BioLogos, I had this idea that if we could just clearly explain the science and plop that down on the table in front of somebody who is denying it, that would be sufficient to win them over. Turns out it doesn’t quite work that way. Right?

Hayhoe:

No.

Stump:

I think in your Ted Talk you said everybody has the values they need to care about a changing climate. We just need to connect the dots to show them. So somehow we need to tap into these values that people already have. Can you talk us through how that works?

Hayhoe:

Absolutely. So in a nutshell, this problem is being caused by the fact that not only are we relying on very old ways to get energy, we’ve been using coal since the middle ages. I mean, what other type of technology are we still using besides books that date back that far. And, even books, you know, we have Nooks, and we have Kindles. So we are relying on a very old and dirty way to get energy. It’s dirty because it contributes massively to air pollution. I mean, air pollution alone in the United States kills 200,000 people a year.

Imagine if the coronavirus killed 200,000 people in the US every year. It would be a state of emergency and panic. Yet, somehow, we’ve gotten used to air pollution because it’s just been with us for so long. But that doesn’t mean it’s right, especially when the poorest people here in the US are those most affected by it. So the problem is that we haven’t transitioned our energy systems. We need energy. Today more than ever. We need resources, water, and food too. But we need to get those in ways that do not pollute our air and our water and in ways that provide for those who don’t have the resources that we’ve been blessed with. And I truly do mean that because I believe that fossil fuels are a blessing. The reason that we are even talking today is because we grew up in industrialized countries where fossil fuels have greatly increased our lifespan. In the most developed country in the world, the UK, from 1800 until now, the average lifespan doubled from 40 to 80 years.

And the main reason for that was fossil fuels. Think about refrigeration, transportation, medical advances, technological advances. They’ve all happened thanks to fossil fuels, and I’m profoundly grateful for that. But today we have other ways to get our energy. And, today, in much of the US, wind and solar is already cheaper than natural gas, and it’s always cheaper than coal. In many parts of the world, it’s cheaper too. And what we don’t realize is that fossil fuels are actually very highly subsidized. In the US alone, they’re subsidized to the tune of $650 billion a year, which exceeds the Pentagon’s budget and is 10 times more than the US spends on education. Globally, they are subsidized at 6% of the entire world’s GDP. So while individual choices can absolutely make a difference—and I’d like to talk a little bit about those cause there’s some really fun ones there—while individual choices make a difference, we need a system wide change.

And that’s why the most important single thing that anybody can do is use the voice that God has given us—along with that sound mind and that spirit of love and power—use the voice that we have to tell people, “Hey, this thing is real. It affects us in ways that matter to us personally, and there are solutions.” Solutions like using the free market to put a price on carbon solutions, like investing in clean energy solutions like the World Evangelical Alliance, which aims to put solar on one out of every five roofs of all the churches, schools and facilities they have around the world. Solutions that help to put carbon back in the soil where we want it. So carbon farming, reforestation, clean cookstove programs in developing countries. There are these types of solutions, but talking about it. And then number two, joining an organization that shares our values and amplifies our voice. I love organizations like Young Evangelicals for Climate Action who have tens of thousands of members around the country who are all advocating for climate solutions and clean energy. 

And then the third most important thing we can do is talk to people who make decisions. Whether it’s us making decisions for our families, whether it’s people at church say, “Hey, we need an energy audit of the church, so we’re not wasting our money on energy that just literally goes out the window. But we’re reducing our carbon footprint, reducing our budget. We’re saving money to actually use, to help with missions or to help with poverty, to help with our kids’ programs.” Talk to people at our city, talk to people at our state level, talk to our elected representatives and say, “I’m a Christian, and this is what I care about.”

And, because of that, we need solutions. We need to have electric cars that are at the same price or cheaper than gas powered cars. We need to be able to get our energy from clean sources that don’t pollute the air and the water. We need to be able to make choices for our home. Like, things that we do is, you know, the fact that we have LED light bulbs, hang up the clothes to dry, eat less beef because eating beef especially produces a lot of heat trapping gases. I buy carbon credits when I fly through a Christian organization called Climate Stewards, which invests in poor countries through tree planting, and climate smart agriculture, and clean cookstove programs. And I want to keep flying, but I want to be able to fly on an airplane that’s powered by biofuels. And you know what? That already exists. United airlines is flying flights on biofuels out of the LA airport. But I want that to be global. We need solutions that actually help rather than hurt us. And that is why using our voice to advocate for change is the single most important thing that anyone can do based on our values and what we believe to be true.

Stump:

Some people who are opposed to these kinds of solutions think that the coming difficulties have been overblown, that it’s not really going to be that bad. On the other hand though, there are people who are almost resigned to the extinction of the human race because of how bad it’s going to get. You’ve said that fear is not going to motivate us to make the kinds of changes that are necessary here, but instead we need rational hope. Can you tell us about that rational hope that we ought to have in light of all of these things that you’ve told us about?

Hayhoe:

Absolutely. So often the loudest voices that we hear are voices that sound angry, but they have fear behind them. In some cases, it’s fear that the only solutions to climate change are ones that are fundamentally inconsistent with my values. People who fear that, again, communism or socialism are destroying the economy or, even, abortion are the only solutions to climate change. And, again, frankly, if those were the only solutions, I wouldn’t be on board with those either. But at the other end of the spectrum, we have people who are really panicked because it’s like you’re in a giant ship heading straight for the iceberg, and you’re accelerating, and it just seems like nobody’s paying attention. And so those people are really scared too. We know from looking at the science that things are not going to be better than we think. If anything, they’re likely to be worse than we think.

So the choices that we make today really do matter, but we have to make those choices not only to avoid what we want to avoid, but in hope of a better future. Because the better future is what will inspire us. A future where people have enough food to eat, a future where we can drink water that doesn’t make us sick. A future where air pollution doesn’t kill almost 9 million people around the world. A future where there is a healthy economy, where there are resources for all. A future where we are able to show our love for each other through providing for our physical needs and ensuring a safe world for ourselves and for our children. We need that vision of a better future because fear will help us outrun the bear, but fear will not motivate long-term action. And with climate change, we are in this for the long haul. It took 300 years to get us to this point. It’s not going to be all fixed in three years. We need to recognize that for every two steps we take forward, there will be a step back. We are trying to do something that we’ve never done before, which is accelerate the transition of our economy off an old source of energy to a new one. And for that we need that hope. 

And here’s the interesting thing for us as Christians, our hope doesn’t come from circumstances. Our hope doesn’t come from things going our way or from good things happening. As it says in the book of Romans, suffering—so interestingly, a verse about hope begins with suffering—suffering produces character, and character produces perseverance, and perseverance produces hope, and our hope will not disappoint because it is not based on what people will do. People will always fail us.

We even fail ourselves. Our hope is based on a single immutable source. And that is God. So we have the hope that God has put us here for a reason. He has poured out his love into our hearts. He has given us not a spirit of fear. That spirit of fear does not come from God. He has given us a spirit of power to act, of love, to care for others and a sound mind, again, to make good decisions because we do not know what the future holds. But we know that we are called to be present here in this moment to be God’s hands and feet in this world.

Stump:

Well, thank you so much for talking to us. You’re exercising your own advice there and sharing what you care about. Your rational hope is infectious in that way. At least it is for me. It gives me great hope and courage that there are solutions to come for this. And we’re so pleased to be joining with you in talking about this and having you come to our little mini-conference next fall. We look forward to seeing you then.

Hayhoe:

Me too. Thank you so much for having me.

[musical interlude]

Recommended Resources

Stump:

Are there some resources you could point us to for people who are interested in digging in more to this and finding solutions for their communities and organizations?

Hayhoe:

I would be delighted to give people resources because we have just touched on the tip of that particular iceberg. So, first of all, for the broad picture on solutions, not just wind turbines and solar panels, but carbon farming, and regenerative agriculture, and smart waste disposal, and bio-diesel, and all kinds of really creative solutions that help us in all different ways, there’s a great resource called Project Drawdown. You can find it online at drawdown.org. It’s also a book, and it will take you through some amazing and surprising solutions that you had no idea about, that you’re going to read and you’re going to be like, “Yes, this is fantastic. Of course we need to be doing this.” And, then, we also have a series called Global Weirding on YouTube. They are short videos that address common questions including, you know, I’m just one person, what can I do? Or I’m a kid, what am I supposed to do? Or, you know, what about poor people? Or, isn’t that clean energy just too expensive? So the global weirding videos address those types of questions.

And then in terms of further resources, the Evangelical Environmental Network has a lot of great resources. And if you are a church, or a seminary, or a Christian organization, there is this great organization run by a guy called Colby Mae who does energy audits for churches specifically to come in—he does this both as a business and as a mission, as a nonprofit—coming in to say, all right, let’s look at how you spend your money on energy. Let’s look at cutting that so you save money and reduce your carbon footprint, and then you can use that money to reinvest in people’s lives. His organization is called LIT “lit” consulting.

So the final resource that I would recommend is climatecaretakers.org. Climate Caretakers is an organization that is really built on the premise that, as Christians, we’re designed to act in community. We are part of a body, we all have different functions, and different roles, different abilities, and different gifts. But acting together is who we are supposed to be. So, if you sign up for their mailing list, Climate Caretakers will send you a suggestion every month of one thing that you can do. And if you’ve already done it, they’ll actually have something else on the list. And they’ll also have something that we can pray about too, which is so important. So sign up for Climate Caretakers. Checkout Project Drawdown. Checkout our Global Weirding episodes, and you can find me on social media if you have any questions to follow up.

[musical interlude]

Credits

BioLogos:

Language of God is produced by BioLogos. It has been funded in part by the John Templeton Foundation and more than 300 individuals who donated to our crowdfunding campaign. Language of God is produced and mixed by Colin Hoogerwerf. More music available at the link in our shownotes. Our theme song is by Breakmaster Cylinder. We are produced out of the BioLogos offices in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

If you have questions or want to join in a conversation about this episode find a link in the show notes for the BioLogos forum. Find more episodes of Language of God on your favorite podcast app or at our website, biologos.org, where you will also find tons of great articles and resources on faith and science. Finally, if you’re enjoying the show and want to help us out, leave a review on iTunes, we love hearing from and it helps other people find the show. Thanks. 


Featured guest

Katharine Hayhoe's Headshot

Katharine Hayhoe

Katharine Hayhoe is the Political Science Endowed Professor in Public Policy and Public Law in the Department of Political Science, a director of the Climate Center, and an associate in the Public Health program of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Texas Tech University. She and her husband wrote A Climate for Change: Global Warming Facts for Faith-Based Decisions, a book that untangles the complex science and tackles many long-held misconceptions about global warming. Her TED talk titled “the most important thing you can do to fight climate change: talk about it” has been viewed over 2.5 million times.


3 posts about this topic

Join the conversation on Discourse

At BioLogos, “gracious dialogue” means demonstrating the grace of Christ as we dialogue together about the tough issues of science and faith.

Join the Conversation