That’s a defense to skepticism offered by Texas Tech professor Katharine Hayhoe, the author of the climate chapter in Newt Gingrich’s upcoming book on the environment.
As reported on National Public Radio’s web site, Hayhoe has four ways of defusing skeptics:
1. You don’t have to agree on everything. Hayhoe says that “many erroneously believe that it’s necessary to agree on evolution and an old Earth in order to agree on climate change.” She counters that mankind has only been having a massive impact on the climate since the Industrial Revolution 400 years ago. “By separating these issues from each other,” she writes “it’s possible for people who disagree on creation and evolution to agree on climate.”
2. The facts are all around you. Hayhoe suggests that instead of only looking at global and historical data of climate change, skeptics start looking in their own yards: “trees and plants flowering earlier in the year, birds migrating southward later, insects and invasive species moving northward.” Some of the best evidence indicating a warming planet is right before our eyes, she says.
3. This isn’t just another cycle. There is no natural factor or cycle of the sun to fault for climate change, Hayhoe says. “There is no natural explanation for the change we see today,” she writes. “According to natural factors, we should be cooling.”
4. What would Jesus do on a warming planet? That’s easy, Hayhoe says. Jesus “told us to love our neighbor as ourselves; and today, it’s our global neighbors—the poor and needy, the disadvantaged and hopeless—who are already being affected by climate change,” she writes. Natural disasters, rising seas and extreme temperatures are affecting (and taking) life across the globe, she says. “To ignore their cries and cast scorn on those who attempt to draw our attention to their plight is not a response of love; it is acting out of fear, and God is not the author of fear,” she writes.