Climate or Nuclear War

People are saying that climate change is the greatest threat to human life ever experienced. I don't believe that is true. The greatest threat to life on earth is nuclear war, but more on that soon.

Climate Forecasting

Like economic forecasting, climate forecasting is not true science. The scientific method works by conducting repeatable experiments to test whether a well-defined hypothesis is true or not.

Climate change occurs over long periods of time and affects the whole world, so it is impossible to set up a repeatable experiment to determine if the hypothesis of anthropomorphic climate change is correct.

Climate scientists have to do what economists do. They set up models, with numerous assumptions and equations that approximate the real world to see what results the model produces. The problem is that models are only solvable, if there are sufficient restrictive assumptions in place. But the more assumptions that are used, the less the model actually reflects the real world, and therefore the less unreliable the results.

Politicians claim that there is a scientific consensus about climate change, but science does not work by consensus; that's what politicians try to do. Scientists work by testing well-defined hypotheses with repeatable experiments. Economists have the same problem. Their models only work if they impose restrictive assumptions that make the models unrealistic. This is why economists disagree about everything.

The world economy and the climate system are both extremely complex, so it is almost impossible to create realistic computer models that reflect their workings accurately. Just as it is impossible to predict the effects of a particular economic policy, it is impossible to accurately predict climate change. You can observe trends, but the direction of a trend usually depends on the length of the observation period. It is very difficult to separate the trend from the noise, especially in complex systems, like weather. And you never know whether a trend will continue, or reverse.

So, we have to be open-minded about climate change. The climate is definitely changing, because that is what climate does. Climate is defined as the small changes in the weather that occur over time. However, we cannot be certain whether the changes we observe over time will continue into the future.


The most important thing is that climate change is gradual. This means that no matter how climate changes, humans will have time to adapt. That will be painful for some people who have to make the change. However, adapting to change is what humans are good at.

Farmers have always adapted to the climate. I grew up on a farm. In the 1960s, we experienced a decade of frequent droughts. We didn't give up, but changed the way we farmed. We stopped growing wheat crops, as there was insufficient moisture. And we got rid of our beef breeding cows, because during dry years there was insufficient grass to feed them. We adapted to a temporary change in climate. That is what farmers do.

If sea levels rise, people living by the coast may find that their houses are uninhabitable. They will need to migrate to places where they are safe from coastal erosion. This should not be seen as unusual.

People have always migrated when the place where they were living becomes untenable. Abraham migrated from Ur to Canaan. Joseph and Mary migrated to Egypt when they were unsafe in Nazareth.

In the 19th century, crofting in Scotland became impossible due to the enclosure of land by large-scale absentee farmers. My great grandparents migrated across the world to New Zealand to find a safer place to live. More recently, many Americans migrated from the great lakes area to the south to get jobs when the auto industry declined. Most of the people living in Europe are descendants of migrants, if they go back far enough. People have always migrated in response to trials of all kinds.

With climate change, some places will improve, and other places will get worse. People will need to shift from the latter to the former. The dislocation will be painful, but it is what people do.

During the warm period around the year 1000, agriculture patterns in the UK and Europe changed dramatically. People adapted to the slowly changing climate conditions. We will have to do the same, if the climate does change significantly.

These factors will enable us to adapt to climate change. It will be painful, and incomes might drop significantly, but humans will adapt. The end of the world will not come.

Government Control

A real concern about the climate change movement is that it will lead to a massive increase in state power. Those who are concerned about climate change are not satisfied with changing their own practices and persuading others to change too. They want their government to force everyone to change what they buy and how they live. They want governments to force businesses to change the way that they operate.

It is not totally clear what changes will reduce emissions of greenhouse gases the quickest. It is easy to point the finger at someone else and demand that the government force them to change.

I suspect the concern about climate change will result in a huge increase in the power of governments, which will spread into all aspects of life. No good will come from it.

God Missing

A problem with the climate change debate is that God is left out of all discussion. This is foolish, because the scriptures explain that God has a strong influence on the weather.

He provides rain for the earth; he sends water on the countryside (Job 5:10).
Praise the LORD from the earth, lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding (Psalm 148:7-8).
He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills (Psalm 147:8).
The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. The sky over your head will be bronze, the ground beneath you iron. The LORD will turn the rain of your country into dust and powder (Deut 28:12,23-24).

God has a powerful influence on the weather. So, if the climate changes, the first thing we should do is ask what God is doing. If the climate is deteriorating, it might be because God has been aggrieved and has withdrawn his blessing. So instead of assuming that climate change is caused by humans, we should seek God and find out what he is saying about the situation.

When droughts and storms arise, it could be because we have opened ourselves up to the spiritual powers of evil. They love to kill and destroy. They sometimes use the weather to wreak destruction on earth. If that is the case, we should seek the deliverance of God. More on this theme at Global Climate Change

Nuclear War

As I said at the beginning, I consider that nuclear war is a far greater risk to human life on earth than climate change.

People seem to have forgotten that belligerent military personnel in several nations are constantly poised ready to push the nuclear button. A dozen countries have nuclear weapons. If any one country launched, others are likely to respond quickly.

The United States has recently moved nuclear weapons into Europe, close to Russian. The problem with this is that it leaves very little time to decide if a radar signal is a genuine attack, or a false alarm. Targeted countries will be tempted to launch quickly while they can to be on the safe side.

Modern nuclear weapons are far more powerful than the ones dropped on Hiroshima. A nuclear war in which a couple of nations launched a few dozen weapons would have a terrible effect on the world. I am amazed that people seem to mostly have stopped protesting against them.

Total war is prohibited by the Bible. Those engaged in war are prohibited from attacking and damaging the land (Deut 20:19-20). The land belongs to God, so it is not to be harmed (Lev 25:23). An attack on the land is an attack on God. The same protection would apply to women and children. Non-combatants should always be protected.

This prohibition makes nuclear war unacceptable. Nuclear weapons would harm the land and non-combatants. The same principle would rule out many modern weapons. Nuclear weapons and neutron bombs do so much damage that there will rarely be a cause that would justify their use.

The greatest danger is declining empires. When an empire is in decline, the risk of an insecure leader doing something stupid rises enormously. The world was lucky to get through the collapse of the Soviet Union unscathed. We were fortunate that Mikhail Gorbachev was a good man.

The American Empire now seems to be collapsing and its leaders seem to be becoming more and more dysfunctional. This is a huge risk for the world. The risk that an insecure American President will lash out to preserve his failing empire is a serious risk. The US has such a large arsenal of weapons that this would be a disaster for the world. I fear that more than I fear climate change.