I get very frustrated with climate change news stories. Don’t get me wrong, I believe climate change is real, and I think we are causing it. Nonetheless, the reason people reject news of climate change so vehemently is because the news really is extremely inaccurate and overblown.
Here’s what’s true:
- There are only three places on earth that have enough land-locked ice to raise sea levels.
- Only land-locked ice can raise sea levels.
- The arctic is indeed melting, and if we caused it, this is not good. However, melting arctic ice cannot raise sea levels because it was floating in the sea already.
- The three places with land-locked ice are Greenland, West Antarctica, and East Antarctica.
- Greenland started melting around 2000 or 2001, about ten years after the media was telling us it was already melting. I suspect scientists were warning us of the possibility of melting, and the media turned it into actual melting.
- West Antarctica has been melting for a while. This melting is caused by an increase in sea temperature.
- East Antarctica is not melting … yet.
- East Antarctica has 75% of the world’s landlocked ice. West Antarctice has 15%. Greenland has 10%.
- Thus 75% of the landlocked ice is not melting, and doesn’t really look like it’s going to. However, if it starts, that’s a very, very scary thought.
Now, why did I tell you all this?
Because this week the media is full of false reports of doomsday news about the melting of the Antarctic ice sheets.
Here’s the Yahoo! search results page for “melting antarctic ice sheets.” That will give you 10 news reports, most of them ridiculous.
Here’s how the report should read: “The West Antarctic ice sheet, approximately 15% of the world’s land-locked ice, is melting faster than expected, scientists have discovered. It will still take centuries for it to completely melt, but no increase in melting bodes well for us.”
A headline like “Antarctic Ice Sheet Melting Rapidly: Could Put Miami and New York Underwater” is misleading.
With all the things we US citizens hear in the news, with all the careful analysis of weather and high pressure and low pressure areas, with our interest in forensics through TV shows, are you really going tell me that distinguishing between the West and East Antarctica ice sheets is too much for us to comprehend? It certainly is not lacking in importance. The distinction is hugely important.
My concern is never politics or climate change. My concern is honesty among Christians. We should be an honest, truth-loving people, but how many times have we issued statements much like the misleading headlines on that Yahoo! search page?
It’s one thing for the world to create parties fortified by dishonesty, partisanship, and constant bickering and dissension. It is entirely another for Christians to live like that. We do, though. We do it with politics, with science, and with our pet doctrines.
Time to man up. If our fierce political opinions make us rude or obnoxious, we have lost the path, no matter what you think of Christians’ involvement in politics. If we slander perfectly honest scientists over scientific subjects we are actually quite ignorant about, then we are not doing Jesus a favor. Worst of all, anything that we do that divides disciples from one another is treason to the purposes of God and Jesus, who taught that our love and unity—lived out in obedience to him (2 Tim. 2:19)—were his main testimony to the world (Jn. 13:34-35; 17:20-23).