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Can true Christians learn anything from the recent Climate Change Conference?

What you are referring to is the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) which was held in Glasgow on 31 October – 12 November 2021.  This event is a global United Nations summit about so-called climate change and how countries are planning to tackle it.

On the BBC website is an article entitled “Climate change: What is it and why is everyone talking about it?” https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/45880633

This website states that “When we talk about climate change, we are talking about global changes in the Earth’s average temperature.  The Earth’s average temperature moves up and down naturally, but it has been increasing more rapidly than it usually does. This change is impacting on the planet’s environment – which is everything natural around us; rivers, trees, plants, animals… everything!

“Scientists say many of the changes to the Earth’s climate are caused by human activity – this means things that humans are doing. Some of those things are: the burning of oil, coal and gas, waste, deforestation and urbanization and population growth.

“Scientists say the world is about one degree Celsius warmer than it was 300 years ago when the Industrial Revolution started and people began to work in factories. A very influential 2018 report by an international group of scientists said that if the planet’s temperature goes up by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, it will cause huge problems for the planet. Melting ice in places like the Arctic and Antarctic would lead to a rise in the Earth’s sea levels, flooding many coastal areas and islands. Extreme weather like heatwaves, droughts and storms would happen more often and become more severe.

“The 2018 report encouraged world leaders to make climate change a priority. It said countries needed to work together to limit the rise in temperature rise to 1.5 degrees and stop changes to the planet that would be a catastrophe for life on Earth.”

To clarify, we do not necessarily agree with the concept of man-made global warming or climate change, as presented by scientists and described in the above article. There are still many unanswered questions, including reports to the effect that data has been strongly manipulated to “prove” “man-made climate change.” Some scientists even go so far as to say that we are not overserving global warming, but rather another ice age. The late producer and inventor/originator of the American “Weather Channel” was a strong opponent of the concept of man-made climate change and filed numerous lawsuits to prove errors and misrepresentations, which all were dismissed when he died. The late famous writer Michael Crichton (“Jurassic Park”), who was also a doctor, challenged the concept of climate change as well.

We do not have to concern ourselves in this Q&A with the accuracy or inaccuracy of the concept of man-made climate change as it is the purpose of this Q&A to point out an altogether different problem.

We had a “talking shop” for 13 days with a rush at the end of the conference to agree to a deal acceptable to all those in attendance.

There have been many reports around the world about this conference, and for the sake of brevity we will just choose one report.   The Daily Mail reported on 14th November 2021 that “Cop26 president Alok Sharma today warned China and India they would have to ‘justify’ political scheming that hamstrung a global climate deal to protect their coal interests.   The Cabinet minister rounded on the Asian nations after the Glasgow summit last night agreed a watered-down deal on climate change following their last-gasp intervention. The Glasgow Pact was watered down at the last minute with the wording on a section covering unabated coal – the burning of coal without climate change mitigating technology – changed from ‘phase out’ to ‘phase down’, leading to angry responses from European and vulnerable countries. Mr Sharma, who appeared on the verge of tears and apologised for the change as Cop ended last night, insisted to Sky News that it had achieved ‘something remarkable’. But he added: China and India are going to have to justify to some of the most climate-challenged nations what happened.’”

There you have it in a nutshell.   Man’s inability to agree on something that they all felt was so important that so many of the world’s nations were gathered, but unable to agree fully on how to go about resolving the issue.

The world has many seemingly insurmountable problems but there is never the will with so many to look at this and many different issues that they all feel are crucial to man’s survival and for the common good.  Self-interest always seems to come to the fore.

What is the approach and understanding of the Church of God of which Jesus Christ is the Head?  True Christians are challenged to come out of the governmental and political systems of this world.

In our Q&A “Are Christians supposed to make this a better world?” we write:

“Jesus, during His earthly ministry, likened this world to a building. In Ephesians 2:20-22 the Church is likened to a building. Jesus, in referring to the present evil world, said it is built on a foundation of the sand of Satan’s way of vanity, covetousness, envy and jealousy, competition and strife, violence, rebellion, contention, unhappiness, suffering and death. THIS WORLD IS DOOMED TO CRASH! And great shall be the fall thereof.

“Jesus did not come to repair or remodel or make over this building — this world — this civilization. Its foundation is faulty — that of Satan. Its superstructure — its systems of government and legal systems of law and justice, its systems of faulty and materialistic education, its religions, its social systems and customs — all its superstructures faulty, producing discontent, unhappiness, contention, competition and strife leading to violence and destruction, anguish, suffering, poverty and death. Those are the supporting columns and beams of the superstructure of the building that is this world. Jesus did not come to reform this world — to bring it a ‘spiritual revival’ — to pray for it or to save it or any of its ways.” (see https://www.globalchurchofgod.co.uk/q-a-13266/)

The Church of God does not get involved in the politics of this world.   The fruits of it are plain to see and only the return of Jesus Christ can set right what is impossible with man in charge, ably guided and directed by Satan who is the god of this world (see 2 Corinthians 4:4).

As mentioned, we are not taking a position on the merits or demerits of the conference itself, nor on the accuracy or inaccuracy of reports, claims, scientific studies and records pertaining to “climate change,” but commenting on how it is impossible for man to fully come together in the perceived interest of all people – and the difference between the conference behaviour and its outcomes when viewed against biblical instruction.

And so, to the question: “Can true Christians learn anything from this conference?  There would have been many well-meaning people attending this conference but a good question to ask is “what were the fruits of it?”

(1) We are told to esteem others better or “higher” than self.  In Philippians 2:3-4 we read: “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better [higher] than himself.  Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”  While this was information given to the Church, by extension, it is a principle that works with those outside the Church too.   There would have been those at the conference who were sincerely trying to resolve what they saw as grave issues for mankind but many others, as evidenced by what happened, were interested mainly in how it seemingly or allegedly affected themselves and their countries.   Selfishness, which we are not to engage in, was on show as representatives of so many countries displayed this in their own narrow self-interest.

(2) The governments of this world don’t have the answers to the continual rise of man’s insoluble problems.  We only have to look at the state of the world we live in to acknowledge that man is out of his depth through his own self-imposed dilemmas.   It will get so bad that Jesus said, as reported in Matthew 24:21-22: “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.  And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.”   This clearly shows that things will get continually worse so that only the intervention of Jesus Christ will resolve man’s problems and put right the wrongs of the last 6,000 years.

(3) This conference highlighted man’s inability to look after this planet properly.   In Genesis 2:15 we read God’s instruction to our forefather, Adam: “Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it.”   Right from the time of the creation of man, God expected him to look after that which had been given to him.   History confirms how badly mismanaged this world has been. This is true regardless of the issue of climate change. We read in Revelation 11:18 that Jesus Christ will return to “destroy those who destroy the earth.”

(4) The objectives that were agreed, it seems, reluctantly by some and were “watered down” to accommodate others, may still not be met by some countries showing that man is regularly unable to keep his word and commitments.   What trust can you put in such people when you know that what they say and do are often two different stories?  In Joshua 21:45 we read: “Not a word failed of any good thing which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass.”   This shows that when God says something He can be trusted.   In 1 Thessalonians 5:24, we read: “He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.”   God’s Word is His bond.   Man fails on a daily basis in this regard.

(5) It appears that concerns raised at this conference are not new.   In our weekly Update number 997 dated 20th November 21, there was a section headed “The Climate Change Scare” which reads as follows:

“The Editorial Board of the New York Post wrote on November 12:

“For the past two weeks in Glasgow, Scotland, world leaders have gathered at COP 26,  the United Nations Climate Change Conference to listen to the same message: Disaster is just around the corner.

“[But] consider this news story from 1972: ‘We have ten years to stop the catastrophe,’ said the UN’s environmental protection boss… for more than 50 years, the United Nations and the media have regularly predicted we’re on the verge of calamity… In 1982, after the catastrophe failed to materialize, the New York Times covered the second UN conference on the environment, which opened ‘amid gloom’. The piece quotes Mostafa K. Tolba, executive director of the United Nations environmental program, as saying that if things aren’t fixed by the turn of the century — the year 2000 — the world would face ‘an environmental catastrophe which will witness devastation as complete, as irreversible, as any nuclear holocaust.’

“In 1989, a senior UN environmental official [said] that if we didn’t fix climate change by 1999, we would have ‘Global disaster, nations wiped off the face of the earth, crop failures’… In 2004, the Guardian newspaper said a ‘secret report’ from the Pentagon to President George W. Bush said climate change would ‘destroy us.’ Among the predictions: Major European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas. Britain is plunged into a ‘Siberian’ climate by 2020. Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt across the world…

“As of 2019, the UN said ‘only 11 years left to prevent irreversible damage from climate change’… That gives us until 2030 — or 58 years after the warnings of 1972. Advocates for change believe if they just scream louder… they’ll get the world to agree to a complete upheaval of modern life and trillions in spending…”

“Buenos Aires Times wrote on November 11:

“Pope Francis warned time was ‘running out’ to save the planet while expressing regret at his absence from climate talks in Glasgow, in a letter published Thursday… ‘this occasion must not be wasted, lest we have to face God’s judgement for our failure to be faithful stewards of the world he has entrusted to our care,’ wrote Francis.”

It is interesting to read how often these issues have been raised in the last half-century and the noises now being made have all been made before.  Many can be “frightened” by the prognostications of doom and gloom but the true Christian doesn’t need to take note of the new religion of climate change activism.   God knows what is going on and what will be needed in the future and our trust must be in Him not in fallible human beings.

In light of the many failed scientific predictions regarding the dangers of climate change and its terrible consequences, the question could be asked as to how real it really is. But again, the concern of this Q&A is to address the inability of man to solve any real or perceived problems.

(6) How many times was God mentioned in this conference about these world crises?   Quite probably His Holy Name was mentioned more in blasphemy than in invoking His help and thanking Him for His wonderful creation.   Satan has done a wonderful job in hiding the truth from the world at large so that God is seen as irrelevant or non-existent to so many.   Anyone expounding the truth about God and His Master Plan of Salvation would have been seen as odd, eccentric, or even worse.   There is no fear of God today.   “They do not say in their heart, ‘Let us now fear the Lord our God, Who gives rain, both the former and the latter, in its season. He reserves for us the appointed weeks of the harvest’” (Jeremiah 5:24).

In Romans 3:9-18, Paul gives a crushing indictment about the Jews and the Greeks at that time, and by extension, mankind right up until today: “What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin. As it is written: ‘There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.’ ‘Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit’; ‘The poison of asps is under their lips’; ‘Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.’ ‘Their feet are swift to shed blood; Destruction and misery are in their ways; And the way of peace they have not known.’ ‘There is no fear of God before their eyes.’”

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary observes: “Here again is shown that all mankind are under the guilt of sin, as a burden; and under the government and dominion of sin, as enslaved to it, to work wickedness. This is made plain by several passages of Scripture from the Old Testament, which describe the corrupt and depraved state of all men, till grace restrain or change them. Great as our advantages are, these texts describe multitudes who call themselves Christians. Their principles and conduct prove that there is no fear of God before their eyes. And where no fear of God is, no good is to be looked for.”

Many will have been genuinely disappointed in the outcome of this long conference, but trust in and reliance on man is both unwise and misguided. The alleged concerns that delegates raised at this conference and all of the many real insurmountable problems that currently exist will not be eliminated by further conferences and agreements or man’s ingenuity, but only by the return of Jesus Christ who alone has the power and wisdom to resolve all of the issues that man has brought on himself.  And yes, Christians can learn from the recent climate change conference in that we must rely on and trust in God alone; and that man’s way and his thoughts need to be replaced by the righteous rule of Christ.

The Bible tells us not to trust in man, only God is totally trustworthy. Psalm 118:8-9 says: “It is better to trust in the Lord Than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord Than to put confidence in princes.  (Also see Psalm 40:3-4, Micah 7:5, Jeremiah 17:5.)

Scholars have identified 1,845 different biblical references to the second coming of Jesus Christ.   He will return to set up the Kingdom of God and, at last, human beings will learn the right way to live.   Based on what is happening in the world right now shows that that time is both necessary and imminent!

Lead Writer: Brian Gale (United Kingdom)