Book Reviews

Book Review: “Weathering Climate Change” by Hugh Ross

Hugh Ross is the founder of Reasons to Believe, a science-faith think-tank that approaches the topics from an Old Earth Creationist perspective. Ross’s latest book, Weathering Climate Change, presents a view of climate change from that same perspective. Ross, however, does not succumb to the pitfalls of denying climate change or trying to sugarcoat humanity’s impact on it. Instead, the book provides an in-depth look at the factors causing climate change, its potential impact, on ways that humanity might mitigate some of the impact, all set alongside a perspective that sees humanity as called by God to care for creation.

The majority of the book is occupied by presenting readers with the data. This is surely intentional, given the vast array of misinformation available a click away online. Ross presents chart after chart with data from reputable sources, showing the clear fact that what we’re experiencing now is irregular and not simply part of a broader pattern of Earth’s climate change. However, he also notes the historical data and how the Earth has undergone severe climate changes, and notes that our current period of relative stability is an exception.

That said, Ross doesn’t use that climate change to dismiss our current situation–time and again, he notes the severe nature of human impact on the climate and demonstrates that it is much more than another part of Earth’s natural cycle. This care for approaching the data, both modern and ancient, means that Ross is able to present readers with a fuller picture, hopefully leading them to grasp more accurately the state of the climate today.

Ross also analyzes several paths forward to combat climate change. What’s interesting is that he offers these while recognizing human’s sinful propensity to avoid long term problems and continue harmful behaviors that make them comfortable. Many of these solutions are outside of the box. For example, ending all consumption of red meat would make a huge impact, but it would also drive black markets for red meat and many likely would rebel against restrictions on such consumption. So an alternative solution, offers Ross, is to switch the kind of red meat consumed. In a surprising turn, he argues that ostriches could provide a middle way, allowing people to consume red meat (apparently similar to beef), while also mitigating much of the methane (and other) problem(s) related to wide consumption of beef.

Other, more enormous solutions, are also proposed. Re-planting parts of the Sahara, creating massive solar panels that can both block some sunlight while using it for energy, and more are analyzed both for the potential impact they could have and also for their practicality. It’s a quite refreshing turn, and certainly not what skeptics of creationism (honestly, including myself), might expect from someone who’s avowedly a creationist (of the Old Earth variety). The presentation of the data, analysis of solutions, and look at long-term trends are all, so far as this reviewer can tell (as someone who reads science texts but is by no means an expert), quite accurate and informative.

Ross also offers all of this alongside comments that the trends are part of God’s plan for humanity, allowing for humans to be–on his view–created at just the right moment for use of fossil fuels, for climate stability, and more. While some readers may balk at this, it is imperative to underscore the importance of a work like this, that introduces audiences who might otherwise not interact with the climate change data to hard science that backs up broader scientific consensus.

Weathering Climate Change is an unexpected delight. Ross offers a thorough look at the evidence for climate change, the recent history of Earth’s climate (in geologic terms), and potential solutions from the perspective of a creationist, without ever balking at the scientific challenges to his own perspective. He also offers it alongside his characteristic grace with competing views and his heart for speaking about God to those who will hear. I recommend it, even if you (like me), do not necessarily agree with all of his position. It will inform you and maybe even surprise you, as it did me.

Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of the book for review by the publisher. I was not required to give any specific kind of feedback whatsoever.

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SDG.

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About J.W. Wartick

J.W. Wartick is a Lutheran, feminist, Christ-follower. A Science Fiction snob, Bonhoeffer fan, Paleontology fanboy and RPG nerd.

Discussion

11 thoughts on “Book Review: “Weathering Climate Change” by Hugh Ross

  1. On what grounds did you delete my previous comment here?

    Posted by Ralph Westfall | May 26, 2020, 6:28 PM
    • When did you comment and with what?

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | May 26, 2020, 7:34 PM
      • Thank you for getting back to me, JW. Here it is:

        5/21/20————————- If the science behind the climate change narrative is so solid, why have there been so many inaccurate predictions? For example, the Arctic being sea-ice-free by 2018 (or 2013, 2014, 2015 or 2016). The West Side Highway in New York being underwater in 20 years from 1988 or 1989. No more snow on Mt. Kilimanjaro. Whole nations being wiped off the map by the year 2000. Previous forecasts from most climate models being substantially higher than what actually happened. https://cei.org/blog/wrong-again-50-years-failed-eco-pocalyptic-predictions [https://cei.org/sites/default/files/climate%20temperature_2.PNG] Wrong Again: 50 Years of Failed Eco-pocalyptic Predictions | Competitive Enterprise Institute – cei.org Modern doomsayers have been predicting climate and environmental disaster since the 1960s. They continue to do so today. None of the apocalyptic predictions with due dates as of today have come true. What follows is a collection of notably wild predictions from notable people in government and science. cei.org

        And if the science behind the climate change narrative is so solid, why are the people involved with it demonizing qualified scientists who disagree with various aspects of the narrative? https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/apr/16/james-cook-university-professor-peter-ridds-sacking-ruled-unlawful [https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/3b429a4936840cc2ab9e943e66a93e0804f4077f/46_0_4516_2710/master/4516.jpg?width=1200&height=630&quality=85&auto=format&fit=crop&overlay-align=bottom%2Cleft&overlay-width=100p&overlay-base64=L2ltZy9zdGF0aWMvb3ZlcmxheXMvdGctYWdlLTIwMTkucG5n&enable=upscale&s=863d396dc9c20bfa7906f47e91af91c0] James Cook University professor Peter Ridd’s sacking ruled unlawful | Environment | The Guardian James Cook University professor Peter Ridd’s sacking ruled unlawful This article is more than 1 year old. Physics head dismissed after criticising scientific research about climate change impact … http://www.theguardian.com

        In Christ,

        Dave (I share the name Ralph David with my father, so my family called me Dave and I go by that at church)

        Best regards,

        Ralph Dave Westfall Professor Emeritus, California Polytechnic University Pomona

        Break the cycle of poverty http://www.hopeinternational.org/

        ________________________________

        Posted by Ralph D. Westfall | May 26, 2020, 8:36 PM
      • With the caveat that I am not a scientist, I will try to respond to a few points you made.

        First, you wrote “If the science behind the climate change narrative is so solid, why have there been so many inaccurate predictions?”

        To my knowledge as a lay-person, science works through making predictions, which are often falsified, and then improving the theory/making a new theory and/or hypothesis. Inaccurate predictions can disprove parts of a theory and even force one to go back to the drawing board, but cherry-picking certain failed predictions and ignoring the overall weight of evidence does not do much to shift the overall inference. The best explanation still seems to be real climate changed that is being caused by humans. Several predictions about what that might end up entailing may be wrong or end up being wrong, but that doesn’t undermine the whole body of evidence. If a few puzzle pieces don’t fit, they don’t belong in the puzzle, but that doesn’t mean there is no puzzle.

        The link you used for the “Wrong again” article is not from climate scientists, nor from experts in the field, but is rather a collection of newspaper clippings, which as many scientists bemoan, frequently exaggerate and misrepresent findings. Even if every single one is accurate and shows failed predictions, my point above still stands. Moreover, a real question of why we should trust an organization that is a “non-profit public policy organization dedicated to advancing the principles of limited government, free enterprise, and individual liberty” over scientists talking about their own field of expertise is beyond me.

        A link showing one scientist getting sacked in an unlawful way hardly disproves a point about scientific research or consensus. It may, however, show corruption at one university or in one part of a community. I don’t know enough to make a judgment, but would be very surprised that you or anyone would consistently point to a single scenario like this to disprove many, many other ideas or theories.

        Thank you for commenting, and I appreciate it! Again, apologies for not seeing your comment. I truly never do check my spam folder given how hugely full it is.

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | May 26, 2020, 9:20 PM
      • Thank you for getting back to me, JW.

        Please see comments below marked with **.

        In Christ,

        Dave (I share the name Ralph David with my father, so my family called me Dave and I go by that at church)

        Best regards,

        Ralph Dave Westfall Professor Emeritus, California Polytechnic University Pomona

        Break the cycle of poverty http://www.hopeinternational.org/

        ________________________________

        Posted by Ralph D. Westfall | May 27, 2020, 12:18 AM
      • Did I miss a comment? I don’t see any comments marked with ** or anything. I also don’t see any other comments in the spam folder.

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | May 27, 2020, 5:51 PM
      • Hi JW:

        I replied to the copy of your posting above that was sent to my email. The lower part of my reply contained my comments marked with **. It didn’t bounce back as undeliverable so it must have gotten through. Perhaps it went to some other folder in your email?

        Posted by Ralph Westfall | May 29, 2020, 1:42 AM
      • Apologies for the delay, I will check tomorrow. At work so don’t have access to spam folder on this site.

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | May 29, 2020, 6:44 PM
      • This is the only comment I saw, and there doesn’t appear to be any comments marked with ** on it. Nothing is in spam.

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | May 30, 2020, 9:59 AM
      • Ah ha! I deleted my previous comment, because I dug through my spam comments–over 1000 spam comments caught recently–and found it. I think the link-heavy nature of your post led to it being automatically sent to spam.

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | May 26, 2020, 9:12 PM
  2. Please check your “spam comments,” JW. I replied to the email notifying me about your response above.

    Posted by Ralph Westfall | May 27, 2020, 12:25 AM

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