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IslamQA: A Muslim’s view of climate change

What are your thoughts on climate change? I feel like a lot of the warnings of how climate change will affect the world is similar to the way the End is predicted in Islam. The drying up of the river, earthquakes, a large wildfire driving away people. This question was prompted after reading your optimistic view of the future. I tend to read that we are past the point of no return in regards to climate change and feel very saddened at how much suffering is to come.

Since the 1980′s newspapers have been publishing articles saying we only have 10 years to go before catastrophic climate change takes place. One of the most respected living climate scientists is Richard Lindzen who says it is “climate alarmism” what news sources keep promoting about the dangers of climate change.

I love clean energy and believe that we should do everything possible to stop burning oil even if it has no effect on climate since it still creates a lot of unhealthy pollution. I am also worried about the effects of increasing carbon in the atmosphere because it increases the amount of glucose in foods like wheat, making them less nutritious and more full of empty calories that cause obesity and diabetes.

But I am also very suspicious of climate alarmists because they are not scientifically respectable. They claim there is a “consensus” and pretend people like Richard Lindzen do not exist. Whenever someone claims consensus, whether in Islam or in science, when there is a respected scholar or scientist who disagrees with the supposed consensus, you know the claim of consensus is a falsehood made for propaganda purposes.

I am also very suspicious of the anti-climate change crowd since they seem mostly funded by oil companies and other corrupt sources. So personally I do not trust either camp and believe that there is no conclusive evidence for being pessimistic about the future of the earth. As technology improves we will find more and more ways to reduce carbon emissions and maybe start taking carbon out of the atmosphere. I know many say we have already reached the point of no return, but I do not trust such alarmist claims. We simply do not know about the earth’s climate to say whether the point of no return is now or in 500 years.

As a Muslim, I believe God is in charge of history and will not let humans get in the way of His plans. Humans cannot destroy the earth unless God wishes it and allows it. And if God’s plan is for humanity to continue for the next 100,000 years, then there is no power to prevent that plan. I do not recommend a naive optimism that says we can do anything we want and get away with it because God is in charge. Rather, I believe that if there is really a great danger in climate change, and if God’s plan is not for humanity to destroy the earth, then He will enable humanity to come up with ways of stopping damaging the climate and restoring it. It is like we are actors in a film that is directed by God. We have to do our part in the best way possible, and if that means supporting clean energy and ways of reducing carbon from the atmosphere then we should do it.

At the moment, there is undeniable evidence for the harms of pollution, so for me this is quite sufficient to support clean energy. I love the fact that electric cars seem to be taking off with companies like Tesla.

And God knows best.
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