Faith and climate change: A meteorologist’s view

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I don’t normally write about faith (I’m an atheist, I’d be bad at it), but I do often write about climate change. But my friend and colleague Paul Douglas happens to be an Evangelical Christian, Republican, and Rock Star Meteorologist. You’ve seen his work if you’ve seen the movies Jurassic Park or Twister. If you are from the Twin Cities area, you are probably still mourning his departure from WCCO TV, where he was famous for giving highly accurate weather forecasts, and acknowledging the realty of global warming.

Paul calls himself an albino unicorn, because he is a Republican and an Evangelical Christian who seriously respects, and understands, the science, and is very open about that. Paul is part of a small group of interested parties including me, John Abraham (at St. Thomas University), and meteorology expert Tenney Naumer, who stay in touch on a regular basis pointing out interesting meteorological events to each other so we can all keep up with happenings in this rapidly changing world, and passing back and forth ideas on how to communicate this information to the general public while at the same time keeping very true to the science.

Paul’s day job is to run Aeris weather, a high end very sophisticated meteorology company. This is one of a series of companies entrepreneur Douglas has created and developed into a success. He also blogs at the Star Tribune. If you live in the Twin Cities, this is where you get your short and long term weather predictions, if you are smart.

A note about that blog: Paul adds to every blog, after discussing the regional weather and the most interesting or important tropical storm or other untoward event happening elsewhere in the world, a listing of climate change related news stories, so this is a great place to keep up with what is going on in both those worlds of weather and climate change.

Paul also regularly gives talks on climate and meteorology to groups in the Twin Cities, and regularly appears on local TV and radio shows. In a way, he moonlights as a kind of therapist for many of us who live in this rugged and unforgiving climate, where for many days in the winter, there is nothing between us and the North Pole but a barbed wire fence. (A favorite expression of Paul’s.)

And, as part of that mission to speak with the public about climate change, retired Minnesota Public Radio host Gary Eichten interviewed albino unicorn Paul Douglas at a local Evangelical college about climate change.

The interview actually addresses climate change in general, addressing the “faith” side of it for only part of the interview. There is a lot of good information in the interview, and Paul does a great job of modeling how to speak of these issues to a presumably hostile audience.

Here is the interview/talk. Enjoy.

ADDED: Now available, a video of the talk:


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3 thoughts on “Faith and climate change: A meteorologist’s view

  1. I listened to the whole thing; he’s well spoken and good humored. And not the only evangelical saying we should follow the science and be good stewards (noting that not all evangelicals are fundamentalists).

    What do you think of his optimistic assertion that we can have everything and have it sans fossil fuels, because markets & innovation?

  2. C’mon, Greg — St. John’s University is a 150+ yr old Catholic college with a rich history of intellectual diversity, active social teachings, and thoughtful ecumenism. With its coordinate college, St. Benedict’s, St. John’s operates a widely respected and top-100 ranked liberal arts colleges. Describing the schools as “a local evangelical college” is a little snotty.

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