International Climate Report is Dedicated to an Evangelical Christian


Renowned Welsh physicist and Christian whose work helped to forge Britain’s reputation as a global leader in climate science. Photograph: Wales News Service

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the sixth assessment report (AR6) in August, bringing forward the latest understanding of and advances in climate change, system, and science, and pronouncing the state of our climate as “code red” for humanity. Out of the many thousands of assessment contributors who have volunteered their time and expertise over the years, one was notably honored. The IPCC dedicated this recent AR6 report to Sir John Houghton, a devout Evangelical Christian. 

Sir John Houghton was also a Welsh Nobel Prize Winner and a key figure in the creation of the IPCC’s first, second, and third assessments. This may surprise some, but his deeply held Evangelical Christian faith anchored his work and fueled his decades-long commitment to solving the climate emergency.

A recent article in Christianity Today highlights Sir John’s deeply held faith values. He believed that he and all Christians have a “God-given responsibility” to look after the earth and that not doing so was a sin.

“His concerns about greenhouse gases, rising temperature averages, dying coral reefs, blistering heat waves, and increasingly extreme weather were informed by his training as an atmospheric physicist and his commitment to science. They also come out of his evangelical understanding of God, the biblical accounts of humanity’s relationship to creation, and what it means for a Christian to follow Christ.”

Sir John lived this conviction by connecting the environment, science, and religion as President of the John Ray Initiative and by helping found the International Society for Science and Religion. He also embraced his role as a communicator and bridge builder, helping to engage other Evangelical Christian leaders on climate change including Richard Cizik, John Stott, and Rick Warren.

And, when some of his colleagues would despair that progress wasn’t happening fast enough, Sir John would draw on his faith for hope. 

“He believed the goodness of the Lord will be seen in the land of the living, and that sustained him,” his granddaughter, Hannah Malcolm, recalls in the article.

Houghton, who died of complications related to COVID-19 in 2020 at the age of 88, unfortunately, “didn’t live to see the release of the sixth IPCC report or to promote it to evangelical Christians. But the scientific assessment dedicated to his memory echoes a core theme of Houghton’s life’s work: Now is the time to turn from the path of destruction.”

Read the full article here

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