Climate change: problem or opportunity?

Climate change: problem or opportunity? Understanding climate change in the context of the Gospel
Brian Edgar and Mick Pope, June 2009.




This is the text of part of an address given to the Synod of the Anglican Church in Tasmania on 2nd June, 2007 by Mick Pope of the Bureau of Meteorology, Melbourne and Fellow of ISCAST, and Brian Edgar, Professor of Theological Studies, Asbury Theological Seminary, Fellow of ISCAST. Parts A and C were written by Brian, Part B was written by Mick and Part D was a combined work.


Climate change is a social, ethical and theological issue as well as a scientific one. It needs to be understood in the context of God’s purposes for the world. Scientifically, it is important that the world take steps to reduce human induced greenhouse gases, globally, 30 to 60% reductions on 2000 levels by 2050 to stabilise at under 3o. An ecologically sound spirituality of creation will address the issue of human consumption and the use of resources. It will also deal with the nature of our spiritual relationship to Christ and creation. Climate change has the potential to help us enhance our understanding of ‘stewardship as self-control’ and to enhance our ethical thinking by moving beyond tribal understandings of moral responsibility. This has implications for, amongst other things, our understanding of nationalism, politics and the relationship of developed and developing countries. Climate change inevitably locates us within the broad context of the history of the world and civilization and challenges us to take on a moral responsibility for future generations. It raises questions of the purpose and meaning of life, into which a Christian eschatology has the opportunity to speak.

Key words

Climate change, global warming, greenhouse gases, gospel, creation, ecology, stewardship, spirituality, ethics, eschatology, Christ.

Download PDF




Click here to join ISCAST




Look us up on Facebook, Twitter, and tune in to our Podcast.


ISCAST Fellows

Click here to view a list of ISCAST Fellows and their profiles.