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TimeLine - Signs of the Times

Climate Changes Take Hold ...

In describing the 'carbon spike' there is the assertion that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide makes for climate change. What are the tell tale signs of this change and is it really happening now?

... In the first half of 1998 alone, US Weather Service data show that US communities were struck by an unprecedented 1,008 tornadoes. ... But records of aggregate weather-related damages and around the world confirm that, in fact, a planetwide escalation–of the kind the world's climate scientists have warned about–is underway. Ayers, God's Last Offer, page 49

The main 'driver' or force that brings such change is not cyclic events in nature but this driving force is in fact human activity!

The cause: As the consensus of climate scientists makes explicitly clear, events of this intensity are not just acts of nature, but have been exacerbated by human activity–by the spike of an CO2 and other greenhouse gases. Human-caused warming triggers changes in the normal movements of wind and water that result in stronger storms, heavier rains, more precipitous melt-off of winter snow. Ayers, God's Last Offer, page 51

The mentality of a 'quick fix' is at best wishful thinking. Defining solutions means change within our human behaviors. Getting agreements that work would demand life style changes. Not simply new rules, laws, or treaties, but a change in humanity overall.

... Exasperated scientists pointed out, to anyone who would listen, a sobering math: that even if the climate treaty as written were to be fully ratified and enforced, global carbon emissions would actually increase. The trading and the sinks were dangerous diversions. An enormous chasm was opening between the slow fiddling of climate politics and the furious reality of the climate itself. Ayers, God's Last Offer, page 56

Trading and sinks ... what are they? A system that quantifies units of carbon emissions was proposed such that if one country reduced or produced less emissions their balance sheet would show a credit. Countries that were unable to immediately reduce emissions could trade for these credits and thus overall the plan to reduce global emissions could begin by using this trading system. Later all partners in the treaty process could work toward further reductions. That was the idea.

Sinks are places where carbon can be tied up or stored for a time. For example, as trees grow they utilize CO2. The carbon from the carbon dioxide is stored in the tree trunks, limbs, and roots. Remember, we need a gain in trees for this to work (so keep in mind the great and ongoing losses due to deforestation). Likewise, some carbon is trapped in the water of lakes and oceans. The more carbon that goes into these sinks, the less climate change ... or so the thinking goes.

But all the schemes for reducing the carbon spike have begged the question: Are we making progress? And the question draws silence ...

...the silence in the late 1990s was not so much a matter of self-muzzling as of oblivious disconnection. With few exceptions, even the most highly educated people showed few signs of concern about the connections between the vast acceleration of human powers that supports their fast-track lives and the vast acceleration of change taking place in the climate and health of the planet. Ayers, God's Last Offer, page 59

So, given the climate data and storm reports, are we concerned?

The real concern to keep in mind when looking at the WindowView time line is not can we do something about global change such as considered here. Instead the real questions come down to the entire field of human behavior, belief systems, and the ability or perhaps perpetuation of the inability to overcome other conflicts that prevent our reversing negative changes or working toward a sustainable planet. Looking along the time line gives a definite impression that humans are far from the potential working agreements that are needed to overcome our dilemma. And yet, as you'll discover by exploring this WindowView, there are certain promises that lie ahead.

The importance to global change is in looking at how social, biological, and physical sciences all reveal data and signs for more ominous changes in the near future. This is change in every aspect of human and earthly affairs ... globally. The Window looks further to see change as a backdrop to a biblical timeline. Driving forces for change force us to ask the most important questions about our true origin, who we are, why we are here, and what the Scriptures tell us about the future. Change forces us to look deeper to face choice or crisis. Life is an opportunity to look for the answers.

Please Note! We are presenting a number of quotations in the "Signs of the Times" series that are taken from their original context. So Be Aware ... the impact of these statements is only heightened and intensified by a reading of the original text cited below. WindowView serves to reflect many original sources and in this case we highly recommend a reading of the entire book used as a source here! The 'Signs' are woefully important to revealing humanity's future, reading these quotations in their original context makes this point all the more clear!

Quotations attributed to 'Ayers' are from: Ed Ayers. 1999. God's Last Offer - Negotiating for a Sustainable Future. Published by: Four Walls Eight Windows (

Mr. Ayers is the Editor of World Watch magazine, a product of the Worldwatch Institute, Washington D.C. The institute is a 'think tank' that often puts out publications that note change in the world theater from the perspectives of economics, policy, resource uses, and the potential for global trends based on past and current human activity. This is a secular institution and the title of Mr. Ayers' book makes no special reference to a particular theological framework.

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