A group of more than 80 evangelical leaders has released a statement conveying what they describe as a biblically driven pledge to address issues of “global warming.”

The group, which includes “The Purpose Driven Life” author Rick Warren, called on the government to ratify legislation aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions that allegedly contribute to global climate change.

Issued by the Evangelical Climate Initiative, the statement declares: “This is God’s world, and any damage that we do to God’s world is an offense against God himself.”

Signers said the statement was brought about by a concern for the impact global warming will have on people, especially poor nations and individuals.

“The consequences of global warming,” the statement reads, “will hit the poor the hardest, in part because those areas likely to be significantly affected first are the poorest regions of the world.”

Many of the people who signed this document are my friends – some are dear friends. Nevertheless, I have felt compelled to oppose their effort because I believe that global warming is an unproven phenomenon and may actually just be junk science being passed off as fact.

In addition, I believe that so-called solutions to global warming – and particularly the Kyoto Protocol, which is the politically correct international agreement to fight greenhouse gas emissions – would devastate the American economy if adopted by our nation. Further, studies have shown that costly efforts to stem greenhouse gas emissions would just barely reduce global temperatures.

Paul Driessen, senior policy adviser for the Congress of Racial Equality and author of “Eco-Imperialism: Green Power, Black Death,” recently stated, “By making energy less affordable and accessible, mandatory controls (on greenhouse-gas emissions) would drive up the costs of consumer products, stifle economic growth, cost jobs and impose especially harmful effects on the earth’s poorest people.”

That’s a bottom line our nation cannot endorse.

I believe that my dear friends who have signed on to the Evangelical Climate Initiative have acted prematurely and really need to examine countering opinions on global warming.

There are many respected scientists who feel that present warming trends are a cyclical phenomenon; they point to the ’70s, only 30 years ago, when many scientists were similarly predicting a global cooling.

It is also important to note that China, India and other major nations that comprise more than half of the world’s population have stated they will not participate in such agreements.

Evangelicals must be very cautious in addressing issues of such magnitude, especially when the jury is still out on the magnitude of the “problem.”

Alan Wisdom, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, stated this week, “Churches should be reluctant to attach the name of the Gospel of Christ to contemporary political agendas that lack a clear scriptural mandate and consensus among the faithful.”

I think those are very wise words.

At most, I recommend asking the U.S. government to take reasonable measures to establish limits on emissions at the federal level and “to pass and implement national legislation requiring sufficient economy-wide reductions in carbon dioxide emissions through cost effective, market-based mechanisms.” I stop right there for fear of starting some “toboggan slide” toward reckless and hurtful decisions that will greatly diminish our nation and likely injure our children and children’s children.

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