A Republican US congressman told a town hall meeting of his Michigan constituents on Friday that he believes God will “take care of” climate change “if there’s a real problem.”
Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) told the gathering in Coldwater, 130 miles (210 km) southwest of Detroit, that he thinks climate change is real but that humans do not have the ability to “change the entire universe.”
“I believe there’s climate change. I believe there’s been climate change since the beginning of time,” Walberg said. “Do I think man has some impact? Yeah, of course. Can man change the entire universe? No.”
“Why do I believe that? Well, as a Christian, I believe that there is a creator in God who is much bigger than us,” he continued. “And I’m confident that, if there’s a real problem, he can take care of it.”
While there is no empirical evidence to support the existence of the Abrahamic deity figure who Walberg believes created and controls the universe, the international scientific community overwhelmingly concurs that climate change is real, that it is caused and exacerbated by human activity and that it poses a possibly irreversible and potentially existential threat to humanity. Fully 97 percent of climate scientists, as well as the national science academies of almost every country on Earth, agree. The Pentagon has warned that climate change is “an urgent and growing threat” to US national security that is “contributing to increased natural disasters, refugee flows, and conflicts over basic resources such as food and water.” President Barack Obama declared in 2015 that “no challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change.” Meanwhile, last year was the hottest ever recorded, as was the year before that, and the one before that.
However, President Donald Trump, who said he believes climate change is a “Chinese hoax,” is believed to be on the verge of withdrawing the United States from the landmark 2016 Paris climate accord, now signed by 192 nations. Trump has staffed his administration full of climate change deniers and skeptics, including Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Scott Pruitt, who sued the agency he now heads 14 times when he was Oklahoma attorney general. Trump’s secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, is the former CEO of ExxonMobil, one of the world’s leading carbon polluters — and a corporation which knew about human-caused climate change and its potentially catastrophic consequences as early as 1977 but spent billions of dollars over the following decades on lobbying, misinformation and climate denial science.
Walberg isn’t the first Republican to invoke God when dismissing concerns about climate change. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), who until January was chair of the Senate Environmental Committee, has repeatedly asserted that God, not humans, drives Earth’s climate. In 2010, Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Environment and Economy, said only God can destroy the planet. “The Earth will end only when God declares it’s time to be over. Man will not destroy this Earth,” he said during a congressional hearing. “I do believe that God’s word is infallible, unchanging, perfect.”