Question: What changed your mind about global warming?
Richard Cizik: Well my mindset prior to going to Oxford 2002 Climate Change – that’s the name of the conference I was invited to – was look, there is a debate going on about the science of climate change. I don’t need to get into that. “Scientists dispute this,” I said to myself. I don’t have a dog in that fight. What happened? Well I was presented with the science by not only the world’s most credible scientist. The conclusion of course being that climate change is real. It will impact millions upon millions, and that the science was indisputable. Indisputable. And when confronted in this case by science . . . never mind the Bible. I … I thought I knew the bible. But when confronted with climate change, global warming in particular that threatens not just for example a river or lake, but the entire planet, virtually knocked me off my feet. Almost like a John the Baptist conversion in which he fell off a donkey on the road to Damascus. It literally knocked me off my feet and I said, “My God.” I said, “I’ve never seen this before,” the facts as presented. And then to have a fellow Christian, a scientist, one of the most premier scientists, the science advisor moreover to the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to say to me, “Richard, if you are persuaded of the science . . .” This is what Sir John … said to me… “If you’re persuaded of the science, you can’t be quiet.” I knew in my heart he was right. And yet I also knew there would be a price to pay. And so I left Oxford in 2002 persuaded that yes, the science was indisputable; but … I would say, about the prospect of speaking out. Because even my closest friends opposed the idea of me doing that.