Giving testimony before a Congressional committee, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey argued that climate change cannot be a threat because god would not allow human beings to destroy the Earth:
Let me say I take it as an article of faith if the lord God almighty made the heavens and the Earth, and he made them to his satisfaction and it is quite pretentious of we little weaklings here on earth to think that we are going to destroy God’s creation.
By comparison, some religious individuals and organizations (including the Vatican and Archbishop of Canterbury) have argued that dealing with climate change is a religious duty.
Ignoring for the moment the question of whether any kind of supernatural beings exist, it does seem plausible to me that a fair number of people have a deep psychological assumption that something inherent to the universe would prevent the wholesale transformation of the Earth by human beings, at least if that transformation was a highly destructive one. For some, the balancing mechanism is a deity, for others ‘laws’ of technology or economics, and for others the (flawed) notion that natural systems are self-correcting. I recall a short story in which a man had the false belief that the fact that trains passing each other are drawn closer by the low pressure zone between them. He believed that the same phenomenon would help him stick to the train as he advanced up the outside of it. When it comes to environmental thinking, many people might be falsely comforted by similar misconceptions.
Dealing with climate change probably requires us to collectively appreciate that we have the power to totally unbalance the natural world, to an extent that our ecological niche could be threatened. Furthermore, we are actually actively doing so. As the proverb says, if we don’t change course, we might end up where we’re headed.
Incidentally, if there were an omnipotent, omniscient, benevolent god, it would be rather difficult to understand what it could have had in mind in setting up the relationship between fossil fuels, greenhouse gasses, and climate change. It’s a bit like leaving poisoned cupcakes out where your children will find them. Providing such a potent and easily accessible form of energy, but with dire long-term consequences that people took a while to figure out, seems like cruel game-playing. Of course, it is very hard to look at what happens in the world and believe that there is an omnipotent being out there looking out for us.