WASHINGTON A coalition of conservative evangelical leaders wants to enlist 1 million Christians to sign a statement questioning whether human-caused global warming is a real threat and arguing that restrictive environmental policies harm poor people.
The "We Get It!" campaign is the latest development in an ongoing disagreement among evangelicals about climate change.
"Our stewardship of creation must be based on Biblical principles and factual evidence," the statement says. "We face important environmental challenges, but must be cautious of claims that our planet is in peril from speculative dangers like man-made global warming."
The campaign's materials argue that "recent, slight warming" is an unproven threat that could lead to restrictions in energy use and drive up the cost of energy and food for the world's poor.
Several leaders and groups on the evangelical right back the campaign, including James Dobson of Focus on the Family, Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, the Family Research Council, Institute on Religion and Democracy and Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation.
The effort is a response, in part, to the 2006 launch of the Evangelical Climate Initiative, which acknowledged humans cause global warming and argued Christian moral convictions demand an urgent response. The initiative, with more than 110 backers, has endorsed legislation to decrease carbon dioxide emissions.
In March, a group of Southern Baptist leaders issued a statement saying the threat of global warming is too grave to wait for perfect knowledge about whether, or how much, people contribute to it.