UK Climate change scientist who bridged faith and science dies of COVID-19
Sir John Houghton speaking at a climate change conference in 2005/Photo CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Sir John Houghton, who won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, died last month at 88 years old of COVID-19, according to media reports.

Houghton accepted the prestigious prize alongside Al Gore on behalf of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Once describing global warming as “a weapon of mass destruction,” he also served as chair of the World Climate Research Programme at Oxford University, where he became a professor in 1958.

The Welsh atmospheric physicist was also a founding member of the International Society for Science and Religion.
“As a Christian, in later years he took on the prickly challenge of persuading U.S. evangelist preachers that humans really could influence the climate on earth,” wrote Roger Harrabin, an environment analyst for the BBC, of his experiences covering Houghton’s work in the world of climate science.

As the president of the John Ray Initiative, he took part in work to connect the environment, science and Christianity. He is said to have compared the stewardship of the Earth to the stewardship of the Garden of Eden by Adam and Eve.

He spent much of his life dealing with lobbyists and corporations trying to undermine his work, question his motives and distract from evidence, his granddaughter told the BBC.


Susan Barreto


Susan is an author with a long-time interest in religion and science. She currently edits Covalence, the Lutheran Alliance for Faith, Science and Technology’s online magazine. She has written articles in The Lutheran and the Zygon Center for Religion and Science newsletter. Susan is a board member for the Center for Advanced Study of Religion and Science, the supporting organization for the Zygon Center and the Zygon Journal. She also co-wrote Our Bodies Are Selves with Dr. Philip Hefner and Dr. Ann Pederson.

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