When the Pope talks, people listen. But as Pope Francis wades into the climate-change debate, will he change any minds? Francis will host a summit Tuesday in the Vatican on climate change with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. He is also preparing an encyclical — one of the highest forms of a papal statement — on the subject, expected to be released as early as June. Cardinal Peter Turkson, who has helped draft the encyclical, has said the timing is meant to influence U.N. climate-change talks in Paris at the end of the year. –Jason Plautz, National Journal, 27 April 2015
Noah Toly, a Wheaton University professor who has studied religion and environmental politics, said it is likely that climate beliefs won’t be changed by the encyclical. “What’s more likely to happen is people who already think climate change is real, serious, and anthropogenic will say, This affects how we want to act, and people who don’t are likely to dismiss the teaching or take it piecemeal,” said Toly. “They’ll say, We need to help the poor or care for the planet, but it’s not the cause of man.” –Jason Plautz, National Journal, 27 April 2015
Today we see another set of meetings in Rome. One is that of the Pontifical Academy of Science, and the other the Heartland Institute. Both organisations are hoping to influence the widely heralded encyclical from Pope Francis that will include references to climate change. Given that the text of the encyclical has already been finalised, and is currently being translated, there may not be much that either party can do to affect its content. Despite the emphasis being put on climate change in the press, it’s unlikely that the central part of the document will concern itself with just that subject. –Cumbrian Lad, Bishop Hill, 28 April 2015
We can only attempt to identify the causes of climate change through science and these causes need to be clearly established after full debates, validated comprehensively, before expensive remedies are imposed on industries and communities. I first became interested in the question in the 1990s when studying the anti-human claims of the “deep greens”. Mine is not an appeal to the authority of any religious truth in the face of contrary scientific evidence. Neither is it even remotely tinged by a postmodernist hostility to rationality. My appeal is to reason and evidence, and in my view the evidence is insufficient to achieve practical certainty on many of these scientific issues. The immense financial costs true believers would impose on economies can be compared with the sacrifices offered traditionally in religion, and the sale of carbon credits with the pre-Reformation practice of selling indulgences. –Cardinal George Pell, 2011 Annual GWPF Lecture, Westminister Cathedral Hall, London 26 October 2011
For years, greens have presented themselves as merely the rational, reasoned defenders of science against gangs of charlatans, when in truth they were all about protecting an ideology: the ideology of no-growth, of anti-development, of anti-progress, of population control, of modern-day misanthropy, fortified with bits of science but really expressing an underlying, elitist, growing contempt for humanity and its achievements. Now, in their assaults on Bjorn Lomborg, their nakedly political censorship, their moral policing, their desire to deflect any criticism of their miserabilist, illiberal moral outlook, has been brilliantly exposed: they want to shut this man down, not because he denies scientific facts, but because he thinks differently to them. It is undiluted intolerance, and at a university too. Proof that the Western academy in the 21st century is giving the old heresy-hunting Church a run for its money in the bigotry-and-dogma stakes. –Brendan O’Neill, Spiked Online, 27 September 2015
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