Increasingly in my investigations into climate change denial “experts” I am coming across the name of George Pell – yes – the Cardinal. Having looked briefly for his credentials in this area, I can only find studies in theology. Regardless of this lack of any scientific qualifications, Cardinal Pell has been quite vocal about his view on climate change over the years.
Pell stated in his 2006 Legatus Summit speech:
“Some of the hysteric and extreme claims about global warming are also a symptom of pagan emptiness, of Western fear when confronted by the immense and basically uncontrollable forces of nature. Belief in a benign God who is master of the universe has a steadying psychological effect, although it is no guarantee of Utopia, no guarantee that the continuing climate and geographic changes will be benign. In the past pagans sacrificed animals and even humans in vain attempts to placate capricious and cruel gods. Today they demand a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.”
So let me get this straight. Belief in a benign God will save us and those who engage in action on climate change through the ritual sacrifice of carbon dioxide emissions are pagans.
In a 2007 article for The Sunday Telegraph, Pell wrote that while climate had changed, he was ‘”certainly sceptical about extravagant claims of impending man-made climatic catastrophes, because the evidence is insufficient”.
Responding to the Anglican bishop and environmentalist George Browning, who told the Anglican Church of Australia’s general synod that Pell was out of touch with the Catholic Church as well as with the general community, Pell stated:
“Radical environmentalists are more than up to the task of moralising their own agenda and imposing it on people through fear. They don’t need church leaders to help them with this, although it is a very effective way of further muting Christian witness. Church leaders in particular should be allergic to nonsense….. I am certainly sceptical about extravagant claims of impending man-made climatic catastrophes. Uncertainties on climate change abound … my task as a Christian leader is to engage with reality, to contribute to debate on important issues, to open people’s minds, and to point out when the emperor is wearing few or no clothes.”
The hypocrisy of this paragraph leaves me speechless. The Church is built on “the task of moralising their own agenda and imposing it on people through fear”. Pell even concedes that the views of church leaders mute “Christian witness”. He says we should be allergic to nonsense, engage with reality and “point out when the emperor is wearing few or no clothes.” Well Cardinal Pell, I would suggest that you may want to check in the mirror to avoid embarrassment.
Cardinal Pell is not only a local expert – he takes his climate change views to the international stage. In 2011 he delivered the annual Global Warming Policy Foundation lecture in London. The GWPF is a United Kingdom group opposing action to mitigate climate change. This speech has been widely quoted under lines like
“His Eminence approaches Warmism by looking to the scientific facts, not religion — and notes religious fanaticism in Warmism” or
“Cardinal George Pell can recognise a religious movement when he sees one, and being a rationalist can also see where the global warming faith is weak:” or
“Cardinal criticises religious climate zealots”
Cardinal Pell’s ‘evidence’ all comes from The Hancock Free Enterprise Lecture, University of Notre Dame, Fremantle, June 2011 delivered by none other than Lord Monckton and sponsored and attended by Gina Rinehart. If you can be bothered reading through Monckton’s background paper, faithfully reproduced by Jo Nova, you will find the usual data manipulation. Temperature records are taken from one place and conclusions about global temperatures are inferred. Time frames are chosen to achieve certain results – pick the hottest year to start from, pick the last year that was below average temperature, look at 15 years rather than 150, quote anomalies rather than trends. Change scale on the axes if you have to.
Here are the main points Pell picks up on.
► The earth has cooled during the past 10,000 years since the Holocene climate optimum.
► The earth has cooled since 1000 years ago, not yet achieving the temperatures of the Medieval Warm Period.
► The earth has warmed since 400 years ago after the Little Ice Age three centuries ago.
► The earth warmed between 1979 and 1998 and has cooled slightly since 2001.
The following facts are additional reasons for scepticism.
► In many places, most of the 11,700 years since the end of the last ice age were warmer than the present by up to 2C.
► Between 1695 and 1730, the temperature in England rose by 2.2C. That rapid warming, unparalleled since, occurred long before the Industrial Revolution.
► From 1976 to 2001, “the global warming rate was 0.16C per decade”, as it was from 1860 to 1880 and again from 1910 to 1940.
Leading climate change researchers launched a scathing attack on the speech, describing it as “dreadful”, “utter rubbish” and “flawed”.
Rather than listening to Monckton or Pell, this is what the people who ARE climate scientists say.
The argument that the earth has cooled during the past 10,000 years is based on the work of Don Easterbrook who relies on temperatures at the top of the Greenland ice sheet as a proxy for global temperatures. That’s a fatal flaw, before we even begin to examine the use of the ice core data. It reflects regional Greenland warming, not global warming, and the data ends in 1855, long before modern global warming began.
Over the past 2,000 years, until 100 years ago, the planet underwent a long-term cooling trend. There was a ‘Medieval Warm Period’, but different regions warmed at different times, and overall global surface temperatures were warmer at the end of the 20th century than during the MWP peak. The 2,000-year cooling trend has been erased by the warming over the past century. And of course more warming is yet to come from continuing human greenhouse gas emissions.
It’s also worth noting that according to the instrumental temperature record, average surface temperatures for 1982–2012 have been about 0.2°C hotter than the 1970–2000 average. That additional warming would put current global surface temperatures well above any other time over the past 2,000 years.
The Medieval period is found to display warmth that matches or exceeds that of the past decade in some regions, but which falls well below recent levels globally as written about in the paper “Global Signatures and Dynamical Origins of the Little Ice Age and Medieval Climate Anomaly”
The ten warmest years in the 132-year record have all occurred since 1998. The last year that was cooler than average was 1976.
Globally, the hottest 12-month period ever recorded was from June 2009 to May 2010.
Australia has been breaking records for hottest month, hottest 12 months, and so on.
Pell also said “The appeal must be to the evidence. First of all we need adequate scientific explanations as a basis for our economic estimates. We also need history, philosophy, even theology and many will use, perhaps create, mythologies. But most importantly we need to distinguish which is which.”
So who do you believe – Andrew Bolt, quoting Cardinal Pell, quoting Christopher Monckton, reported on by Jo Nova, and paid for by Gina Rinehart – or the tens of thousands of peer reviewed papers and conclusions drawn by all the climate scientists?
Pell objects to being called a climate change denier saying
“The term “climate change denier”, however expedient as an insult or propaganda weapon, with its deliberate overtones of comparison with Holocaust denial, is not a useful description of any significant participant in the discussion.”
Personally I think the term is far too timid for the holocaust that inaction on climate change could bring about.
Additional information thanks to Fed Up
In October 2010, the Senate’s Environment and Communications Legislation Committee agreed to table a letter from Cardinal Pell which quoted heavily from Ian Plimer’s book Heaven and Earth to claim there were “good reasons for doubting that carbon dioxide causes warmer temperatures”.
Director of Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology Dr Greg Ayers said “At one stage [Cardinal Pell] lists greenhouse gases. Included in the list is the gas nitrogen. That is not a greenhouse gas; it is 78 per cent of the atmosphere. You cannot have people out there telling the public that nitrogen is a greenhouse gas, because it is not.”
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