Vatican on climate: Pray for science

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"Vatican on climate: Pray for science"

The cost of action “pales in comparison to the price the world will pay if we fail to act now.”

We call on all people and nations to recognise the serious and potentially irreversible impacts of global warming caused by the anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants, and by changes in forests, wetlands, grasslands, and other land uses. We appeal to all nations to develop and implement, without delay, effective and fair policies to reduce  the causes and impacts of climate change on communities and ecosystems, including mountain glaciers and their watersheds, aware that we all live in the same home. By acting now, in the spirit of common but differentiated responsibility, we accept our duty to one another and to the stewardship of a planet blessed with the gift of life. We are committed to ensuring that all inhabitants of this planet receive their daily bread, fresh air to breathe and clean water to drink as we are aware that, if we want justice and peace, we must protect the habitat that sustains us. The believers among us ask God to grant us this wish.

The bumpersticker version of the Vatican plea for climate action:  Pray for science.

Humanity’s only hope is if we listen to what the science tells us is happening now and what is likely to happen if we stay anywhere near our current emissions path.  As the AP put it:

A Vatican-appointed panel of scientists has reported what climate change experts have been warning for years: the Earth is getting warmer, glaciers are melting, and urgent measures are necessary to stem the damage.

Precisely.  I suppose it is an open question as to whether anybody who doesn’t accept science — presumably the same people who ignore what their medical doctors say — will listen to the Vatican.  But humanity’s conscious decision-in-the-making to ignore science and thereby needlessly ruin the lives of billions of people in the coming decades is certainly one of the greatest moral issues in history, so the Vatican’s voice is certain welcome.

Here are some excerpts from the “Report by the Working Group Commissioned by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences“:

Anthropocene: Aggressive exploitation of fossil fuels and other natural resources has damaged the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the land we inhabit. To give one example, some 1000 billion tons of carbon dioxide and other climatically important “greenhouse” gases have been pumped into the atmosphere. As a result, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the air now exceeds the highest levels of the last 800,000 years. The climatic and ecological impacts of this human interference with the Earth System are expected to last for many millennia, warranting a new name, The Anthropocene, for the new “man-made” geologic epoch we are living in.

The word anthropocene “was coined in 2000 by the Nobel Prize-winning atmospheric chemist Paul Crutzen,” who co-chaired the distinguished group of international scientists that put together this report.  Still, it’s nice to see the panel and the Vatican embrace the term.

Perspective on Past Changes: In response to the argument that “since the Earth has experienced alternating cold periods (ice ages or glacials) and warm periods (inter-glacials) during the past, today’s climate and ice cover changes are entirely natural events”, we state:

The primary triggers for ice ages and inter-glacials are well understood to be changes in the astronomical parameters related to the motion of our planet within the solar system and natural feedback processes in the climate system. The time scales between these triggers are in the range of 10,000 years or longer. By contrast, the observed human-induced changes in carbon dioxide, other greenhouse gases, and soot concentrations are taking place on 10-100 year timescales -at least a hundred times as fast. It is particularly worrying that this release of global warming agents is occurring during an interglacial period when the Earth was already at a natural temperature maximum.

Snap.  You go, myth-busting Vatican panel of scientists.

Since a sustainable future based on the continued extraction of coal, oil and gas in the “business-as-usual mode” will not be possible because of both resource depletion and environmental damages (as caused, e.g., by dangerous sea level rise) we urge our societies to:

I. Reduce worldwide carbon dioxide emissions without delay, using all means possible to meet ambitious international global warming targets and ensure the long-term stability of the climate system. All nations must focus on a rapid transition to renewable energy sources and other strategies to reduce CO2 emissions. Nations should also avoid removal of carbon sinks by stopping deforestation, and should strengthen carbon sinks by reforestation of degraded lands. They also need to develop and deploy technologies that draw down excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. These actions must be accomplished within a few decades.

II. Reduce the concentrations of warming air pollutants (dark soot, methane, lower atmosphere ozone, and hydrofluorocarbons) by as much as 50%, to slow down climate change during this century while preventing millions of premature deaths from respiratory disease and millions of tons of crop damages every year.

III. Prepare to adapt to the climatic changes, both chronic and abrupt, that society will be unable to mitigate. In particular, we call for a global capacity-building initiative to assess the natural and social impacts of climate change in mountain systems and related watersheds.

The cost of the three recommended measures pales in comparison to the price the world will pay if we fail to act now.

The rest of the report is a brief review of the science.

A few key extracts:

  • “The temperature guardrail for avoiding “dangerous anthropogenic interference” is now proposed to be at 2° C warming (above the pre-industrial level), although many scientists argue and many nations agree that 1.5° C is a safer upper limit.”
  • “We cannot adapt to changes we cannot understand. Adaptation starts with assessment.”
  • “Geoengineering is no substitute for climate change mitigation.”

Kudos to the Vatican for putting together this panel and issuing its report.  Pray for science.

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41 Responses to Vatican on climate: Pray for science

  1. Bizarrely enough, the Vatican has also been extending an invitation to Professor Ronald Rychlak of the University of Mississippi, because he said nice things about Pope Pius XII. And Rychlak is (or was) a climate inactivist who spoke at one of the Heartland denier-fests; he pioneered (?) the ‘global temperature rise disappears if we change the axes scalings to something ridiculous’ method of temperature trend misanalysis.

    So on the one hand the Vatican invites real climate scientists to summarize climate science, and on the other hand it invites someone who’s been attacking climate scientists. Bizarre, bizarre.

    frank

  2. Thanks Joe for posting this pertinent document. And to follow up, the Catholic Church likes to clearly define sin and mortal sin:

    “Sin is an offense against reason, truth and right conscience; it is failure in genuine love for God and neighbor caused by a perverse attachment to certain goods. It wounds the nature of man and injures human solidarity. It has been defined as “an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law.” (C.C.C. # 1849)

    “Mortal sin is a radical possibility of human freedom, as is love itself. It results in the loss of charity and the private of sanctifying grace, that is, of the state of grace. If it is not redeemed by repentance of God’s forgiveness, it causes exclusion to make choices for ever, with no turning back. However, although we can judge that an act is in itself a grave offense, we must entrust judgment of persons to the justice and mercy of God.” (C.C.C. # 1861)

    “To choose deliberately – that is, both knowing it and willing it – something gravely contrary to the divine law and to the ultimate end of man is to commit a mortal sin. This destroys in us the charity without which eternal beatitude is impossible. Unrepented, it brings eternal death.” (C.C.C. # 1874)

  3. Sou says:

    Must send a copy to the dreadful Cardinal Pell in Sydney, who touts Plimer’s nonsense. (Did he fall for the title of Plimer’s book?)

    http://bundanga.blogspot.com/2011/02/archbishop-pell-backs-plimer-against.html

  4. Kasra says:

    So I guess we can count on social conservatives to shift their views accordingly, right?

  5. PeterW says:

    It will be interesting to see if this affects the Catholic vote. Over the years they have become a more and more conservative voting group.

  6. adelady says:

    Kasra, good luck with that.

    No, but I think it will reinforce the resolve of those who already understand. It will also encourage those among the faithful who might have stayed away from the topic on the basis that it wasn’t something a pious person should care about – being science rather than religion.

    These two groups would far outnumber the died in the wool deniers.

  7. catman306 says:

    Yes, Your Holiness. Human caused climate change is a religious and spiritual issue as well a cause for scientific concern. It can unite all thinking, caring humanity whether living an educated life in a city or living on the land. Anyone who cares to look can see this common danger and it’s past time to act. Thank you for your help.

  8. Lewis C says:

    Adelady – as a shepherd, I’d be happy to learn that the leading deniers had “died in the wool” (of their own obfuscation). As it is, the things I get who’ve died in the wool are only rather small parasites. It’s a start I suppose.

    And I share your view of the very significant value of the pontifical academy’s finding. Better late than never.

    Regards,

    Lewis

  9. Steve Liptay says:

    Great news! Another voice joins the choir! Now what?

    The science and economic make clear we must act with urgency or else we face dire consequences in the future. What is missing is the POLITICAL WILL to reduce emissions and lead us to a renewable energy-based economy.

    So, the question follows: how do we create the political will? With better lobbying? Better persuasion? More letters! A million letters will convince our policy makers!

    I don’t buy it.

    I believe it will take large-scale, sustained, coordinated non-violent acts of CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE. It will take large numbers of principled people going to jail – this is what will morally bankrupt our politicians and our plutocracy. This is what will apply political pressure to Obama. This is what will shift the conversation and shift the power.

    A few weeks ago I stood up with 8 others in the US House of Representatives and disrupted the Ryan 2012 budget debate. One by one, we stood up and sang, pleading “the People’s House” to listen to our generation. It was fun and we’ve received an amazing amount of support from others fighting for climate justice (find out more at http://www.peacefuluprising.org/ , http://vimeo.com/user7024073). We got some press too — NYT, WP, The Hill, Democracy Now!.

    But just imagine if instead of 9 people getting arrested for singing in Congress, there were 90.

    We need to grow exponentially.

    Maybe you can help.

    Joe and others what are your thoughts on the need to escalate the use of civil disobedience?

  10. Scott says:

    I simply would like to see a courageous reporter ask Boehner (a self described devote catholic) about this report.

  11. Joan Savage says:

    The Vatican is the leadership voice of an organization with over a billion members, yet the inclusive language in the plea is obviously reaching for anyone who might listen.

    “He who hath ears, let him hear.”

  12. Mike Roddy says:

    Good for the Vatican.

    Kasra, American social conservatives are mostly Protestant or Evangelical. Catholics- especially subgroups like the Jesuits- often value education and science.

    We just have to write them off. Their instinctive response will be “Well, what did you expect? Didn’t you know that the Pope is a member of the Illuminati?”.

  13. Jay Alt says:

    #3/ At his insistence in ~ 2008 Australian Cardinal George Pell addressed a Vatican meeting on climate change with his worries about ‘alarmism’. The main presenters were a group of scientists, many of them Catholic. The document developed from the meeting addressed the Church’s concerns about the effects of climate change on the poor and on future generations, based on the science. Which is to say, they didn’t find Pell’s regurgitation of Plimer very useful.

  14. Prokaryotes says:

    What once has been the “church” during the dark ages for science has now changed to certain corporate CEO’s, such as EXXON’s Tillerson or the Koch brothers.

  15. malcreado says:

    If this message is not echoed from the pulpit on Sundays it may not make much difference.

  16. Jim Edelson says:

    We are all aware that the discussion of the overwhelmingly conclusive science of climate change is portrayed in the press, and in Congress, as a debate. Just like the debate over Galileo’s science!!

    And now the Church has spoken clearly. But just you wait – this will turn into a ‘debate’ because the same fossil fuel interests are funding the “opposing” religious view. Its called the Corwall Alliance. Here is the link and a selection of their nauseating “science”.

    http://www.cornwallalliance.org/

    ” Recent warming was neither abnormally large nor abnormally rapid. There is no convincing scientific evidence that human contribution to greenhouse gases is causing dangerous global warming”

    They know they can win to the extent they can stall action by creating a perception of lack of consensus and sowing confusion.

  17. Jeff Huggins says:

    A Few Thoughts

    * Bravo to this group of scientists, and Bravo to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and to the Vatican, for bringing them together and for publishing this report under the auspices of the Vatican.

    * Most importantly, this report creates (or affirms) an immense moral responsibility on the Vatican’s part. If you combine this report with the Pope’s Encyclical Letter, ‘Caritas in Veritate’ (please read that), the combination of the messages indicates an immense moral responsibility that the Vatican has yet to make clear and concise and to fulfill. You see, this recent report has been written by a group of scientists that was convened under the auspices of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and, thus ultimately, the Vatican. But (if you read the AP article) you’ll see the somewhat ambiguous distancing of the report from what the Vatican is willing to call its “teachings”. The Vatican will need to — and SHOULD — take a stand. Even if the Vatican hesitates to take a strong stand on the science itself (which would be understandable, given its own role, lack of expertise, and etc.), it should do this: It should DEFER TO the scientists on the science itself, and then it should take a very strong stand on the moral implications and the moral call for action, which would be entirely consistent with both this report and what the Pope has already written in ‘Caritas in Veritate’. In other words, the Vatican should say something like, “Given what the world’s leading scientists are saying, we humans have a moral obligation to face and address the matter in order to …..”. The Vatican SHOULD — and has a deep responsibility to — make that crystal clear, concise, and to make it public throughout the Catholic and Christian communities and everywhere else. As far as I know, the Vatican hasn’t done that clearly, yet, and should do so asap. Indeed, we (people concerned about the climate) should be asking, requesting, pushing (whatever way you’d like to put it) for the Vatican to do just that.

    * The present situation — i.e., the present word from the Vatican itself — is too ambiguous given the stakes involved, if you ask me. Given this recent report, and the earlier Encyclical, clarity is now possible and IS NOW CALLED FOR.

    * On a related note, it will be interesting to see whether, and how, The New York Times covers this. Have they covered it yet? If so, where?

    * And on a related note, someone (many people, including the papers) ought to tell politicians who claim to be Catholic or Christian about this. For example, someone ought to tell Newt Gingrich and his wife (both Catholics now; see the recent NY Times article) about this report and the Encyclical. If Gingrich claims to not believe in the reality of climate change, or to think that we shouldn’t do anything about it, he (and voters) should understand that he’s disagreeing with not only the vast majority of the Earth’s scientists, but also with the Vatican. This is one reason why it’s important for the Vatican to make its views CLEAR, in no uncertain terms, in relation to the moral aspect of the matter. And (again) this is why we should encourage and push for the Vatican to do just that — and for other religious leaders to do the same.

    In short, I applaud this report. But more clarity is needed. Witness the remarks made by the Vatican spokesperson, according to the AP article.

    Also — and a Note to CP and Joe — although I applaud the fact that you covered this report, and you did a pretty-good job of it, and you did provide the very helpful links, I don’t think it helps to leave the lack of clarity implicit rather than pointing it out and calling for more clarity. This report is not quite the same as (and many people on the “other side” will likely point this out) the Pope himself, or the Vatican itself, clearly stating that Catholics have a moral responsibility to face and address climate change, to strive to ensure climate stability, to strive to ensure a just human sustainability, and so forth. But if you combine this report with the Encyclical, that is the net result, or at least it SHOULD BE the net result. But the Vatican hasn’t made that “net result” clear, or endorsed it clearly. That’s something that it should do and that we should push for it to do.

    At least that’s my reading of the situation, after having read both this report and the earlier Encyclical. But we, here, shouldn’t pretend that the present ambiguity doesn’t exist. Instead, we should point out the ambiguity — the supposed loophole of ambiguity, if you will — and call for it to be clarified.

    Cheers and Be Well,

    Jeff

  18. paulm says:

    Going to church sunday to see if its true….

  19. madcitysmitty says:

    Unqualified good news.

    This compares to getting Bin Laden. It doesn’t necessarily get us out of Afganistan…but it sure makes it easier.

    Having fought the Catholic church on human reproduction for decades, I’d sure rather have them with me than against me.

  20. Judith Holloway says:

    I’m a daily (often twice daily) CP reader and a United Church of Christ (UCC) green pastor. Fellow climate hawks, please be aware that there is a 180 degree difference between mainline Protestants and fundamentalist Protestants. Mainline Protestants generally believe that the divide between science and religion is a false dichotomy. Not so with fundamentalists who are bible literalists. It is irritating to the extreme to be lumped together in the same stew with folks whose religious beliefs and understanding of climate science are based on blind irrational ideology and ignorance.

    Many are the well-informed religious individuals and organizations (Interfaith Power and Light, Eco-Justice @ UCC, GreenFaith Fellowship, Earth Ministries, etc.) that are fighting for a livable climate and flourishing earth – and yes, preaching from the pulpit! Like everyone else in this movement, it’s hard to be heard when the media focuses on the more extreme and bizarre elements of religious opinion. The moral voice of world’s faith traditions has long been recognized by the environmental community as an essential component for changing the human-earth relationship.

    Thanks for all you do – Judith

  21. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Well, the denialist industry will simply assert that the Vatican has been captured by ‘Leftists’. Indeed the Right here, led by Murdoch’s ‘The Fundament’ (aka The Australian) Quadrant magazine and talk-back radio and other media, has long detested the ‘socially progressive’ wing of Roman Catholicism. That’s why they loved Wojtyla, with his reactionary politics (while turning a blind eye to the tsunami of child abuse within the priesthood) so much. It’s why the Catholic Right here is led by Pell, a Wojtyla clone, and an ally of every Rightwing cause in the country, including anthropogenic climate destabilisation, on which subject he has often revealed himself to be a true Dunning-Kruger-Joyceite. Still intellectual horsepower has never been a prerequisite for advance in the Vatican, certainly not in the days of Wojtyla.
    It looks a lot like the Catholic Right are growing restive under Ratzinger, who appears not to be as reactionary as he seemed while a Cardinal. I’d say that this finding will see the Catholic Right up in arms, and the non-Catholic denialists will simply add the Vatican to the ‘alarmist conspiracy’.

  22. Merrelyn Emery says:

    OK, its not perfect but ‘don’t look gift horses in the mouth’, ME

  23. Sam Vilain says:

    You might also be interested to know that the Dalai Lama is on record as saying that the conclusions reached by scientific methods should be respected, and override what is written in any holy texts. This applies to Buddhism, which was already something of an a-theist religion in many ways, but good to hear the figurehead of at least one branch of religion give such a good endorsement of science.

  24. Antoni Jaume says:

    Now if they would admit to voluntary control of reproduction, that would help a lot.

  25. malcreado says:

    Do carbon credits = green indulgences?

  26. Oale says:

    I’m glad they’ve accepted that members of the church can affect some of the non-living parts of Gods’ creation.

  27. I liked the implications of this report re emerging Catholic awareness until a top Catholic lobbyist re ‘family’ affairs wrote to me this afternoon to deny this report reflects official Catholic policy. I saw this exact ploy enacted in December of 2004 over a rift inside Catholic circles stemming from a pro-cloning proposal called ANT/OAR by Bill Hurlbut of the President’s Council of Bioethics.

    In short, the matter was thus: The Vatican and a Church theology think tank ruled that Hurlbut’s proposals failed to overcome Church objections to what constituted human life and when it began. In the U.S., the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the GOP had been staggered by grass root defections over stem cells as revealed by Catholic and GOP majorities voting in favor of CA’s Prop. 71. Within two weeks, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops announced its tentative support of ANT/OAR in contrast to Rome’s opposition–a move wholly intended to appease Catholic voters and to conform with the sudden endorsement of ANT/OAR by the GOP and GW Bush.

    Regarding climate change, I fear Rome may be promoting one position for positive PR with the rest of the world–especially the poor in the third world nations most likely to suffer first from Climate Change–while the U.S. Catholic Bureaucracy plays both sides of the eco-fence to appease the pro-fossil fuel coalition: the GOP, Conservatives, and fossil fuel special interests. Regarding this potential, I suggest anyone wishing to see the above report reflected in the official U.S. Catholic stance on global warming–both politically and publicly–should both write and call the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington D.C. to voice your concerns and requests.

    In my opinion, this matter is as much a ‘pro-life’ issue–more so–than any moral or ethical matters of debate the Church traditionally feels compelled to embrace as a social cause. For this reason, you may wish to direct your calls or letters to Mr. Richard Doerflinger, Deputy Director of Pro-Life Activities at the USCCB. rdoerflinger@usccb.org 202-541-3171

  28. LT says:

    “Pray for Science”…Where can I get that bumper sticker!

  29. Mike # 22 says:

    The State of the Vatican City has the highest per capita installed photovoltaic, at 200w/person. They published a book, “The Energy of the Sun in the Vatican” or “L’Energia del Sole in Vaticano” which I would just love to have a few dozen copies of for handouts. Nice video here: http://www.romereports.com/palio/Vatican-fortifies-clean-energy-commitment-english-3231.html

  30. malcreado says:

    >“Pray for Science”…Where can I get that bumper sticker!

    make your own at http://www.makestickers.com/

  31. Lewis C says:

    LT – It would greatly reduce the potential for misinterpretation and use by denialists as pro-denial propagana if, rather than:

    “Pray for Science”

    it were to be two words longer and read:

    “Pray for Respect for Science”

    Regards,

    Lewis

    [JR: No longer works as a Bumpersticker. And I"m not sure what it gets you.]

  32. AT says:

    @#28:

    Hasn’t the USCCB long been supportive of action on climate?

    Circa 2001 – http://www.nccbuscc.org/sdwp/international/globalclimate.shtml

  33. Sunshine says:

    While they are at it, they might attempt to convince the “holier than the rest of us” crowd to examine their birth control and contraception policies. They might have worked fine 400 years ago when the church needed to assure a continual generational stream of tithing patrons, but families today that try to live by the church’s rules are penalized by having large unmanageable, unaffordable families. Many families in Mexico – 18 kids and counting…

  34. Jay Alt says:

    3. AT: yes, they have long involvement in AGW, going back at least to 2001. That release didn’t push for action (as the current document does). It advocated for the poor and urged a respect for science. It urged politicians to do likewise in their discussions in the document you linked. That advice was ignored.

    The title here misledes, so it is worth following the link provided. Religions have age-old skills in changing behavior and confronting moral questions. No amount of prayer or meditation will give scientists those abilities.

  35. Snapple says:

    Some partisan commenter-troublemakers are spreading mumblebrained speculations and falsehoods about what the Catholics say. If they were informed about climate science, they would know about the Pontifical Academy.

    The late Pope John Paul and the US Council of Catholic Bishops have spoken on climate change for many years. Here is a link that gives some quotes about climate change.

    http://www.usccb.org/sdwp/ejp/climate/bulletinclipart.shtml

    Here is some information about the Pontifical Academy.

    http://legendofpineridge.blogspot.com/2011/02/pontifical-academy-of-sciences.html

    Thanks for telling about the position of the Vatican. Our Catholic school teaches about global warming. One of the climate scientists in our book is a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and he was in charge of the recent Vatican workshop.

    “The Pontifical Academy of Sciences has its roots in the Academy of the Lynxes (Accademia dei Lincei) which was founded in Rome in 1603 as the first exclusively scientific academy in the world.”

    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_academies/acdscien/own/documents/pashistory.html

    The World Council of Churches also accepts global warming and have signed a document with the Catholics:

    QUOTE:

    Jointly prepared and published by
    The Pontifical Council for Christian Unity
    The Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches…..

    God created our world with wisdom and love and when he had finished his great work of creation, God saw that it was good.

    Today however the world is confronted with a serious ecological crisis. The earth is suffering from global warming as a result of our excessive consumption of energy. The extent of forested area on our planet has diminished by 50% over the last 40 years while the deserts are spreading ever faster. Three quarters of ocean life has already disappeared. Every day more than 100 living species die out and this loss of biodiversity is a serious menace for humanity itself. With the apostle Paul we can affirm: creation has been delivered into the power of destruction, it groans as in the pains of childbirth.

    We cannot deny that human beings bear a heavy responsibility for environmental destruction. Their unbridled greed casts the shadow of death on the whole of creation.

    Together Christians must do their utmost to save creation. Before the immensity of this task, they must unite their efforts. It is only together that they can protect the work of the creator. It is impossible not to notice the central place which natural elements occupy in the parables and teaching of Jesus. Christ shows great respect even for the smallest of all the seeds. With the biblical vision of creation as affirmation, Christians can contribute with one voice to the present reflection on the future of our planet.

    Prayer

    God our Creator, the world was created by your Word and you saw that it was good. But today we are spreading death and destroying our environment. Grant that we may repent of our greed; help us to care for all that you have made. Together, we desire to protect your creation. Amen.

    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/weeks-prayer-doc/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_20080630_week-prayer-2009_en.html

  36. Snapple says:

    I think some of you believe the astroturf “religious” organizations instead of the real religious organizations. Doh!

    The Russian physicist Roald Sagdeev is a member of the Pontifical Academy of sciences. He is one of the scientists who signed the open letter in defense of the climate research. I have posted a number of articles about Dr. Sagdeev.

    Virginia’s Attorney General Cuccinelli, who persecutes the climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann, cites a news article from the Kremlin’s official press agency RIA Novosti in his attack on the EPA; but he doesn’t consider the perspective of one of Russia’s greatest scientists, Roald Sagdeev, the first Soviet scientist to be a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

    When Dr. Sagdeev lived in the former U.S.S.R., he bravely published a 1987 letter in Izvestia that distanced the Soviet Academy of Sciences from the KGB’s campaign to spread the lie that the U.S. Army made AIDS to kill blacks.

    Acording to The New York Times (11-7-87):

    Soviet scientists have disavowed charges in the Soviet-sponsored press that the AIDS virus was artificially cultivated at a secret American military base.

    The scientists, Roald Sagdeyev and Vitali Goldansky, publicly distanced the Soviet Academy of Sciences from the accusations about American responsibility for acquired immune deficiency syndrome. They said they had protested the appearance of Soviet articles that repeated those contentions.

    The disavowal was contained in Izvestia, the Soviet government newspaper…

    Dr. Sagdeev is one of my heroes because he spoke on behalf of less powerful Soviet scientists who probably were afraid to challenge the KGB propaganda about AIDS. Dr. Sagdeev defended reason and science instead of pseudo-scientific propaganda that served the regime’s political agenda instead of scientific progress. Indeed, the Soviet regime’s official ideology, Marxism-Leninism, was a pseudo-scientific ideology that masqueraded as science.

    In 1992, KGB chief Yevgeni Primakov finally admitted that the KGB had spread this propaganda:

    The Russian newspaper Izvestiya (3-19-92) reported on March 19, 1992:

    [Primakov] mentioned the well known articles printed a few years ago in our central newspapers about AIDS supposedly originating from secret Pentagon laboratories. According to Yevgeni Primakov, the articles exposing US scientists’ ‘crafty’ plots were fabricated in KGB offices.

    The homepage of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences has some interesting recent scientific articles. Wikipedia has a good description of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and identifies the current Academicians by country. I would not be surprised if some Nobel-winning climate scientists, who are constantly hounded by the Denialist Party, are someday invited to become members of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences because they aren’t just outstanding scientists, they are outstanding defenders of God’s creation.

    Wikipedia notes:

    During its various decades of activity, the Academy has had a number of Nobel Prize winners amongst its members, many of whom were appointed Academicians before they received this prestigious international award.

  37. Snapple says:

    Earth to Virginia’s (CATHOLIC) Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli!

    “The earth is suffering from global warming as a result of our excessive consumption of energy.”—The Vatican

    The Pontifical Academy of Sciences accepts the science of climate change and has created a Working Group on the Fate of Mountain Glaciers in the Anthropocene.

    Wikipedia explains:

    “The Anthropocene is an informal geological epoch that serves to mark the recent extent of human activities that have had a significant global impact on the Earth’s ecosystems…The term was coined in 2000 by the Nobel Prize-winning atmospheric chemist Paul Crutzen, who regards the influence of human behavior on the Earth in recent centuries as so significant as to constitute a new geological era.”

    [See Dr. Crutzen's Wikipedia, his homepage at the Pontifical Academy, his homepage at the Max-Planck-Institute, his Nobel Prize autobiography, and an article by James Hansen in Time (10-17-07) about Dr. Crutzen's achievements.]

    The Pontifical Academy’s Working Group had a workshop at the Casina Pio IV on April 2-4, 2011. The Prologue of the program, which was written by Pontifical Academician P.J. Crutzen, L. Bengtsson, and Pontifical Academician V. Ramanathan, states:

    Mountain glaciers in Europe, North America, South America, Africa, and the largest of them all in the Himalayan-Tibetan region are retreating, some at alarming rates. The hypothesized causal factors include global warming, atmospheric brown clouds, land surface modification, recovery from the mini ice-age, and large scale drying of the air among other factors. Some glaciers are expected to disappear during this century and others are predicted to experience significant loss of spatial cover and mass. The downstream consequences include glacial lake outburst floods, disrupted availability of water for agriculture and human consumption, changes to mountain eco systems, increased frequency of forest fires, loss of habitat, and other potential catastrophes. A holistic study covering the physical science, social science, and the human dimension sides of the problem has not been attempted thus far. It is our hope that this first of its kind workshop organized by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences will lay the foundation for studying and monitoring this potential disaster that will impact the entire planet.

    The workshop will also explore avenues available for mitigating and adapting to this potential tragedy.

    P.J. Crutzen, L. Bengtsson and V. Ramanathan [See the full schedule of the workshop and the speakers.]

    http://legendofpineridge.blogspot.com/2011/03/pontifical-academy-of-sciences-hosts.html

  38. Snapple says:

    This anti-religious poster from the Khrushchev era proclaims “There is no God!” Supposedly, there is no God because the Soviet cosmonauts went into space and did not see Him.

    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-PSLRJNVyQfQ/TV_i0JJBo9I/AAAAAAAACi8/G3EDZr3-cB0/s1600/5443229760_6a0e550037%255B1%255D.jpg

    I am an expert on Soviet persecution and manipulation of religion. The Soviet regime tried to destroy religion and substitute so-called “scientific” Marxism-Leninism.

    Still, the regime fully appreciated the power of religion; so they sometimes found it useful to coopt religion—even as they persecuted Christians—to advance the regime’s political agenda. For example, when Hitler attacked Russia, Stalin put the Patriarch of the much-persecuted Russian Orthodox Church on the radio; and the Patriarch called on the people to fight for Russia.

    These days, pseudo-scientific global warming denialists denigrate Christians who accept the science of man-made global warming. The denialists also create fake “religious” organizations that depict global warming as a scientific hoax.

    The denialists’ tactics in the service of pseudo-scientific global warming denialism remind me a lot of how the communist regime denigrated Christians and tried to replace Christian beliefs with so-called “scientific” Marxism-Leninism.

    Here is a fake religious site called “Real Catholic TV” that tries to make it appear that “real Catholics” don’t believe in global warming, although the Vatican says officially that there is global warming.

    The “Real Catholic” site is nothing to do with the Vatican and even confuses people with a big logo that says CIA at the top. The site exploits the Central Intelligence Agency acronym by calling themselves the Catholic Investigative Agency (CIA), though they have a tiny disclaimer at the bottom saying they aren’t the real CIA.

    They aren’t the real Catholics, either.

    The Vatican says there is global warming. Children and college students learn about global warming in Catholic schools. Global warming is viewed as a social justice issue that needs to be addressed by real science, not swept under the rug by energy industry propaganda. The Vatican supports the UN report on climate change, so that’s the real Catholic position.

    Here is another fake organization that claims to be made of Evangelicals—the Cornwall Alliance. The stupidities of the British religious bigot and global warming denialist Lord Christopher Monckton, who disparaged the University of St. Thomas as an ignorant “Bible college” are posted on this so-called “Evangelical” site.

    One of the religious leaders of the Cornwall Alliance, Dr. James Tonkowich, also denigrates Christians who believe in global warming when he makes this bigoted, anti-religious allegation:

    “Global warming is the central tenet of this new belief system in much the same way that the Resurrection is the central tenet of Christianity. Al Gore has taken a role corresponding to that of St Paul in proselytizing the new faith …. My skepticism about [anthropogenic global warming] arises from the fact that as a physicist who has worked in closely related areas, I know how poor the underlying science is. In effect the scientific method has been abandoned in this field.”

    If you only read the home page, it seems that Dr. Tonkowich is claiming that he said these words and that he is a trained physicist, but if you click on the link, Dr. Tonkowich is actually quoting another person: “So wrote Atmospheric Physicist Dr. John Reid, quoted in a new report on more than a thousand scientists who dissent over the claims about man-made global warming.”

    That seems a very deceptive to me. Also, these one thousand scientists do not represent the scientific consensus. Almost all climate scientists say there is global warming. The National Academy of Science says that global warming is happening.

    It is hard to believe that this dishonest clergyman was once a leader of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. Dr. Kent Hill, who led the IRD in the 1980s, would never have misrepresented himself like Dr. Tonkowich does.

    Christians who believe in global warming are not cultists who have embraced a “new belief system;” rather, many Christians are educated people who read what our scientists and our religious leaders are learning about global warming. Educated Christians follow the discoveries of modern science and don’t swallow the stupid lies of the denialist “scientific” and “religious” organizations.
    We know they are often just the mouthpieces of the fossil-fuel industry.

    In my opinion, the Cornwall Alliance is really a bigoted, anti-religious site that shamelessly disparages Christians who are concerned about global warming by comparing them to the members of a cult who have replaced the central tenet of Christianity with the belief in global warming.

    Characterizing Christians as extremist members of a cult is a tactic the communists used to denigrate and persecute Christians. Since Dr. James Tonkowich used to work at the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD), he should know that. It is hard to understand how this Dr. Tonkowich was able to work for an organization that used to defend Soviet and East European Christians from religious bigotry.

    It should be obvious that if religious organizations were really against global warming, the denialists would not need to make up FAKE religious organizations that deny global warming.

    These denialist organizations that masquerade as religious organizations slander both scientists and Christians. They seem to have forgotten what the Ten Commandments says about bearing false witness.

    Plenty of religious people look to religion for moral guidance while also maintaining a scientific outlook. Global warming is a moral issue, and educated Christians look to great scientists for guidance about how to solve this problem. I don’t think that the great scientists who are researching global warming are trying to “trick” people. I think that the fossil fuel industry, politicians who take their money, and the Russian petrostate are trying to trick people.

    http://legendofpineridge.blogspot.com/2011/02/astroturf-religious-organizations-deny.html

  39. Snapple says:

    The new President of the Pontifical Academy is Werner Arber, a Nobel-winning Swiss microbiologist. He is the first Protestant to head the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. The Academy “is non-sectarian in its choice of members.”

    The Pontifical Academy of Sciences is an independent entity within the Holy See.

    The Pontifical Academy plans to have more workshops about climate change:

    “It is our hope that this first of its kind workshop organized by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences will lay the foundation for studying and monitoring this potential disaster that will impact the entire planet.”

    http://legendofpineridge.blogspot.com/2011/03/pontifical-academy-of-sciences-hosts.html

    I hope that the famous US Climate scientists will attend as many of these workshops as possible. It will show people that scientists and religious leaders are united on the issue of global warming. The Vatican forms its social policy based on the advice of its Pontifical Academies. I know that Dr. Mann has attended a Pontifical Academy workshop in the past.

    The Attorney General is a law officer, but instead of upholding the law and protecting the innocent, he flaps his mouth, abuses his office, and persecutes our innocent prophets–climate scientists. I think this might be because Attorney General Cuccinelli’s father is a natural-gas lobbyist.

    I wonder if Cucinelli will try to prevent Virginia schools from teaching about climate science. If he does, Catholic schools will still teach real science.

    We will still teach boys and girls what NOAA says. We will still put NASA posters on the wall.

  40. Badgersouth says:

    The Climate Denial Spin Machine’s response to the Vatican report is embedded in “Green Smoke and Mirrors? Vatican Weighs in on Climate Change” posted on Fox News on May 11.

    http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/05/11/green-smoke-mirrors-vatican-weighs-climate-change/

    This Fox article is deserving of the “Romm treatment”.