Climate change sceptics melt under spotlight, Columban priest reports

Australian Columban ecologist Fr Charles Rue, who was one of 80 invitees to a Vatican climate change conference, says that sceptics shot themselves in the foot during the event with "their litany of objections" and the "absurdity" of their positions.

Fr Rue made the statement at the weekend after returning from a closed-door Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace climate change gathering of political leaders, scientists and senior church people in which the pope urged leaders to respect creation and focus on the "needs of sustainable development".

In the statement, Fr Rue said that Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace head, Cardinal Martino gave climate change sceptics "a disproportionate amount of speaking time at the conference" in what he described as "a brilliant strategy" by the cardinal that allowed them to "shoot themselves in the foot".

"Their often repeated litany of objections revealed the absurdity of their position," Fr Rue said.

According to Fr Rue, the venerable mathematician Professor Zichichi of the World Federation of Scientists in Switzerland was a leader of much of the scepticism.

Fr Rue says the professor attacked the UN's Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change, claiming that it lacked scientific rigour.

"There were recurring themes from the climate sceptics," he added, which included identifying the cause of climate change as natural cycles and arguing for money to go to developing nations rather then be spent on carbon reduction."

Fr Rue says that the "sceptics" at the conference believes that new technology will solve agricultural problems in developing countries.

Sceptics also argued that "increasing carbon in the atmosphere is a good thing as it will increase plant growth and is willed by God", he said.

However, the Intergovernmental Panel scientist Professor Stephen Rahmstorf from Potsdam refuted these claims, Fr Rue said.

The French Ambassador for the Environment Laurent Stefanini and UK MP David Milibrand who spoke first at the conference said that climate change is "not only a scientific and political issue but a moral and ethical one, not a whether question but a how and what scale question".

They both called for education of people about its realities and the role of the Church in providing motivation for action, Fr Rue said.

Also attending the conference from Australia was Wilcannia-Forbes Bishop Chris Toohey.

Bishop Toohey's diocese is one of the areas worst affected by the decade-long drought afflicting much of Australia.

Climate Change Sceptics Self-destruct (Columban JPIC, 29/4/07)
Respect creation, Pope tells historic Vatican climate meet (Indian Catholic, 30/4/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
St Columban's Mission Society | Columban JPIC
Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace (
Catholic Earthcare Australia

Don't leave climate change to scientists: Cardinal Martino (CathNews, 27/4/07)
Act now on climate change : US bishops to Congress (CathNews, 9/2/07)
Face truth about fossil fuels, Bishop Toohey says (CathNews, 8/2/07)
Faith communities unite on climate change (CathNews, 5/12/06)
Churches challenge rich countries on greenhouses gases (CathNews, 27/11/06)
Climate makes "ecological conversion" urgent, Vatican says (CathNews, 27/10/06)
Climate change on our doorstep, says Caritas (CathNews, 10/10/06)
Indigenous Aussies among first climate change victims (CathNews, 4/10/06)
Oceania bishops voice concern on climate change , AIDS (15/8/06)

1 May 2007

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