VATICAN CITY: “Religion and science are united on the need for action on climate,” declared UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon at a papal climate summit in the Vatican this morning.
This statement is at best moot, at worst a risible and cynical inversion of the truth. But it does give us a pretty good idea of where the world’s most powerful bureaucracy stands on what it would like us to believe is the most important issue of the day: climate change is real – and what’s more even God now agrees.
It’s far from the first time that Catholic church has been persuaded to take a position on what is and isn’t correct science. Generally it didn’t end well. We’re all familiar with the story of Galileo. Here’s a less well known example of a pope speaking out on science, this time Clement VII in the Papal Bull that opens the 1484 Malleus Malleficarum.
In it, the Pope recognised the very serious threat posed to agriculture by witches:
“It has indeed lately come to Our ears…many persons of both sexes…have blasted the produce of the earth, the grapes of the vine, the fruits of the trees…vineyards, orchards, meadows, pasture-land, corn, wheat, and all other cereals…”
Not unlike an early prototype of the IPCC’s Assessment Reports, the Malleus Malleficarum confidently pronounced that mankind was at least in part responsible for the extreme weather events of the day.
It said of these witches:
“Therefore it is reasonable to conclude that, just as easily as they raise hailstorms, so can they cause lightning and storms at sea; and so no doubt at all remains on these points.”
Pope Francis didn’t actually speak himself at this morning’s climate summit. Instead, he was represented by Ghana’s Cardinal Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.
Turkson may be an energetic polyglot (he speaks English, Fante, French, Italian, German and Hebrew, with a passing understanding of Latin and Greek) but at no stage in his speech did he attempt seriously to grapple with the complexities of the climate change debate. Instead it was full of fashionable social justice jargon about “sustainability”, man’s obligation to his fellow man, and to the needs of future generations, which is fine as far as it goes but doesn’t actually answer the charge levelled by sceptics that the climate policies being recommended by the green establishment are creating and entrenching poverty in the developing world, not alleviating. The Cardinal, it appeared, had swallowed Ban Ki-Moon’s line that “religion and science are united” and that all that now remains is for “collective action” (as Ban put it in his speech) should be taken.
The worrying impression given – at least to this observer – is that today it was very much the UN, not the Catholic Church, running the show.
“We are at a critical tipping point,” said Ban Ki-Moon. “Soon, I hope Pope Francis will add his voice in his Encyclical.”
He didn’t actually add “All your Vatican are belong to us.” But that, you felt, was the true purpose behind his lightning trip to Rome and his announcement that on September 25, Pope Francis will be addressing a Special Summit Session of the UN General Assembly.
For the climate alarmist establishment – over which the UN, as creator of the United Nations Environment Programme, the World Meteorological Organisation, and, of course, their bastard offshoot the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – this year is all about positioning, pressure and co-option.
That’s because at the end of the year in Paris is the next Climate Change Summit and the last thing Big Green wants is a repeat of the Copenhagen debacle. In the run-up to Paris, it needs to get all its ducks in a row.
The attack is multi-pronged and comprehensive – embracing everything from the Guardian’s new mega-campaign on fossil fuel divestment to the vicious attempts in the left-wing media to discredit sceptical scientists like Willie Soon to the Tom Steyer-funded campaign against any Republican candidates brave enough to express doubt about man-made climate change.
And now, it seems, Big Green has planted its flag on top of the Vatican. Great news for the fanatics of the global warming religion, perhaps. But not so good for those who believe in the old religion. Or, indeed, in honest science.