The National Catholic Review
A Catholic approach to climate change
Image

Earth Day, April 22, will mark the unveiling of “The Catholic Climate Covenant,” an initiative of the three-year-old Catholic Coalition on Climate Change, which represents 12 organizations, one of which is the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The covenant includes what is being called the St. Francis Pledge to Protect Creation and the Poor, inspired by the saint’s “Canticle of the Sun,” which praises creation in the form of earth, water and creatures. St. Francis of Assisi is an important model for another reason as well: he uniquely links care of creation and care of the poor.

“God’s creation is good and it is one,” Pope Benedict said last August in Australia at World Youth Day, as he introduced the theme of protecting God’s creation. Benedict declared that sustainable development and care for our environment are “of vital importance for humanity.” Then he framed the moral dimensions of environmental justice and care for creation in the form of a challenge to the “brutal consumption of creation,” where the whole is treated merely as “our property” that we consume “for ourselves alone.” Benedict cautioned that effective initiatives to prevent the destruction of creation can be developed and implemented, but “only where creation is considered as beginning with God.”

In the United States, a growing awareness of climate change and its consequences can be seen in private and public efforts to conserve energy. State governments are introducing bills and forming policies to reduce fossil fuel emissions and are crafting incentives for homeowners and businesses to conserve and to consider renewable energy alternatives. The president and Congress are making similar proposals at the national level, setting off a major debate over how best to respond to the complexities of climate change. In a debate dominated by environmental groups, scientists and alternative energy entrepreneurs on the one hand, and by utilities, agribusiness, coal and oil companies and others with vested interests on the other hand, the Catholic Church and Christian interfaith leaders are lifting up the moral and human dimensions of climate change. Our Christian faith calls us to bring together the biblical mandate to care for the “garden” (Gn 1:28-30) and also to care “for the least of these” (Mt 25). As our nation deliberates about future policies, American Catholics offer a distinctive position that combines care for God’s creation with protection for those who are poor and vulnerable.

The church is by no means setting itself against science on this issue. Rather, the church relies on scientific research. “With increasing clarity, scientific research demonstrates that the impact of human actions in any one place or region can have worldwide effects,” Pope Benedict wrote in a letter to the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople (Sept. 1, 2007). The pope went on to note that the consequences of disregard for the environment “always harm human co-existence” and “betray human dignity and violate the rights of citizens who desire to live in a safe environment….” The U.S. Catholic bishops have expressed similar views in their own statements; on climate change the bishops accept the scientific evidence and conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Climate change is largely a consequence of the way the world has undertaken industrialization, used and abused natural resources for energy (transportation, heating and cooling) and neglected the resulting pollution and other adverse effects on the fragile ecosystems of the planet. Its adverse effects are global. The nations, particularly the industrialized nations, must now find remedies.

Pope Benedict’s sophisticated understanding of these issues is apparent in the same letter, where he discusses a responsibility that industrialized countries and those becoming more industrialized share. “While it is true that industrializing countries are not morally free to repeat the past errors of others by recklessly continuing to damage the environment,” he wrote, “it is also of the case that highly industrialized countries must share ‘clean technologies’ and ensure that their own markets do not sustain demands for goods whose very production contributes to the proliferation of pollution.”

Climate change is already affecting the planet and its people in very real ways. And the adverse effects could make life more difficult for those least able to cope with the consequences of climate change (see the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report, available online). While not every weather-related natural disaster can be directly linked to climate change, it is clear from those who are studying climate change that weather disruptions—prolonged droughts, more intense rains, melting glaciers, and so on—will become more common.

Two years ago, the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change held a hearing at the request of the Alaskan bishops. An elder from the Inuit village of Newtok told the participants how his village now regularly floods in the fall because the sea ice is forming later and later, allowing stormswells up the nearby river. State and federal funds are being used to relocate the village to higher ground. But think of all the places on earth where such resources are not available. What happens to those people, their livelihoods, their families, neighbors and friends?

Many scientists warn that African nations now feel the brunt of the negative impact of climate change and that they will continue to do so. In Ethiopia, nearly one-fifth of the population (12 million people) is currently receiving food aid due to chronic drought. Breaking the cycle of drought and starvation has always been difficult in this part of the world, but new and more plentiful resources will be needed to respond to humanitarian crises like this—mitigating the impact of climate change—and also for adaptation efforts that help poor nations cope in the long term with an altered climate.

These examples highlight the need to reduce the level of our own greenhouse gas emissions through new technology and energy efficiencies and to share these new ways with the poorest countries around the world. Our nation must demonstrate leadership in helping developing nations grow their economies in more environmentally sustainable ways.

Working Behind the Scenes

Since the moral and human dimensions are often neglected or missing in the dialogue over how to respond to climate change, the Catholic community and its interfaith partners have a duty to speak for the voiceless and to bring together issues of social justice and environmental stewardship. This is the mission of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Environmental Justice Program and the National Religious Partnership for the Environment.

On this issue the Catholic community took an early lead. Seven years ago, the U.S. Catholic bishops adopted an unprecedented statement, Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence and the Common Good. In it the bishops insisted that responses to climate change be guided by the following: prudence, which requires wise action now to address problems that will grow in magnitude and consequence; “bold and generous action on behalf of the common good,” rather than in compliance with narrow interests; and a clear priority for the poor, who bear the greatest burdens and pay the greatest price for the consequences of climate change.

“At its core, global climate change is not simply about economic theory or political platforms, nor about partisan advantage or interest group pressures,” the bishops wrote. “Rather, global climate change is about the future of God’s creation and the one human family. It is about protecting both the ‘human environment’ and the natural environment. It is about our human stewardship of God’s creation and our responsibility to those who come after us.”

The U.S.C.CB is leading efforts with other members of the National Religious Partnership for the Environment to help shape the climate change legislation before Congress. Without that collective voice, key provisions that address the poverty dimensions of climate change would have been weakened or eliminated from the first climate change legislation to be debated (but not adopted) by the Senate. The partnership is still working to ensure that the new legislation includes provisions to protect poor people in the United States who face rising energy costs, and also provisions to assist developing countries in adapting to the negative effects of climate change. In mid-February hundreds of Catholic leaders went to Capitol Hill as part of a Catholic Social Ministry Gathering to make this specific case with their senators and representatives.

The Covenant and the Pledge

The Catholic Coalition on Climate Change, as noted above, is also launching a practical education and action initiative. Individual Catholics, families, parishes, schools, religious communities, dioceses and other Catholic organizations are invited to take the St. Francis Pledge and join The Catholic Climate Covenant. The covenant provides concrete ways of responding to Scripture and Catholic teaching, while demonstrating a concern for both the planet and its people. Through a new Web site, video and ad campaign with outreach to dozens of cooperating national organizations, Catholics are being asked to take the pledge and agree to: pray and reflect on the duty to care for God’s creation and protect the poor and vulnerable; learn about and educate others on the moral dimensions of climate change; assess our participation—as individuals and organizations—in contributing to climate change; act to change choices and behaviors that contribute to climate change; and advocate Catholic principles and priorities in discussions and in decision making on climate change, especially as it affects the poor and vulnerable. A new Web site (http://www.usccb.org/sdwp/ejp/climate) will provide concrete ways for Catholics to fulfill their pledge.

With Pope Benedict’s strong voice, with clear leadership by the U.S. Catholic bishops, by joining together in The Catholic Climate Covenant and the St. Francis Pledge, and by reclaiming our ancient traditions of caring for creation and for God’s people, especially the poor, the Catholic community will play an increasingly important role in addressing climate change. It is one way of demonstrating true solidarity with our brothers and sisters on a finite yet abundant planet.

Bishop William S. Skylstad is the bishop of Spokane, past president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and a current member of the bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace.

Comments

Gerald Villella | 2/6/2010 - 3:57pm

You won't change the minds of the featherbrained environuts who stubbornly continue to spout spiritual platitudes in favor of the "climate change" hoax. It is too much a part of their socialist core to admit that they have been part of such a scam, which now collapses in spectacular fashion as the myriad frauds are exposed. Eager to jump onto any idea which justifies plenary control over human behavior, this group will misuse the names and memories of great saints and manipulate current Catholic leaders to put the Church, ironically, on the wrong side of science and history once again; despite it's sincere desire never to have another "Galileo" debacle. I am a devout, conservative Catholic who is increasingly appalled by the amount of influence wielded by the "social gospel" Neo-Marxists who always tell us that they are most concerned about "the poor;" and tsk-tsk about the greed and selfishness of the productive people and nations who actually help the poor the most. These earth-worshipping fools will align themselves with some of the worlds worst tyrants whose anti-captialist, anti-liberty policies starve and impoverish their own people, and claim they are following Jesus's instructions.  Yes, respect the Earth, and help the poor-mainly by giving them the personal freedom and access to world markets which have proven to be the most reliable means to eradicate poverty.

E.Patrick mosman | 4/30/2009 - 10:47am
Since several Supreme Court justices hold that foreign court decisions can actually supersede our own Constitution, the British court decision ruling that 'global warming' meets the criteria of a religion under British law this ruling should be a warning to our Catholic Bishops to reconsider their support of a false religion. http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2009/04/global_warming_ruled_a_religio.html Global Warming Ruled a Religion by British Judge "A fired British executive is suing his former employer on the grounds that he was unfairly dismissed due to religious views – his belief in global warming. According to the Independent: “In the first case of its kind, employment judge David Sneath said Tim Nicholson, a former environmental policy officer, could invoke employment law for protection from discrimination against him for his conviction that climate change was the world's most important environmental problem.” The judge ruled that Nicholson’s extreme green views fit the definition of “a philosophical belief under the Employment Equality (Religion and Belief) Regulations, 2003.” So strong were these “beliefs,” that they “put him at odds with other senior executives within the firm.” The 41-year-old told the employment tribunal that, as head of sustainability at Grainger plc, Britain's largest residential property investment company, he constantly tangled with fellow-executives over the company’s environmental policies and corporate social responsibility."
Brian Russell | 4/28/2009 - 12:20am
What tripe! Sadly, our bishops have been duped into accepting the IPCC's agenda. The CO2 hoax will wreck the most havoc on the poor and vulnerable, while diverting resources from real problems. So much for dialogue, prudence and the common good. Then again what does anyone who has tried to understand the underlying 'science" know: we're among "those with vested interests on the other hand."
Jamilia A. George | 4/27/2009 - 5:58pm
I appreciated very much reading your article on climate change. I am a member of the state/federal committee which is assisting the communitiy of Newtok to relocate to Nelson Island, some 9 miles across the Ninglic River. I thought you would like to know that Newtok is not an Inuit Village. Rather, they are a Yupik commmunity, indigenous to central and western Alaska. Inuit Eskimow inhabit the northern Alaska/Canadian border and Canada. While the Inuit and Yupik are related,this is an important distinction to our Native people. Sincerely, Jamilia George State Co-Chair Representative to the Denali Commission
James Snow | 4/25/2009 - 12:50am
A colleague (http://www.blogger.com/profile/12581921701006325552) posted this reflection on another blog: Just one Earth Day a year!? If a single day isn't enough you can get your fill by going old school and celebrating the Rogation and Ember Days from the calendar of Blessed Pope John XXIII. Put them all together and you'd almost have enough for an Earth month! ;) "For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth her seed to shoot forth: so shall the Lord God make justice to spring forth, and praise before all the nations." - Prophecy Of Isaias To which I reply: kRad: Amen, brother! I am definitely with you on that! Viva La Tradición! :o) I must say that I am decidedly not a fan of our new regime's week of devotion to the Cult of Gaia. Three years ago, the former pro-death president of France, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, said that he hoped the United Nations climate panel would become a fledgling world gorvernment. A former science advisor, Lord Christopher Monckton (http://www.climatedepot.com/a/429/Report-Democrats-Refuse-to-Allow-Skeptic-to-Testify-Alongside-Gore-At-Congressional-Hearing), to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was disinvited to appear before a House Energy and Commerce hearing today on global warming because House Democrats didn't want Gore humiliated about the lack of evidence supporting global warming. Lord Monckton Spring Cleans Global Warming Hysteria (http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2009/03/lord_monckton_spring_cleans_gl.html">Lord Monckton Spring Cleans Global Warming Hysteria) Global Warming and Pagan Emptiness, George Cardinal Pell Gives His Insight On The Latest Hysterical Substitute For Religion (http://www.scienceandpublicpolicy.org/commentaries_essays/global_warming_and_pagan_empt.html) Climate Sensitivity Reconsidered http://www.aps.org/units/fps/newsletters/200807/monckton.cfm
ElizabethVictoria | 4/22/2009 - 9:17am
NO; NO; NO!
DE Mosman | 4/21/2009 - 1:25pm
If CO2 were a culprit causing global warming (the opposite is factually correct) and reducing same would slow down global warming and save planet earth -- then might not CO2 be a savior under a different climate scenario? And the opposite CO2 hypothesis be just as accurate? In that an increase in CO2 would warm the atmosphere and slow the advent of next ice age? And accordingly -- to avoid that ice age catastrophe -- man should increase atmospheric CO2 levels by burning fossil fuels as fast as possible. Reputable skeptics await to see which scientist will go so far as to publishing a paper on how to slow global cooling.
E.Patrick Mosman | 4/21/2009 - 7:30am
In grade school religion we were taught that God created us in his image and likeness and in general science we were taught that in His infinite wisdom and knowledge He created a system whereby we inhaled oxygen, exhaled carbon dioxide which was absorbed by trees and vegetation which converted the carbon dioxide into oxygen which was needed by all living creatures. Without carbon dioxide the earth would would have been a barren lifeless planet. Unfortunately in today's world non-scientists, politicians, lawyers and judges have intruded into the scientific world and by a 5-4 Supreme Court decision carbon dioxide, the Creator's gift, was declared a pollutant. There was no consensus among science challenged judges just as there is no consensus among scientists today. Here are some scientists whose work should be piled high on every politician's desk before the economy of the United States is wreaked with foolish regulations of CO2 by Cap and Trade or taxes. -Professor Richard Lindzen of MIT -Khabibullo Abdusamatov and his colleagues at the Russian Academy of Sciences astronomical observatory -Astrophysicist Nir Shariv,Hebrew University, Israel, -Dr. Edward Wegman professor at the Center for Computational Statistics at George Mason University -Dr Richard Tol Michael Otto, Professor of Sustainability and Global Change at Hamburg University, and Adjunct Professor Carnegie Mellon University. -Dr Christopher Landsea, research meteorologist at the Atlantic Oceanic and Meteorological Laboratory of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, -Duncan Wingham, appointed to a chair in the Department of Space and Climate Physics in 1996, and to head of the Department of Earth Sciences in October, 2005. -Henrik Svensmark director of the Centre for Sun-Climate Research at the Danish Space Research Institute (DSRI). -Nigel Weiss, professor emeritus of mathematical astrophysics in the University of Cambridge, -Henk Tennekes, Chairman of the august Scientific Advisory Committee of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts. -Dr Paal Brekke,the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (Soho).- -Dr. Robert Balling, director of the office of climatology, Arizona State University. -Dr Tim Ball- environmental consultant and former climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg. -Professor Fred Singer Professor Emeritus of environmental Science University of Virginia -The climate professors at Harvard and University of Delaware who authored "Restructuring Climatic and Environmental Changes of the Past 1000 Years: A Reappraisal. -and last but not least the 650 scientists who issued a strong dissent to the man made global warming theory in a letter to the recent UN Climate change conference held in Poland. http://www.globalresearch.ca... It is not surprising that none of these scientists ever receive a mention or a hearing in the "science" mainstream media. The sound of real science is a deafening silence.
E.Patrick Mosman | 4/20/2009 - 11:27am
Mr Baylor asks "Is it really likely that the US bishops and Pope Benedict XVI would be issuing statements based on totally erroneous science?" Obviously the answer is a non qualified 'Yes' as there are more than just an "insignificant band of skeptics"who refute the hysteria driven global warming advocates with real scientific facts, not computer generated, quasi-science. Here are some scientists whose work should be piled high on every politician's desk before the economy of the United States is wreaked with foolish regulations of CO2 by Cap and Trade or taxes. -Professor Richard Lindzen of MIT -Khabibullo Abdusamatov and his colleagues at the Russian Academy of Sciences astronomical observatory -Astrophysicist Nir Shariv,Hebrew University, Israel, -Dr. Edward Wegman professor at the Center for Computational Statistics at George Mason University -Dr Richard Tol Michael Otto, Professor of Sustainability and Global Change at Hamburg University, and Adjunct Professor Carnegie Mellon University. -Dr Christopher Landsea, research meteorologist at the Atlantic Oceanic and Meteorological Laboratory of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, -Duncan Wingham, appointed to a chair in the Department of Space and Climate Physics in 1996, and to head of the Department of Earth Sciences in October, 2005. -Henrik Svensmark director of the Centre for Sun-Climate Research at the Danish Space Research Institute (DSRI). -Nigel Weiss, professor emeritus of mathematical astrophysics in the University of Cambridge, -Henk Tennekes, Chairman of the august Scientific Advisory Committee of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts. -Dr Paal Brekke,the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (Soho).- -Dr. Robert Balling, director of the office of climatology, Arizona State University. -Dr Tim Ball- environmental consultant and former climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg. -Professor Fred Singer Professor Emeritus of environmental Science University of Virginia -The climate professors at Harvard and University of Delaware who authored "Restructuring Climatic and Environmental Changes of the Past 1000 Years: A Reappraisal. -and last but not least the 650 scientists who issued a strong dissent to the man made global warming theory in a letter to the recent UN Climate change conference held in Poland. http://www.globalresearch.ca... It is not surprising that none of these scientists ever receive a mention or a hearing in the "science" mainstream media. The sound of real science is a deafening silence. Perhaps Mr. Baylor would be kind enough to provide names of real scientists and their scientific facts that prove conclusively that CO2 causes warming in the face of ten years of no increase in global temperatures and six years of no warming of the oceans as CO2 has risen slightly in the atmosphere. Also Mr. Baylor might wish to comment on my brother's factual science in post #11.
Stephen Baylor | 4/19/2009 - 2:52pm
Do many of the above "scientific" comments --- including two by the same person --- have the feeling of being organized or echoed by an extraordinarily insignificant band of skeptics? Is it really likely that the US bishops and Pope Benedict XVI would be issuing statements based on totally erroneous science? Any fair-minded reader should be able to find a wealth of data and information by internationally authoritative, peer-reviewed scientific associations and national academies of science reporting an overwhelming consensus on the urgency of circumstances. By all means consider opposing or skeptical views --- but consider as well the conclusions about data being reached by virtually every reputable scientific body and every nation's scientific offices across the entire political, economic, ideological, religious, and social spectrum. The Holy Father himself has written and spoken more and more frequently about the urgency of the climage crisis, as recently as in his Easter Sunday message. He says, for example, "“The problems looming on the horizon are complex and time is short. “Before it is too late, it is necessary to make courageous decisions.” As is always the case, the pope grounds his perspectives in scripture and authoritative social teaching, particularly in pointing to the impacts of global warming on the poor and vulnerable, those least responsible for the conditions bearing the first and greatest burden of its consequences. This circumstance should cut across advocacy science from both points of view. Could any circumstance before us be more vividly an issue of the common good guided by the old-fashioned but wise principle of Prudence?
Chris Mulcahy | 4/18/2009 - 7:19pm
How encouraging to have such intelligent warnings from Catholic readers. How discouraging to realize the premier Jesuit magazine is so credulous.
DE Mosman | 4/17/2009 - 9:02am
Those who studied celestial navigation are aware that the earth's spinning causes its N/S axis to precess in a direction which is at right angles to the direction of the applied force and incline 23.5° from an axis perpendicular to the plane of its orbit around the sun. "The precession of the earth's north - south axis traces a conical path in space in a period of approx 26,000 years; with a maximum change of 47°. The Earth's north axis no longer points precisely to Polaris, i.e., the North Star. As the earth's axis precesses -- the earth's celestial equator being coupled to the axis also changes -- and the present area of maximum solar exposure between 23.5° N. (Tropic of Cancer) and 23.5° S. (Tropic of Capricorn) will change, albeit slowly - in tandem with the precession. At about 10,000 AD the earth's North axis will point to Deneb, in about 14,000 AD Vega, and about 23,000 AD to Thuban --- enroute via its conical path to point once again to Polaris." (Paraphased from Source: Dutton's Navigation and Piloting, US Naval Institute, 5th printing, 1963) So what? You might ask. The following is extracted from a Geophysical Research Letter on the Sahara Desert climate changes covering thousands of years. Quote: "The transition from mid-Holocene to modern climate was triggered by changes in the Earth's orbit and the tilt of the Earth's axis [Street-Perrott et al., 1990; Kutzbach and Guetter, 1986]. Around 9 ka, the tilt of the Earth's axis was stronger than today and the time of perihelion was at the end of July [Berger, 1978]. This led to a stronger insolation of the Northern Hemisphere during summer which amplifed the African and Indian summer monsoon. However, variations in orbital parameters through the Holocene are rather smooth, whereas changes in North African climate and vegetation were comparatively abrupt [see, e.g., Petit-Maire and Guo, 1996]. This suggests that there are feedbacks within the climate system which amplify and modify external forcing leading to marked climate variations. This hypothesis is based on earlier experiments using climate models which clearly reveal that positive feedbacks between climate and vegetation tend to amplify orbital forcing such that boreal climate becomes warmer...... 4. Conclusions In conclusion, our results indicate that the long-term cooling and drying from mid-Holocene to present-day is triggered by subtle changes in the Earth's orbit. " End Quote. (Source: GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 26, NO. 14, PAGES 2037-2040, JULY 15, 1999) Simulation of an abrupt change in Saharan vegetation in the mid-Holocene Martin Claussen1, Claudia Kubatzki, Victor Brovkin, and Andrey Ganopolski Potsdam-Institut f¨ur Klimafolgenforschung, Potsdam, Germany Philipp Hoelzmann Max-Planck-Insitut f¨ur Biogeochemie, Jena, Germany Hans-Joachim Pachur Institut f¨ur Geographie, Freie Universit¨at Berlin, Germany) The GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 26, NO. 14 findings use the well known science found inter alia, in Dutton's Navigation and Piloting with respect to earth's axis changes over time (26,000 years); and secondly -- provide further demonstrable confirmation that the earth's warming/cooling cycles are associated with those earth axis changes. It must be noted that all of the Sahara changes were accomplished by mother nature without help from the UN; or US Government grants to the taxpayer supported cottage industry studying global warming; and/or Nobel prize winners. Space at Bellevue Hospital will be reserved for the liberal/rationalists who will probably want to fund studies and find ways as the crow flies to impede earth axis changes. Just thought you would like to know before the present day liberal/rationalist induced -- "reductio ad absurdum" everything must be green mindset -- creates a Sahara Desert type graveyard in the economy of the US and the rest of world -- excepting of course China, India and Ru
DE Mosman | 4/17/2009 - 8:58am
Those who studied celestial navigation are aware that the earth's spinning causes its N/S axis to precess in a direction which is at right angles to the direction of the applied force and incline 23.5° from an axis perpendicular to the plane of its orbit around the sun. "The precession of the earth's north - south axis traces a conical path in space in a period of approx 26,000 years; with a maximum change of 47°. The Earth's north axis no longer points precisely to Polaris, i.e., the North Star. As the earth's axis precesses -- the earth's celestial equator being coupled to the axis also changes -- and the present area of maximum solar exposure between 23.5° N. (Tropic of Cancer) and 23.5° S. (Tropic of Capricorn) will change, albeit slowly - in tandem with the precession. At about 10,000 AD the earth's North axis will point to Deneb, in about 14,000 AD Vega, and about 23,000 AD to Thuban --- enroute via its conical path to point once again to Polaris." (Paraphased from Source: Dutton's Navigation and Piloting, US Naval Institute, 5th printing, 1963) So what? You might ask. The following is extracted from a Geophysical Research Letter on the Sahara Desert climate changes covering thousands of years. Quote: "The transition from mid-Holocene to modern climate was triggered by changes in the Earth's orbit and the tilt of the Earth's axis [Street-Perrott et al., 1990; Kutzbach and Guetter, 1986]. Around 9 ka, the tilt of the Earth's axis was stronger than today and the time of perihelion was at the end of July [Berger, 1978]. This led to a stronger insolation of the Northern Hemisphere during summer which amplifed the African and Indian summer monsoon. However, variations in orbital parameters through the Holocene are rather smooth, whereas changes in North African climate and vegetation were comparatively abrupt [see, e.g., Petit-Maire and Guo, 1996]. This suggests that there are feedbacks within the climate system which amplify and modify external forcing leading to marked climate variations. This hypothesis is based on earlier experiments using climate models which clearly reveal that positive feedbacks between climate and vegetation tend to amplify orbital forcing such that boreal climate becomes warmer...... 4. Conclusions In conclusion, our results indicate that the long-term cooling and drying from mid-Holocene to present-day is triggered by subtle changes in the Earth's orbit. " End Quote. (Source: GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 26, NO. 14, PAGES 2037-2040, JULY 15, 1999) Simulation of an abrupt change in Saharan vegetation in the mid-Holocene Martin Claussen1, Claudia Kubatzki, Victor Brovkin, and Andrey Ganopolski Potsdam-Institut f¨ur Klimafolgenforschung, Potsdam, Germany Philipp Hoelzmann Max-Planck-Insitut f¨ur Biogeochemie, Jena, Germany Hans-Joachim Pachur Institut f¨ur Geographie, Freie Universit¨at Berlin, Germany) The GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 26, NO. 14 findings use the well known science found inter alia, in Dutton's Navigation and Piloting with respect to earth's axis changes over time (26,000 years); and secondly -- provide further demonstrable confirmation that the earth's warming/cooling cycles are associated with those earth axis changes. It must be noted that all of the Sahara changes were accomplished by mother nature without help from the UN; or US Government grants to the taxpayer supported cottage industry studying global warming; and/or Nobel prize winners. Space at Bellevue Hospital will be reserved for the liberal/rationalists who will probably want to fund studies and find ways as the crow flies to impede earth axis changes. Just thought you would like to know before the present day liberal/rationalist induced -- "reductio ad absurdum" everything must be green mindset -- creates a Sahara Desert type graveyard in the economy of the US and the rest of world -- excepting of course China, India and Ru
E.Patrick Mosman | 4/16/2009 - 4:53pm
Since the global temperature peaked in 1998 according to recent observations and now despite computer projections failing to forecast a cooling phase, some experts provide an additional 10 to 20 year window for continued cooling bring the total to a 20 to 30 year of cooling in a predicted warming world. Now we have a number of global warmiing advocates predicting an extended cooling period while their computer programs continue to predicate global warming as the CO2 increases from its present level of approximately 0.0375 percent of the atmosphere. The 3,000 Argo ocean monitors, operational since 2003, have found no ocean warming,only a slight decrease. Are the IPCC's climate model projections wrong? The following questions have been raised with a number of GW advocates,even the Royal Society, without a response. Perhaps no one is willing or able to admit that the doom and gloom nightmare scenarios are false as this would put an end to their agends, total control of all energy usage. Question 1 -has any projection used by the IPCC or other GW advocates forecasted, predicted or otherwise foreseen a cooling period or a little ice age in the future? Question 2 -could any of the current computer models used by the IPCC with their climate theories, complex assumptions, complex climate models and positive feedback loops and inability to factor in 'natural variabilities' forecast,, predict, or foreseen a cooling period now or litttle ice age in the future ? Question 3 -since a rather steady state CO2 content had little or no effect on the earth’s cyclical climate for 10,000 years and the recent warming trend has moderated since 1998 while the atmospheric CO2 increased are the repeated iterations of the computer models falsifying the role of CO2 in the earth’s climate? As repeated iterations of the Mandelbrot set equation drives the results to infinity or zero, it is possible that the GW computer simulations drive the result to ever higher temperatures just by how the assumptions on the CO2 effect are designed, weighted and looped, isn’t it? The following is an additional question: If natural variability causes a cooling phase in the face of increasing CO2 levels why isn't it also true that natural variability is causing warming periods as CO2 levels increase?
BRUCE SNOWDEN | 4/16/2009 - 2:03pm
Dear Online Editor Again my name stayed behind. I wish I knew how to prevent this. Bruce Snowden
BRUCE SNOWDEN | 4/16/2009 - 12:53pm
Respectfully, I suggest there's another side to the global-warming debate, one side covered convincingly in "Stewards Of Creation" by Bishop William S. Skylstad, which focused on the unveiling of "The Catholic Climate Covenant" with Francis of Assisi, patron saint of ecology as an appropriate heavenly guide. I am, however, somewhat skeptal of the claims of many global-warming warriors, a potential believer, yes, but I'd like to offer the following as the root cause of my skepticism. It's true the planet has gotten warmer by about 0.7 degrees Celsius in the 20th century and that carbon emissions contributed to it: automotive combustion partly responsible and I suppose also the huge atmospheric contamination that space blastoff leave behind. Other natural sources include forest fires (all fires really) volcanic eruptions, the decay of dead plants and animal matter, evaporation from the oceans and from respiration (breathing.) Just think how much carbon dioxide is released daily into the atmosphere by human and animal repiration alone! Scientists know that the Earth's early atmosphere was probably comprised mostly of carbon dioxide and so, that odorless, colorless gas, is part of natural creation, permeating every part of the little speck of cosmic dust we call "Earth." But now carbon dioxide is estimated to be less than 1% on the earth's current atmosphere - nitrogen comprises 78% of the air we breathe and oxygen about 21%. It is interesting to note that during the last Ice Age 14,000 years ago, the level of carbon dioxide in the air increased by 50%. Where did it come from? It was always "there!" At that time there was no industry belching nasty contamination into the air, nor was there automotive combustion. Yet a rise in global temperature also occurred at that time. It's also true that since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution 200 years ago, Earth's natural greenhouse effect has been strengthened by the presence of carbon dioxide that was naturally already there, but simply began to be industrially recycled, obviously not "manmade." At least so it seems to me. Additionally from 1940 to 1975 the global temperature fell even as carbon dioxide emissions rose, and since 2001 the global temperature is up by only .03% Celsius. Much of these statistics come from Richard Lowry's article, "The Global Warming Cult" in the 2/9/08 issue of The New York Post. I have yet to read a refutation and so am inclined to accept then as valid. Incidentally Mr. Lowry also pointed out that in recent years the oceans have gotten cooler! Why? Is it possible that meling ice bergs may be a cause? Yet it's been observed that Antartic ice is thickening So in view of all of this and more,I'm sure, I have to wonder just how real is the global-warming threat. Is it just a cyclical thing, predictable and expected wherein iceberbgs melt, lands get flooded, polar bears drown and earthworms crawl on NYC sidewalks in January? However, at the risk of appearing to be tangle-tongued I'm ready to admit that if global-warming is in fact as legitimate as its proponents believe, we's better get involved in saving this planet! Bishop Skylstad and myriads of other become then, like modern "Paul Revers" shouting "The Red Coats of global disaster are coming!"It's true we are "stewards" of creation mandated by the Creator to "subdue the earth" not "destroy it." Yet, even though "Stewards Of Creation" and the up-and-coming Catholic ecological outreach are convincing, I still find myself in the position of the Gospel's Centurion who said, "I do believe, Help my unbelief!
S STEFFEN | 4/15/2009 - 2:13pm
"Birds of a feather flock together."
Paul Louisell | 4/15/2009 - 11:44am
Isn't it interesting that the government policies are all formulated on the premise that "global warming" as the result of human activity is a proven scientific fact? I do hope that the reality of government policies intended to curb an unproven premise does not validate the premise. We all have a responsibility to act as good stewards of God's creation. I question whether government policies, which by their nature interfere with the normal functioning of market economics and which are aimed at the re-distribution of wealth and power from the individual to the State for the "good of society", will create more uninetended consequences than good.
E.Patrick Mosman | 4/15/2009 - 11:14am
THe Catholic Bishop's should expand their knowledge of the science of 'climate change' which has been a significant part of this planet's creation without input or causation by human beings.They could start by studying the 650 scientists who issued a strong dissent to the man made global warming theory in a letter to the recent UN Climate change conference held in Poland. Unfortunately any one who opposes the computer generated doom and gloom scenarios is labeled a 'denier' or 'heretic'. Within the Catholic Church there is a long list of science 'heretics', Copernicus and Galileo are two, that proved to be right against a false consensus scientific belief. While Einstein and Bohr had headline grabbing civilized discussions, often described as debates, on Bohr's theory of quantum mechanics, any attempt in today's world to conduct a learned discussion of global warming, or cooling, or CO2 is met with vitriol filled attacks on men and women with impeccable scientific credentials. while paying homage to a trio of gurus of climate change, nee global warming, who are a motley crew. -Al Gore a no-scientists, a C university student, a divinity school dropout, a lawyer with no science studies, an majority owner/investor in a company selling 'Carbon Credits' with a vested interest in limiting CO2 for profiteering and the producer of a movie that the British Courts found to have 9 or 11 inaccuracies and could not be shown in British schools without identifying and explanation of the inaccurate claims.support@renewableenergyworld.com -James Hansen, manager of the NASA department that produced incorrect temperature data for six years, 2000- 2006, more recently issued completely incorrect temperature data for October 2008 which led to headlines claiming the 'hottest October on record" and testified in an English Court that civil disobedience and destruction of property is proper to reduce CO2 emissions. Mr. Hansen would have been fired for his poor management effort. -Michael Mann, a 'scientist' who used statistical legerdemain to eradicate the Medieval warm period and the Middle Age 'Little Ice Age'to give a perfectly straight handle on his 'Hockeystick' curve which was debunked by two Canadian statistical experts but is still the centerpiece of Al Gore's movie. Another candidate for firing for his agenda driven misuse of scientific methods. http://www.americanthinker.com/2008/12/climate_crisis_logic_crisis.html Gore, Hansen and Mann would have been exposed as political hacks and scientific frauds years ago if real scientists were given a chance to be heard. The intent of the CO2 causes AGW 'Chicken Little the sky is falling' scare is to impose government control on the total energy market. To shut down a gasoline or diesel engine without stopping the fuel flow it is simple, plug the exhaust pipe and in the old days a readily available potato or corn cob could be used. CO2 is the exhaust of the world's greatest economic engine ever imagined and stopping,rationing, taxing or controlling CO2 emissions will effectively place the world's economy in the hands of politicians and environmentalist who think that ANWR is a pristine wilderness but they don't vacation there. The future is '1984' in real time with the Big Brothers in power handing out 'carbon ration cards' to control your transportation choices.
Gregory A. Nachazel | 4/15/2009 - 9:01am
Poor Galileo, prisoner of our great Church so many years ago as we crawled out from underneath the cobbwebs of very poor "scientific assertions" our early church leaders held. You would think by now careful rational thought might exist somewhere in our hierarchy. Once again the fearless ignorance of fools rampages forward aided by popular thoughts which are fashionable to wear. Real science is the pursuit of truth. The "Inconvenient Truth Fantasy Film" is a celebration of deciet of the highest order. Real scientific deductive reasoning requires proofs, actual experiments which can be repeated and demonstrated to produce the same result with each excercise of the test.Proofs, our feeble scientific muscles are as of yet incapable of gathering. The actual and only real Truth to be revealed is Jesus Christ, should science ever become able to fly high enough to grasp the outline of our Creators Triune face.To see our leaders so easily misled by despicable charlatans and hipocrites without parallel is a disgrace. Vast amounts of real human energy and imagination are wasted on being fashionably "Green", while in this same issue of America you point out how desperate the children of Haiti are as they consume mud pies baked in vegetable oil. Where are the priorities of our Faith? Our Lord will continue to manage the earth and the heavens so long as it represents his will. Let us turn our thoughts to our brothers and sisters starving to death; the real inconvenient truth. Maybe our Church can't handle the truth anymore. Maybe it is too late for that. Perhaps appearance is far more important than substance. Allwe have to do is take notice of the popular figures coming to the forefront of endless applause. Have you noticed? They are all pure form, totally void of content. Is this the pathway for the Roman Catholic Faith? I think not. Galileo went on to his eternal reward centuries ago. The hideous designs of the devil have not gone away and permeate the fabric of our blended cultures all over the planet.In order to devour this world the evil one one has continued to develop his cleverness. Clearly very intelligent men and women representing our faith have been decieved and gone so far as to rally others less "intelligent" to this fruitless parade of folly. Abandon these green garments. Get out of the false hope fermenting in failed labratories desperate for funding. Return to the mission.
Eileen Butera | 4/15/2009 - 1:06am
I am glad to see that the Conference of Catholic Bishops and Pope Benedict are in favor of conserving energy and are concerned with global warming but I would like to know what they are DOING on a practical level to practice what they preach. Words are good, but deeds put the punch to the words!
Carlos Pastor | 4/14/2009 - 12:00am
Catholics have the obligation of defending the True, doesn’t it?. If it so, can you tell me if the Climate Change is demonstrated scientifically?. Somebody can be sure on as controversial issue?. Given that the media tell us Climate Change is due to greenhouse gas emissions, and many nations have signed Kyoto Protocol in order to reduce CO2 emissions, the question is: If Climate Change is not due to greenhouse gas emissions, and CO2 have to increase instead of diminishing, (as effect of population growth, and then crops and livestock)…What True The Catholic Climate Covenant will defend?...Please, take care dear brothers, because if we defend a error, the Catholic Church will not be different to Green Peace or WWF, closer to animals than to human beings.
Robert Gannon | 4/13/2009 - 2:57pm
It is good to see our Pope and Bishops concur on the need to care for the earth and thus our one human family. Further investigation of "Solar Dimming" should also be noted. Although global warming is of high impact, the "dimming" has had a cooling effect with makes warming a shadow of what is could have been and might be in the future. I think few people know of the complexities of our temperature and weather changes.
ROBERT MCNULTY | 4/13/2009 - 2:10pm
Perhaps you can tell me how the current warming differs from the medieval warming. In general mankind has done better in the warmings. in the medieval warming, Greenland was green and the Norse stayed there for 400 years. It does not appear that this warming is global in that the southern hemispjhere is not affected.