Father James Martin: Why is climate change a moral issue?

Participants look at a screen showing a world map with climate anomalies during the World Climate Change Conference at Le Bourge, France, in this Dec. 8, 2015, file photo. (CNS photo/Stephane Mahe, Reuters)

President Donald J. Trump has just signed measures rolling back significant parts of President Obama’s moves to protect the environment. Among other things, President Trump wants to withdraw and rewrite the Clean Power Plan, the centerpiece of Mr. Obama’s policies to fight global warming. These may seem like political questions, but they are also moral ones. Pope Francis made that clear in his encyclical “Laudato Si’” in 2015. There he called for a conversion in the way we think about what the pope calls “our common home.”

Let’s consider three reasons why caring for the environment is a moral issue and why policies that fail to protect our planet are not only against Catholic teaching but are also immoral.

1. Creation is a gift from God.

All creation is a holy and precious gift from God, to be reverenced by all men and women. The call to care for our planet extends as far back as the Book of Genesis, when humankind was called to “till and keep” the earth. But we have done too much tilling and not enough keeping.

The theme of loving creation runs through both the Old and the New Testaments. In Jesus Christ, God not only became human but also lived in the natural world. Jesus himself appreciated the natural world, as you can see in the Gospel passages where he praises creation and speaks about the birds of the air and the lilies of the field. Basically, the world is not only holy—it is also not ours, much as we would like it to be. It is God’s.

2. The poor are disproportionately affected by climate change.

The disproportionate effect of environmental change on the poor and on the developing world is well documented. This is not simply because the rich often make economic decisions that don’t take the poor into account but because the poor have fewer financial resources to help them adapt to climate change. They cannot move, protect their houses or switch jobs as easily as the rich can.

You cannot care for creation if your heart lacks compassion for your fellow human beings.

The Gospels, Catholic social teaching and the statements of recent popes all critique the exclusion of anyone from the benefits of the earth’s goods. And in decisions regarding the environment and the use of the earth’s common resources, we are called to appreciate of needs and dignity of the poor. Remember, Jesus said that we would be judged on how we treat the poor. That includes how our decisions on climate change affect them.

3. Greed is not good.

In “Laudato Si’” Pope Francis reserves his strongest criticism for the wealthy who ignore the problem of climate change and especially its disproportionate effect on the poor. Why do so many wealthy people turn their backs on the poor? Not only because some view themselves as more “worthy,” but because frequently decision-makers are far removed from the poor, with no real contact with their brothers and sisters.

Selfishness also leads to the evisceration of the notion of the common good. This affects not simply those in the developing world but also those living on the margins in more developed countries—in the inner cities, for example. But in the Christian worldview, there is no room for selfishness or indifference. You cannot care for creation if your heart lacks compassion for your fellow human beings.

So the next time you speak to your legislator or vote about climate change, think not only about you but about the other person. Think not only about your own city but about the cities, towns and villages in the developing world. Think not only about the wealthy but the poor. In other words, think not only about your wallet but your soul.

J Cosgrove
3 months ago

There are a lot of things wrong with this article. I will start by recommending that Fr. Martin and all the other authors here read people who dispute the seriousness of changes in world temperatures. A good start is a book that came out last year

For a laugh, Here are excerpts from the ABC nightly news broadcast in 1977, forty years ago (http://archive2.mrc.org/articles/famous-journalists-70s-ice-obsession-g…) For those who are too young, Howard K. Smith was one of the big three news broadcasters.

Lukewarming: The New Climate Science that Changes Everything

On Amazon here.

From the article

But we have done too much tilling and not enough keeping.

I would suggest that in the United States we have gone in the opposite direction, less is being tilled and more is being kept. Green areas of the US are increasing, not decreasing.

The disproportionate effect of environmental change on the poor and on the developing world is well documented.

If anything it is not well documented. Food production in the world has been increasing since the supposed global warming problems began. Also the number of poor in the world had been decreasing dramatically so how are they been disproportionally affected by a supposedly negative effect. Also the areas that are green have been dramatically increasing in the last 30 years. Carbon dioxide is food for vegetation and is why green areas are increasing.

strongest criticism for the wealthy who ignore the problem of climate change and especially its disproportionate effect on the poor

My experience is that the rich that are the main drivers behind the global warming problem so this does not compute.

I recommend that America try to start a debate on this issue as opposed to just asserting that bad things are happening.

Sam Sawyer, S.J.
3 months ago

Mr. Cosgrove — first, I've removed the boldfacing applied to all of your blockquotes, to make them easier to read and less glaring. I also added the Amazon link for you.

Second, as to the recommendation that America "try to start a debate on this issue": you suggest that we "read people who dispute the seriousness of changes in world temperatures," as if this suggestion is novel, but it is not. It is also far outside the scientific consensus about climate change. You're free, of course, to dispute that consensus, but you shouldn't suggest that other people are somehow failing to engage the debate when they accept the overwhelming consensus of climate scientists without repeatedly engaging the (oft-refuted) objections to it or "clarifications" of it . In this case, the book you've recommended, it should also be noted, is produced and published by the Cato Institute, which is deeply invested—as they have a right to be—in the political opposition to responses to climate change. That doesn't, of course, say whether their scientific conclusions are correct or not, but it does give some context for what side of the debate their book is pitching in on. On that note, I'll also add a link of my own, from the Union of Concerned Scientists, explaining why they list the Cato Institute among their global warming skeptic organizations.

J Cosgrove
3 months ago

Fr. Sawyer,

Thank you for providing the link

A good way to support one's position is not to criticize the Cato Institute because some think it is biased , but to criticize the information the book promulgates. My experience with the Cato institute is that they are honest even if I do not agree with many of their positions. They are libertarians and I especially do not agree with their foreign policy positions. But I have no reason to believe they are biased on what they publish on global warming.

A common way that people support their position is to stigmatize those who oppose them. That is what is done in the article you referenced. It seemed to be an anti-Koch hit piece. Maybe that is deserved but it depends on people thinking badly of the Koch brothers.

I would be interested to see the debate because I believe it is not what most of the concerned scientists believe it is. I can point to another contentious debate within science where there is supposedly consensus and it is nonsense.

I watched a debate on the internet that took place at MIT about 4-5 years ago between Richard Lindzen and several other MIT faculty members. Lindzen was the only one to present evidence for his position. The others just talked about the seriousness of the claim and what could go wrong if it were true. I thought that was very telling. It was an debate organized by MIT that was pro global warming and they could not come up with anybody of substance.

The Lukewarmers believe there has been global warming and probably caused by CO2 but the increase has been much smaller than the models predicted. They said the key part of the debate is over the sensitivity of the relationship between CO2 and additional temperature. This sensitivity is probably much lower than what was in the temperature models.

I am suggesting that people debate it in a reasonable manner.

Sam Sawyer, S.J.
3 months ago

And I am suggesting that the major proponents of that "debate" over the relationship between CO2 and climate change, and the seriousness of its effects, have vested interests and historical patterns of denial which make them less than credible interlocutors. Calling out the UCS for bias in their criticism of the Koch brothers and the various organizations they fund doesn't answer the criticism, it just tries to shift the charge of bias. I think the weight of the vast scientific consensus on climate change puts the burden of proof to establish lack of bias in this debate firmly on the side on those who are skeptical of climate change or skeptical of its seriousness. At this point, to debate it in a reasonable manner means acknowledging that rejection or reinterpretation of established science is an uphill battle—not because of bias, but exactly because reasonable debate has already thoroughly established the state of the matter.

J Cosgrove
3 months ago

Fr. Sawyer,

Let's just say we disagree on how much consensus there is and what the consensus is on. I believe that there are several unresolved issues. One is the sensitivity of CO2 and temperature change. Another is the seriousness of threat. Another is what is to be done about it.

I would suggest that you refrain from the use of the term "denial" because I have a lot of respect for many of the people who question various aspects of the debate and who are well versed in science.

I will add a suggestion that everybody listen to the first 10 minutes of a podcast by Matt Ridley with Russ Roberts on his econtalk blog. It took place on June 29 2015. Google "econtalk matt ridley climate" The link is posted below.

My guess is that for most the first 10 minutes will entice them to listen to it all which is an hour and 7 minutes. It is all about the science of global warming.

E.Patrick Mosman
3 months ago

Father Sawyer,
"I think the weight of the vast scientific consensus on climate change"
No doubt you are still using the skepticalscience blog site headed by John Cook, the Australian fraudster of the statistically phony 97% solution, as proof of anything. Unfortunately few take the time to investigate the actual facts behind Mr Cook's
published paper but one good source is;
https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/04/12/john-cook-is-cooking-up-more-97-…
No doubt you have not studied or glanced at the latest IPCC assessment report Executive Summary page 3 which confirms the hiatus in warming despite a slight increase in atmospheric CO2.Most simulations of the period do not reproduce the observed reduction in global mean surface warming trend over the last 10 to 15 years. "There is medium confidence that the trend difference between models and observations during 1998–2012 is to a substantial degree caused by internal variability, with possible contributions from forcing error and some models overestimating the response to increasing greenhouse gas forcing. Most, though not all, models overestimate the observed warming trend in the tropical troposphere over the last 30years, and tend to underestimate the long-term lower stratospheric cooling trend. {9.4.1, Box 9.2, Figure 9.8" https://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar5/wg1/WG1AR5_Chapter09_FINAL..

Sam Sawyer, S.J.
3 months ago

I am not referring specifically to John Cook's measurement of consensus. I am referring to the general scientific consensus, attested by many, many different reports. I wasn't thinking of a specific source, but if you want one, this round-up of the scientific consensus at NASA is a good one (it cites Cook at the top, but also goes on to cite many, many other statements of the scientific consensus, not being dependent solely upon Cook.)

Additionally, Anthony Watts, whom you cite to refute Cook, has plenty of problemsof his own.

Joe Kash
3 months ago

This notion of polling scientists about a broad question rather than making specific hypotheses, testing them and then defending them is not science. Judith Curry is a great example of a scientist who asks good questions. You should read at her site.

E.Patrick Mosman
3 months ago

Father Sawyer,
John Cook's paper is the source of the "97% of scientists" which is the most used statistic to support climate change,nee global warming . As for supporting statements by others one must consider whether or not they are government employees, NASA, NOAA,GISS or government funded academics as he who pay the piper calls the tune.

Sam Sawyer, S.J.
3 months ago

The NASA link lists statements in support of the consensus view from a host of scientific societies and academies; the majority are not government organizations. And if government funding is proposed as cause for rejection of very well-established science, then so too are fossil fuel funding sources for climate change skeptics a problem for their credibility — and, I would argue, a much worse problem. But this fight over whether or not the science is accurate is already serving the purpose for which it has been deployed: it's focusing attention on the burden of proof, despite that having been met many times over, instead of the moral responsibility to try to do something about climate change. 

Joe Kash
3 months ago

If the scientific consensus is that the earth is flat then who would be the deniers? If the consensus says that the earth is the center of the univers then what does that make Galileo? Calling someone a denier is what the jesuits taught me is an ad hominem attack. These types of attacks are, in general, used by people who really don't know what they are talking about.

Sam Sawyer, S.J.
2 months 4 weeks ago

What I said above in this thread was that many supporters of climate change skepticism "have vested interests and historical patterns of denial which make them less than credible interlocutors." That isn't an ad hominem attack.

E.Patrick Mosman
2 months 4 weeks ago

Actually you should not be referencing John Cook's 97% at all as it is totally false and he is a dedicated climate warmest. Also you fail to acknowledge that there are many scientists, at least 300 headed by Professor Lindzen whom you no doubt consider "deniers", who wrote to the President recommending that the USA withdraw from the Paris agreement. There are also hundreds of scientists who wrote supporting the Obama administration's "war on coal" and other anti-hydrocarbon measures who would be classified as "warmest". Obviously, the science is not settled. It would be of interest to learn if you have perused the Climategate files and emails which detail, among many other things, the conspiracy to avoid complying with FOIA requests and "Kevin Trenberth a government NASA/NOAA/GISS employee who wrote in one of the Climategate emails:
"The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't." and now he is one of the 20 asking the the President and the Justice Department to begin a RICO investigation into those who agree with his "lack of warming " remark.
Perhaps you could consider reposting my deleted remark.

Carlos Orozco
3 months ago

The Catholic Church has enough problems right now with its handling/mishandling of modification of centuries-old teachings of its own. I see no point in taking sides and stiffening scientific debate, coming up with some sort of strange teaching on the subject of so-called climate change.

Remember releases Wikileaks did on "Climategate". UN-sponsered scientists can be stubborn, want to be treated as having the last word, and are willing to lie for money. They too, believe it or not, are human.

Joshua DeCuir
3 months ago

Anyone with knowledge of energy production in this country knows one fact: coal is on its deathbed. It was on its deathbed before the Clean Power Plan (which has actually never gone into effect since the Supreme Court issued a stay against it over a year ago) & Trump's Executive Order will do nothing to bring it back to life. The reason coal is dying is quite simple: the market has shifted decisively away from coal-generated electricity to cheaper, cleaner, less CO2 intensive natural gas-produced electricity. Therefore, the most effective, pragmatic means of further reducing CO2 emissions (which have generally declined in the US over the past 5 years or so as this shift to natural gas has occurred) is to encourage the market's shift to natural gas.

J Cosgrove
3 months ago

Coal is the second largest energy source in the world at the moment. It still is a major provider of energy in the US but all the conventional wisdom says that jobs in mining will not return due to the fracking revolution. Still, there is an international market for coal. People may not like that the coal mined in the US will be used somewhere else but right now there is definitely a market for it. The question is will it be economical to export coal.

My guess, probably not since the mining is no where near ports, Except Korea is making arrangements for coal from Wyoming and Montana but this will not help in the states Trump won in the Eastern part of the country, So there is some irony here.

Stuart Meisenzahl
3 months ago

Joshua
You are dead on accurate.
Of course, it would be totally "politically incorrect" to suggest that ordinary capitalist free market forces ,generated by a profit motive in developing fracking for natural gas , has caused this shift in the long term demise of coal . Not to mention that this gas can be exported to Europe and eliminate its reliance on Russian gas.
In my 11 years of Jesuit education I have met many Fr. Martins and Fr. Sawyers and seen their many phases in disputing and/or supporting the content of many many encyclicals as "moral imperatives" or just serious suggestions, or even irrelevant. I remember Paul VI derisively dismissed and referred to by any number of Jesuits as "That Montini"

Fr Sawyer quickly brings out the "Denial tag " to pin on any disagreement with the scientific underpinnings of his "moral commentary". I wonder how many Hail Marys he would assign me as penance if in the confessional I said I was a Climate Change Denier...it might be the measure of the scale of immorality he perceives as attached to this issue.

I would like to remind the good Father Sawyer that ten years ago Al Gore announced in his film "An Inconvenient Truth" that there was a Scientific Consensus on Global Climate Warming. He said , inter alia, that within ten years the Polar Bears would be extinct (there are more now than then); that the low country coast of the United States would be underwater(it isn't); that there would be many more poor in the world ( there are far fewer); and that the number and violence of hurricanes on the east coast would increase exponentially( they haven't) There have been so very many missed predictions that what was then confidently called "Climate Warming" had to get a new moniker- "Climate Change"
Fr. Sawyer is also probably too young to remember "the scientific consensus" in the early70's that a new ice age was inevitable and imminent..
If the United States were to clamp down on all of the issues I have heard as causing climate damage there would a massive reduction in farming with world wide food shortages, large scale unemployment, and unquestionably a severe reduction in future jobs and rising poverty levels, resulting in more demands for government assistance which could only be met by reducing the amounts already bring paid out as assistance.
Why do I say that per capita assistance benefits would have to be cut?
Well, there is in fact an Economic Consensus that the there is existing $90 Trillion in unfunded United States Government obligations for pensions and entitlements. There is also an Economic Consensus that amount could not be covered by seizing all of the income and assets of the top 85-90% of US Citizens . Doesn't this mean it would be "immoral" to now add more guaranteed social safety net entitlements? Would it not be immoral to not seize all that private property and income to assure we could pay for our previously promised future payments?
So net , net if our response to the Scientific Consensus on Climate Change resulted in lost jobs, higher prices for food and electricity there would very likely be an overall increase in the need for government assistance. And if the Economic Consensus dictates there would then necessarily be a reduced per capita level of government assistance due to the influx of newly unemployed persons and persons requiring food supplements,etc. What then is the required moral course of action??? Defeat Climate Change and suffer deleterious effects on the poor? This would seem to be I a case of one allegedly morally required act generating another predictable morally reprehensible result.

I personally think Fathers Martin and Sawyer have put us on a slippery slope as does the Pope when they venture into areas beyond their own economic and scientific professional competence and by adopting a "current scientific consensus" as Ex -Cathedra pronouncements: As I recall the most famous then current scientific consensus that was (morally) adopted as Ex Cathedra resulted in the trial of Galileo.....an historic set back for both science and the Church's moral authority. And gosh it only took the Church 350 years to apologize!

Sam Sawyer, S.J.
3 months ago

No one has adopted any scientific position as "ex cathedra" — it's unclear what it would even mean to do so. (Also, nothing in the Galileo controversy, as misunderstood as it all is, was ever adopted ex cathedra either.)

Calling for "reasoned debate" about whether or not the vast majority of scientists working on the issue are correct about climate change and its seriousness is misleading at best. Reasoned debate is already present in what the scientists did to reach their conclusions. Certainly those conclusions can be refined, but the (extraordinary) claim that the scientific consensus is wrong requires (extraordinary) evidence. It's not starting on a level playing field where the claims that are skeptical of (the seriousness of) climate change get evaluated neutrally alongside the mainstream science. Reasoned debate puts them at disadvantage precisely because they are less reasonable, as in less supported by the evidence and best interpretations and explanations available. And recognizing that the skeptical claims are supported and promoted by organizations with a vested interest in refuting or ignoring climate change puts them at a further disadvantage. Potentially those disadvantages could be overcome, but treating the consensus scientific account as more reliable than the skeptical accounts is not biased; it is reasonable.

Joe Kash
3 months ago

The incentive for a climate scientist right now is to get grants. Grants are offered to these scientists to do research based on the existing models (models that have been wrong). Try to get grants to do research on the basic science of climate so that new models can be developed. These grants are not so easy to come by. Climate science is a "wicked problem".

Stuart Meisenzahl
2 months 4 weeks ago

Fr Sawyer
What do you call it when the church adopts a conclusion or body of thought and tells its members that they incur a serious moral hazard if they don't believe it or conform their actions to what the body of thought dictates?

What is the purpose of Fr Martin's article if not to interpret the Pope' encyclical as requiring this adherence to "the unanimous scientific conclusion on climate change"
As confusing as the details of Galileo's trial were I believe he could only acquit himself by admitting the "error "of his own scientific conclusion and adhering to the Church's view.I think this qualifies as the Church intruding on science and using heresy as a tool to enforce the Church's preferred scientific position.
I have not called for a " reasoned debate" on Climate Change, nor have I rejected that the conclusion of the vast majority of scientists. However I do object to the position that because the vast majority of scientists have agreed on an issue that no further discussion is permissible. By definition science is never settled. The essence of scientific inquiry is to challenge the current orthodoxy on any issue.
I really do object to the Church taking the position that I suffer moral hazard if I don't confirm my thoughts and actions to the conclusions of the vast majority of scientists and calls upon the words of the Pope for this purpose. If that doesn't amount to an "ex-Cathedra dictate" it sure approaches it. I either accept and conform or I sin?

Finally as to your arguments about vested interests I agree.....but hasten to point out that there was a very very informative series of emails between the leading scientists in England and the US about the need to kill articles critical of their work and which pointed out that they were "Cherry Picking" data to produce the now discredited "hockey stick" warming graph. Theirvmotive: maintaining unimpeded government funding of their research. It was at that point that the phrase "Global Warming" was changed to Climate Change.
As for Al Gore I think you will find that he formed a group to create "a carbon credit trading market". His solution to global warming then and Climate Change now is the federal government creating and imposing. system of "Carbon Credits" on industry.
Indeed Good Old Al bragged that he had purchased such carbon credits to offset his mega mansion's carbon foot print and the pollution of his Gulfstream jet. Mr Gore has made an enormous sum of money so far and stands to make much more in the Carbon Credit MKT he controls if the government supports the imposition of carbon controls on industry.

.

Michael Barberi
3 months ago

Is the responsible caring of our global climate and environment a moral issue? Yes, I think it is. However, the scope, depth, impact and solutions to the problem of climate change is not so clear to me. Below are my concerns:

1. The so-called world climate change agreement does not contain any financial teeth to force any country to comply with suggested or ideal changes. In other words, countries that do nothing, very little or fall short of expectations will not suffer any economic consequences whatsoever.

2. Should China, the U.S. and other countries implement responsible climate control policies to combat the long term impact of climate change? Yes, but what is defined as 'responsible' and whether such remedial actions are reasonable and effective at any cost is debatable. Should the U.S. destroy the coal mining industry while we safeguard our environment? Or should we help the coal industry transition to 'clean coal' through better economic incentives with a reasonable timeline for implementation? Should we implement significantly higher emission standards for car companies regardless of its impact? Or should be increase economic incentives for car companies to build electric cars and implement a more reasonable time to achieve better emission standards? How much will more solar energy, gas and less oil usage, and electric cars contribute to the overall solution? Are we not doing enough or are we attempting to do too much too fast? Lastly, should we try to save as many jobs as possible while we combat climate change?

The answers to these questions are not so obvious to me. What is obvious to me is that there is no one answer that is the only moral one. Nor do abstract social teaching guidelines provide the only specific concrete moral solution.

John Walton
3 months ago

Fr. Martin asks: "Why do so many wealthy people turn their backs on the poor?". I wish he could point me in the direction of some wealthy person(s) turning his or her back on the poor.

The eminent professor of Sociology at Fordham, Fr. Joseph Fitzpatrick SJ reminded us in a homily that, when asked, we were duty bound to give, but that he personally had a pocketful of nickels when he ministered to the men down on their luck in the Bowery.

Vince Killoran
3 months ago

The science is clear, and so is the moral urgency. The gulf that separates Pope Francis' powerful “Laudato Si’” and the failure of will (as well as the para-intellectual denials of climate change) are cause for despair.

J Cosgrove
3 months ago

The science is clear, and so is the moral urgency

You are right about the science is clear. It says the odds of there being any marked increased in temperatures due to CO2 and water vapor is near zero. So there does not appear to be any moral urgency at the moment. Acting as there was would harm the poor of the world tremendously.

J Cosgrove
3 months ago

I suggest everyone who is interested in the science listen to the econtalk I mentioned above. I will try to put the link here in the hope that it won't be sent to moderation. (http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2015/06/matt_ridley_on.html) At this link one can listen to the podcast and there is a complete transcript of the conversation. Search for the term "fat tail" which discusses the probability of anything bad happening. Search for the term "hockey" for a discussion of how scientists have biased the discussion of global warming with their "hockey stick" graphic. It is about 24 minutes into the conversation but can be read in the transcript.

J Cosgrove
3 months ago

I amended my comment at the beginning of this thread to provide some humor/irony on this topic. The result was that the entire comment was deleted probably because the software put the comment including the edit into moderation.

Here is the humor I was adding. (http://archive2.mrc.org/articles/famous-journalists-70s-ice-obsession-g…) Howard K. Smith who is the newscaster in this video was one of the three main news anchors in 1977 who made these comments about temperature change happening. He says he is not an expert but cites experts for his opinion which went out to all the United States.

Sam Sawyer, S.J.
3 months ago

I've reapproved your edited comment. I would also like to call your attention to point 6 of our comments policy ("choose your spots").

Bruce Snowden
3 months ago

Brother/Sister Body, is the material encasement sheltering the soul. I deal in simplicity, so simply put, it experiences stress, fever or other signs of body- debilitation, which no one should deny that, there exists a personalized kinship to what’s more widely called, Climate Change, Global Warming, sinewed as is Brother/Sister Body to the feverish ague threatening the material embrace of our Common Home.

Within that bodily design, we diligently attend to the needs of Brother/Sister Body. Why not also to Mother Earth herself? Climate Change and Global Warming issues try to do so, with resistance from some.

Brother/Sister Body is in fact part of the universal Global mineral mix, the same stuff that makes grass grow green fructifying the garmented earth in multi shades of chlorophyll, or in the sparkle of stardust throughout the infinity of celestial space. We are of this earth and we take good care of ourselves in the face of extinction probability. Why not then the same “tlc” for Mother Earth? She is not only mother, she is also our home, our “common home” as Holy Father Pope Francis has said the very source of that Divine potpourri God used when He said, “Let’s make …” the stuff from whence we came.

The smallest sign of bodily debilitation, say a passing digestive upset calls forth immediate use of appropriate meds to address the issue We feel the need to make the morally “right” response. Now when one speaks of something as “right” or “righteous” that thought process also factors into the equation that which may be “wrong” – those two realities depend on each other to exist, no “right” no “wrong” a matter of morals. So then, should morality buttress the Climate Change Global Warming issues?” I say yes. Why? Primarily because it concerns Brother/Sister Body. Care of the earth is the same as self-care.

Many have forgotten that Creator God is first and foremost a poet, every grain of sand a poem, every leaf a poem. All creation sings unfinished songs, creation an ongoing song, a poem being written, songs and poems of love because God is love, growing, glowing, as lovers know love does. Ask the sooty pot why is Climate Change, Global Warming a moral issue? Do you think the sooty pot bottom is giving a message? Simplistic? Mmmm! Poets understand messages the mere stoic cannot! Giving a personal opinion, Jesuit priest, James Martin is 100% correct.

Rachel Ouellette
3 months ago

Mr Gosgrove I think you should look up some of the people you refer to. There's an article about Matt Ridley in the Guardian that is very critical of his views on climate change. Google him and the Guardian and I'm sure you can find it. Also Lindzen was also trying to disprove the negative effects of smoking. Legitimate scientists are 97% in agreement that climate change is a serious threat to the planet.

E.Patrick Mosman
3 months ago

Ms Quellette,

Obviously you missed my reply above to Father Sawyer on the 97% percent so below is the first paragraph.
"Father Sawyer,
"I think the weight of the vast scientific consensus on climate change"
No doubt you are still using the skepticalscience blog site headed by John Cook, the Australian fraudster of the statistically phony 97% solution, as proof of anything. Unfortunately few take the time to investigate the actual facts behind Mr Cook's
published paper but one good source is;
https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/04/12/john-cook-is-cooking-up-more-97-…"
I suggest you do more research on the subject.

Sam Sawyer, S.J.
3 months ago

I wasn't referring specifically to John Cook's measurement of consensus. If one wants to do more research on the subject, the roundup of the scientific consensus at NASA (includes Cook and many others) is a good starting point.

It should also be noted that the link Mr. Mosman provided above is from a dedicated climate change skeptic, Anthony Watts.

E.Patrick Mosman
2 months 4 weeks ago

"I wasn't referring specifically to John Cook's measurement of consensus."

Actually you should not be referencing John Cook's 97% at all as it is totally false and he is a dedicated climate warmest.

Beth Cioffoletti
3 months ago

The Church - we who consider ourselves members of the Body of Christ - is becoming ready to see & know the Earth and all of Creation as expression & manifestation of God. We are not separate from the waters and air, creatures and land, stars and galaxies. We are all one living, breathing Body. St. Bonaventure, among others, was able to express this insight several hundred years ago.

It's a leap (mystery), but when we know that this is who we are, care for the land, the seas, the sky, the other, becomes self-love / God-love. More and more people are catching on to this more spacious way of knowing. It's Theology 101, even among people who are not "religious".

Trump's actions to roll back environmental protections are an outrageous affront to the very truth of who we are and who God is. Reality.

Rachel Ouellette
3 months ago

Mr Mosman. Please Google Anthony Watts. Wikipedia gives Mr Watts background. He does refute John Cook but doesn't appear to be qualified to do so.

J Cosgrove
3 months ago

Rachel,

I have been making the argument that there should be debate here. Many maintain that the Cook study is fake news because it distorts the data. It is not the term that those who would dispute the study use but is an example of a narrative that is false which is what a lot of fake news is. Under the criteria that Cook uses, I would be considered someone who supports AGW. And if you read my comments in this thread, I am not supportive of the global warming movement. So a scientist who authored some study on global warming that had similar views to mine would be part of the 97%. And there definitely are a lot of these scientists in that number.

My objections have to do with the science. I do not believe the science supports an alarmist position. The technical term is "sensitivity" which means how much does the temperature rise in response to an increase in CO2. The main debate is over the value of this term not whether there is any increase due to CO2 increases. So if someone says the value of this term is very small and not a threat, Cook would count them as one of the 97%.

E.Patrick Mosman
2 months 4 weeks ago

Ms Ouellette,
Please provide your qualifications to call into question the qualifications of Anthony Watts.

Rachel Ouellette
2 months 4 weeks ago

Why question my credentials? I am questioning Anthony Watts' credentials. Look him up. My credentials? I can verify the credentials of people I give credence to. Mr Watts is influencing a lot of people with his blog. One should know how to evaluate who we use as our authority. I also want to add that equating scientists funded by oil companies with scientists funded by grants is problematic. Scientists funded by grants don't get to do research. But scientists funded by oil companies lose power, money, yachts, homes in Provence,etc. The science is in. Man is a cause of global warming. Now oil backed scientists are trying to create doubt about the severity and urgency of the problem. Scientists backed by the tobacco companies were doing the same thing years ago. Lindzen was one of those. Now he is doing the same thing with climate change. The fact that they are backed by oil companies should be cause for concern. They have an ulterior motive. Judy (forgot last name) is a legitimate scientist. She doesn't deny that man is influencing climate change. She doesn't know how much. If we want to be a leader in the world, we have to be on the side of progress. Making changes at first are very difficult at first, but once money can be made by non-carbon based energy sources, change happens quickly. When doctors had ashtrays on their desks it didn't seem possible that smoking would be so frowned upon. By the way, Mr Cosgrove mentioned the plight of polar bears to denounce Al Gore. Google NYT, polar bears, and Alaska. They're faring poorly in Alaska. I know I'm jumping around here, but do look up each scientist or expert, who's funding them, and what ulterior motive they might have.

J Cosgrove
2 months 4 weeks ago

Rachel,

I said nothing about polar bears or Al Gore. Two things you could do to see the other side is to listen to the Matt Ridley interview. I suggested just the first 10 minutes to get a flavor for it but I highly recommend the whole interview. The interview is conducted by a serious economist and Matt Ridley is considered a serious science writer.

Second if you have a kindle or ereader, get the Kindle book on Lukewarming that I recommended in my first comment. The comment is a little disjointed now due to editing errors but the book title is clearly visible at the top of the comments.

These two sources will help with what serious people on the other side of the argument are saying. There are others but these are two good ones.

As an aside about 100 times as much money is spent on those supporting global warming compared to those who are questioning it. It is a rhetorical trick used to undermine any criticism of AGW by saying criticism is funded by oil companies. Maybe some is but most research is not. It is difficult to get an academic grant today that would have conclusions that challenge the global warming scenario. That is where most of the money is spent.

Stuart Meisenzahl
2 months 4 weeks ago

Rachel
To quote you "The science is in"
I provided the comment on Al Gore and his 2006 projection (based on the then scientific consensus) of The near extinction of Polar Bears by 2016.
You advise you live in Alaska and "know" the bears are faring poorly. I refer you to the Scientific Working Group of the bilateral Treaty with Russia Report for 2016 which shows a ver significant increase in Polar Bear population since 2006 and a significant increase between 2015 and 2016. Just google Scientific Working Group Polar Bears and you will find numerous citations of this report. This report is funded by our Federal Government which at least through 2016 had no negative climate warming bias. See also the peer reviewed article by York et al in the May 2016 issue of the journal of Ecology and Evolution respecting the Polar Bear population of the Canadian Coastline which includes parts of the Alaska Peninsula and which is in full accord with the Scientific Working Group 2016 report. The abstract of the York et al article states in part..." our message is not simple, or conventional or consistent with the dire warnings present in so much of the Polar Bear literature since 2006..."

You pejoratively cite the "money incentive" of scientists funded by fossil fuel companies.
I find your dismissal of of the same money motive for scientists doing research based on government and foundation grant money to be fantastically naive. University based scientists generally have to surrender 30 to 50 % of their grants to their University as "overhead". That is a multi billion dollar influx of funds to Universities who put "the publish or perish stick" to the maintenance of the scientists lab facility..
As a practical matter you only get to publish and maintain your lab IF you get money grants. Read any published article by any university based scientist and you will find the acknowledgement of the grants underlying the research. Basically a research scientist pays his own salary and the salaries of his lab technicians with grant money. Federal grant money is distributed by a designated group of scientists ....they tend to fund research projects that support their views. The same is true of private grant foundations. When a scientist submits a grant request based on a proposed project which conflicts with the scientific orthodoxy of the group of approving scientists, he is in for a real problem in getting approval or ends up grossly underfunded and then not subsequently funded again.
Confirmation Bias is rife in the reasearch grant funding community. Not a surprise since it's a common human phenomena from which they are not exempt.

Rachel Ouellette
2 months 4 weeks ago

I sense some sneering and smirking behind some comments to Fr Sawyer. Three Hail Marys might suffice.

Rachel Ouellette
2 months 4 weeks ago

Thanks Mr Kash. I'm thoroughly confused by your link. I read the article you mentioned and all links referred to in the link. Maybe you can help me out with this. The first article had links preceding it all supporting "settled" science that man-made fossil fuels are causing global warming. Then articles about Michael Mann being the only one supporting this legitimate (IMO) view before Lamar Smith's investigating committee surrounded by "deniers", followed by more posts "jokingly, I think" showing MM playing victim. From there I read Judith Curry's blog and watched a video of her comments at this hearing. Before my last post I had reviewed her background, a solid scientific research history. Then she seems to move towards a more "right leaning" view questioning the extent of the damage that this climate change would cause. A recent article had her retired, vacationing at Lake Tahoe with her dogs, minimizing her carbon footprint, but wanting her nieces and nephews to be able to get a job. Heh? It seems she was now emphasizing the economics of dealing with climate change. The way I go about validating an expert's views is first to find out their academic credentials, read what has been written about the person by other scientists, look them up in scientific journals and what I consider trustworthy news sources e.g. the New York Times, The Washington Post, the Guardian, The Economist, Commonweal, America. National Catholic Reporter. Anthony Watts and Matt Ridley didn't make the cut for me. Judith Curry I have no idea. If you do not accept these as valid sources, I guess we're not really going to find common ground. I think that is the problem with the whole country. That's why we are in such a quandary as a people. I'm not sure I get what your views are. If you can enlighten me, please do. Some of my opinions are already formed, but I'm open to other viewpoints.
Rachel

E.Patrick Mosman
2 months 4 weeks ago

"I consider trustworthy news sources e.g. the New York Times, The Washington Post, the Guardian, The Economist,

Commonweal, America." So typically progressive, leftist, never let a another thought enter my head, smear the messenger,ignore the message if it is not my list of valid sources, totally brainwashed.

Rachel Ouellette
2 months 4 weeks ago

Those are the sources I use to weed out "fake news". I don't want to smear any messengers, I just don't have time to read the research papers. I rely on others to do that. I don't know what you mean when you say I'm leftist etc. What does that mean to you? Explain.

Rachel Ouellette
2 months 4 weeks ago

Mr Cosgrove, sorry Stuart M made the comments about polar bears and Al Gore. Matt Ridley, in my opinion, is not reliable but I will listen none the less. Rachel

Joe Kessler
2 months 3 weeks ago

There are two things that those in favor of severely liming fossils fuel fail to take into account. The first is that the people who will be most negatively impacted will be the poor. If we do away with cheap, readily available sources of fuel, such as coal and fossil fuels in favor of more “green” energy such as solar and wind power, the costs of energy will go up. And who is most affected by increases in the cost of energy but the poor? To say, as they did on “America This Week”, that while cost in a concern, the “greater good” should be looked at denies the simple fact that no matter how good your heart, if you raise the cost of energy, you will hurt the poor.

Second, so many in support of banning fossil fuels point to greed as the reason we continue to use them. They point out that Big Oil and other entities are only out there polluting to make a profit, yet seem to ignore altogether the huge profits to be made with a shift to windmills and solar panels. Companies such as GE and the now defunct Solyndra have already pulled in hundreds of millions of dollars to manufacture the components for “green energy”. Why are they not greedy? And can there be any doubt that if we did commit completely to solar and wind power that its cost would skyrocket? After all, the United States trades with over 20 countries to obtain it’s oil while there is only one major mine of the precious metals needed for construction of the wind turbines and solar panels. And that mine is in China.

There is a great book by Robert Bryce called “Power Hungry” that does a great job explaining our various sources of power and why we use them. I recommend it as a good source of information on which to base part of this debate.

Gino Dalpiaz
2 months 3 weeks ago

ECOLOGY SÍ — GLOBAL WARMING NO!
What hubris, what arrogance has taken possession of us poor little creatures on this mortal coil, that can make us think that we little ants can change the weather on this huge planet. We forget that glowing star out there that we fondly call the SUN, which from time immemorial has been sending us its powerful rays, its warmth, its energy. We forget the powerful forces in the very belly of our magnificent planet, a planet we think we can tame. We’re acting like little gods. We're just little ants.

The Global Warming people confuse global warming or climate change with ecology. They say: “Yea, look at India, look at China. How dirty their air and water is.” True, but that’s got nothing to do with global warming or climate change. That’s ecology. We all want clean water, clean air, clean lakes and rivers, unpolluted peppers and tomatoes, magnificent landscapes. And today, at least in the United States, we’ve never had such clean air and water and lakes. Our cars are using fewer and fewer toxic ingredients. Even Great Britain’s Daily Mail for January 2, 2015, had this comforting headline: “Carbon dioxide emissions help tropical rainforests grow faster: Study shows trees absorb more greenhouse gas than expected.”

But that’s all ecology. We’re all for ecology. In fact, lets leave our children an even more beautiful and healthy planet than we inherited. But let’s not try to change the climate and temperature of this temperamental Planet Earth. It won’t work. Instead, let’s try to enjoy and beautify this unique and magnificent home lost among the trillions of other planets and stars. Ecology has nothing to do with global warming or climate change, which is the greatest scientific fraud ever perpetrated on mankind.

Gino Dalpiaz
2 months 3 weeks ago

ECOLOGY SÍ — GLOBAL WARMING NO!
What hubris, what arrogance has taken possession of us poor little creatures on this mortal coil, that can make us think that we little ants can change the weather on this huge planet. We forget that glowing star out there that we fondly call the SUN, which from time immemorial has been sending us its powerful rays, its warmth, its energy. We forget the powerful forces in the very belly of our magnificent planet, a planet we think we can tame. We’re acting like little gods. We're just little ants.
The Global Warming people confuse global warming or climate change with ecology. They say: “Yea, look at India, look at China. How dirty their air and water is.” True, but that’s got nothing to do with global warming or climate change. That’s ecology. We all want clean water, clean air, clean lakes and rivers, unpolluted peppers and tomatoes, magnificent landscapes. And today, at least in the United States, we’ve never had such clean air and water and lakes. Our cars are using fewer and fewer toxic ingredients. Even Great Britain’s Daily Mail for January 2, 2015, had this comforting headline: “Carbon dioxide emissions help tropical rainforests grow faster: Study shows trees absorb more greenhouse gas than expected.”
But that’s all ecology. We’re all for ecology. In fact, lets leave our children an even more beautiful and healthy planet than we inherited. But let’s not try to change the climate and temperature of this temperamental Planet Earth. It won’t work. Instead, let’s try to enjoy and beautify this unique and magnificent home lost among the trillions of other planets and stars. Ecology has nothing to do with global warming or climate change, which is the greatest scientific fraud ever perpetrated on mankind.

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