So the Vatican conference is off and running. I’m not there, and have no insider view, so that best that can be done is to point our telescopes that direction. See what we can see.
Tell you who is there, though. The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation led by Cal Beisner, a historian and evangelical. Heartland (politics) went. So is our friend Marc Morano.
I know why these groups went. And understand: I would have gone too if the opportunity presented. But I don’t think these uninvited emissaries will have much effect. I’m far from an expert on the politics of the Vatican, but from what I’ve gleaned, the best way to get things “done” in that glorious and ancient institution is to work behind the scenes. (Making contact with some skeptical bishops would have been my goal. It still is.)
Conferences like this one, run by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, are mostly theater. There’s no other reason to perch in public view UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and have him wave (well, slightly move) his arms around except to announce whatever was decided behind closed doors months ago. Given the appearance of the skeptical contingent, it’s street theater versus legitimate.
This piccolo dramma is being noticed. The Vatican Insider, a well known Catholic paper, wrote a piece entitled, “Santitá, non dia retta ai catastrofisti del riscaldamento globale“, a summary of the skeptical contingent’s plea, and which translated mean, “Dear Pope, Don’t Listen to Global Warming Doomsayers” (I’m putting that valuable word catastrofisti into the quiver; if I can work it into a sentence with that other inestimable Italian gem castrati, I will know glory; has to be something there about panicked gelded scientists…).
The Insider’s summary of a petition the skeptics are presenting is fair. Example, the paper snagged what I consider the best sentence in the petition: “there is a growing divergence between the observations on the actual temperature of the world and simulation models. On average, the models simulate more than double the warming observed. Over 95 percent of the models simulate a warming greater than that observed, and only a tiny percentage approaches to reality.”
Oddly, before the meeting began, John Allen, a respected writer at Crux, said the skeptical contingent “appear[s] to assume it’s the United Nations pushing Pope Francis on climate change, when in fact it seems almost the other way around.” Allen can’t be right here. The UN via the IPCC has been pushing government takeover (of everything) because of global warming for decades now, long before Pope Francis rose to power. Allen:
In January during a flight from Sri Lanka to the Philippines, reporters asked the pontiff if he believes that climate change is the result of human activity. He replied that he thinks it’s “mostly” man-made.
“I don’t know if it (human activity) is the only cause, but mostly, in great part, it is man who has slapped nature in the face,” he said. “We have, in a sense, taken over nature.”
He also said that he wanted his encyclical on the environment to be out in June or July so it could influence a looming UN summit on climate change in Paris in early December. He complained that the last round of talks in Peru were disappointing, and said he hopes the Paris gathering will produce “more courageous” choices.
The Pope’s Plane Pronouncements receive more scrutiny and discussion than even (if it can be imagined) the comings and goings of the Kardashians. Now, given the traps into which many have fallen, I won’t indulge in interpretation. The PAS’s conference will give us some clue what might be in the Pope’s encyclical, but I think it is rash to condemn or praise it when none of us has seen it.
The still-holding-onto-its-Catholic-identity National Catholic Reporter characteristically went into a tizzy with its headline “Ahead of Vatican climate change summit, skeptics issues strong, blunt warnings to Francis.” First sentence in they say the skeptics “forcefully warned Pope Francis against speaking on the subject.” Oogie boogie.
They did catch our pal Lord Monckton at his blustery best saying to an in absentia pontiff, that if he were to embrace global warming he would “demean the office that you hold and you demean the church whom it is your sworn duty to protect and defend and advance”. Brits are like that. Or used to be.
Don’t know how they let it slip through, but they had Morano saying something good: “‘Fossil fuels are the moral choice for the developing world,’ said Morano, who also quoted what he said were words by Australian Cardinal George Pell on the subject.” Morano’s right.
Pell is the man, but he has his holy hands busy with straightening out Vatican finances.
Saint Medard, ora pro nobis.
Late Edition Addition The progressive New York Times’s Andrew Revkin has a late story which says apropos of done deals:
The much-anticipated environmental encyclical that Pope Francis plans to issue this summer is already being translated into the world’s major languages from the Latin final draft, so there’s no more tweaking to be done, several people close to the process have told me in recent weeks.
Update From Delingpole.
Update The PAS put out a statement before the conference entitled “Climate Change and The Common Good: A Statement Of The Problem And The Demand For Transformative Solutions”. I’ll be reviewing this tomorrow (I think).