Pell unconvinced of global warming
As an environmental scientist, George Pell makes an excellent cleric.
Unbowed by overwhelming scientific opinion that climate change is fuelled by human activity, the most senior Catholic figure in Australia has looked to the heavens for an alternative theory, The Age reports.
And he has found one that is truly out of this world.
"I think I read somewhere the temperature has gone up 0.5 of a degree on Mars.
Well, the industrial-military complex up on Mars can't be blamed for that," he said.
The theory mirrors a report by four Liberal backbenchers in August, which proffered temperature rises on other uninhabited planets as proof of a global-warming hoax. But Prime Minister John Howard swiftly rejected the views of his MPs — Danna Vale, Jackie Kelly, Dave Tollner and Dennis Jensen — the day it was tabled.
The Catholic Archbishop of Sydney made his views known after other religious leaders issued an inter-faith declaration that proclaimed climate change to be a fact and demanded swifter action from governments.
But Cardinal Pell was unbowed by such uniformity of thinking. He voiced deep scepticism, warning that it was impossible to be certain about environmental patterns thousands of years ago. He cast doubt on a CSIRO estimate that temperatures could rise by 3.4 degrees by 2070 if emissions were not cut, accusing the same scientists of contradicting their own research findings from four decades ago.
"I notice this is their latest change," Cardinal Pell told ABC radio.
"I have studied this a little bit and there's a whole history of differing estimates. Thirty or 40 years ago, actually, some of the same scientists were warning us about the dangers of an ice age, so I take all these things with a little bit of a grain of salt. They're matters for science and, as a layman, I study the scientific evidence rather than the press releases."
Other religious leaders took the opposite view, insisting that global warming was a real threat and castigating the Howard Government on its record.
Bishop George Browning, convener of the Anglican Communion Environmental Network, was scathing about Government idleness.
"They have been so reluctant even to admit there is such a thing as climate change, let alone recognise the human footprint has contributed towards it," he said.
"They have only lately come to that position and they are still only setting or suggesting aspirational targets, which is simply not good enough. We do have to have real targets and we have to have a real price on carbon."
Cardinal Pell rejected the argument made by Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd that climate change was a moral issue. He urged caution on the issue, which he said was much less important that tackling poverty, marriage breakdown or abortion rates.
Pell, the sceptic, not convinced world is warmer
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Global Warming Org
Archdiocese of Sydney
4 Oct 2007