16 Jun

Laudato si

Pope Francis is proving to be a nippy mover. Following his encyclical denouncing capitalism, he has written to us all again in a long letter about climate change and what he refers to as “the planet.” Well, he was wrong to condemn capitalism which is the single economic system to have raised more millions out of poverty than all the other systems ever tried. Perhaps the Holy Father can make up for his earlier mistake in his new letter? And, contrary to popular opinion, the Pope is not infallible except when speaking ex cathedra on matters of dogma.

It’s a gloomy read. Climate change is a catastrophic threat to our well-being, and even to our survival, and most of it is our own fault.  He adds, “The Earth is protesting for the wrong that we are doing to her, because of the irresponsible use and abuse of the goods that God has placed on her. We have grown up thinking that we were her owners and dominators, authorized to loot her. The violence that exists in the human heart, wounded by sin, is also manifest in the symptoms of illness that we see in the Earth, the water, the air and in living things.”

Is it really as bad as all that?

No, not really. The prophets of doom themselves in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – whose non-scientist chairman is a committed climate alarmist – reckon that global warming has latterly been occurring at the rate of 0.05◦C per decade. Effectually, there has been no warming for the last fifteen years.

Leave aside for a moment the apostles of the new secular religion of man-made apocalypse and instead bring on the experts and some facts. Professor Bjorn Lomborg, author of The Skeptical Environmentalist, writes, “In the constant media barrage of possible greenhouse-related catastrophes, almost any event is now linked to climate change. We should not spend vast amounts of money to cut a tiny slice off the global temperature when this constitutes a poor use of resources and when we could use these funds far more effectively in the developing world.” For saying this, Lomborg has had death threats from the new politically-motivated apocalypticists. Other scientists who do not toe the global warming-is-happening-and-it’s-all-our- fault line have received the same. There are plenty of dissenters. A whole regiment of senior climatologists and meteorologists wrote to The Times last year to complain that they couldn’t get their research findings published – because they disagreed with the maniacal orthodoxy.

If we enjoy a warm spring, the fanatics and obsessives put it down to global warming. If we have an extra cold winter, they tell us it’s a result of global warming. If my nose feels cold or you get an attack of the gout, it will be owing to global warming. The same explanation will be given if England retain the Ashes – or indeed if we lose them. In short, global warming has taken upon itself the character of a fundamentalist religion. And it is the nature of such religions that nothing, but nothing, is allowed to count against them.

I can remember the 1950s and 1960s, colder decades, when the experts confidently threatened us with an imminent ice age. The records over the millennia show that the one thing we know for certain about the climate is that it is constantly changing. The regular cycle of climate change on earth is a series of ice ages interrupted by short periods of temperate weather. There are many eminent geographers and geologists, who have not swallowed the propaganda about global warming, and they tell us that actually we are overdue the next ice age.

Even in the period we call modern history, there have occurred much bigger climate changes than anything we are seeing now. Parts of the 18th century were much colder than today. Dickens speaks of times when the Thames froze over for weeks on end. Whereas in the 9th century, there were vines growing in Greenland. Are we to suppose that the warmth which produced vines at such a northerly latitude was owing to Vikings driving around in four-by-fours? Why do you think Greenland was so called? Because a thousand years ago it was fertile. Since then we have had global cooling. How do you think Hannibal got his elephants over the Alps – with skis and crampons? No, only because in his day there was hardly any snow or ice in southern Europe. Incidentally, the Greens are notorious for getting their predictions wrong. Again I can remember the oil crisis of the 1970s when they told us assuredly that the world would have finally run out of oil by the year 2000. Wrong again, spectacularly.

Furthermore, Global warming is reckoned to be caused by two gases: methane and carbon dioxide. The fact is that the amount of methane in the atmosphere has actually reduced in recent years. And, within the margin of error, levels of carbon dioxide have remained the same. Carbon dioxide is a gas necessary to sustain life on earth and most of it comes from plants and human exhalations. Actually, warming is good for us: there are far more deaths from cold than from heat and, given the chance, people migrate to warm countries.

Why is there this obsession with global warming, this fierce insistence that it is happening and that it is our fault? First, it’s a nice little earner for the university laboratories. Governments have been persuaded by the Green lobby that global warming is happening and so they are chucking money at research departments that will tell them what they want to know. After the fall of Communism, the Left has adopted pretended care for the environment as a stick with which to beat big business. Global warming is happening, they say, and it’s all the fault of the nasty capitalists. Green is the new Red. Strange how people who say they care for the environment deface it with useless wind farms.

The global warming apocalyptics is in reality a new totalitarianism. The government and the BBC will not even discuss climate change. Those who dispute it are shamefully called “deniers” – which is meant to compare them with Holocaust deniers. The former Climate Change Secretary, Ed Davey, says sceptics are dishonest and “wilfully ignorant,” and Prince Charles calls them “headless chickens.”

As Lord Lawson of Blaby has written, “There are hundreds of millions of people in dire poverty, suffering malnutrition, preventable disease, and premature death. Asking the poor to abandon the cheapest available sources of energy is asking them to delay the conquest of malnutrition, to perpetuate the incidence of preventable disease, and to increase the numbers of premature deaths.

“Global warming orthodoxy is not merely irrational. It is wicked.”

I don’t expect this Leftie Pope Frank to be hearing many confessions from penitent members of the IPCC