Gaia or God? Is the Pope making a bad mistake?

Any perception that it would prefer to thunder forth in condemnation of any opposition, rather than encouraging a genuine environmental debate, is not a good look for the Catholic Church. It brings back uncomfortable memories of days we expect long past. So when the Pope, widely respected as a good man, deeply concerned for the poor and needy worldwide, is perceived to be bypassing what many regard as his prime concern – in the shoes of St Peter – there is a degree of eyebrow raising, even consternation.

In the draft of his recent encyclical, the Pope states that there may be some natural reasons for global warming, but strongly chastises climate sceptics, “Their attitudes hindering the paths toward a solution, even amongst the believers, go from negating the problem to indifference, to an easy resignation, or to a blind faith in technical solutions,” he wrote.

However, as Peter Westmore, National President of the Australian Civic Council, points out in the intellectually-respected Australian New Weekly , “when Pope Francis expresses concerns about global warming, saying that ‘a solid scientific consensus’ indicates we are witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system, accompanied by rising sea levels and more extreme climate events such as cyclones and hurricanes’ , he’s actually quite wrong.”

Mr Westmore reminds us that this “consensus” is promoted by bodies like the IPCC (the majority of whose members are not scientists, but belong to organisations with links to NGOs, government and media organisations). Many well-qualified scientists in fact strongly dispute its highly politicised findings. As a consequence, they are constantly on the receiving end not of what we would accept as vigorous debate, but of aggressive and unpleasant name-calling. It by no means fails to originate from some who stand to profit by the promotion of this more then flawed hypothesis.

Numerous UN IPCC personnel have ties to environmental groups and departments within universities, many of which raise funding by hyping up the alleged dangers of climate change. The public is then presented with a flood of material fed through compliant media. However, apparently the public now believes these alarmist scenarios less and less – In a Daily Telegraph poll, by far the majority of the public agreed that the global warming scare has been greatly exaggerated…hence the ramping up of the propaganda in the lead-up to the conference at Paris later in the year.

As New Weekly points out, this “consensus” which the well-meaning Pope invokes, “ does not accord with actual measurements of global temperatures since the 1990s, and there is little evidence of any significant rising sea levels, or melting ice caps, or more frequent extreme climate events after two centuries of industrialisation”. Australian scientists have long disputed the claims, constantly touted in our media, that sea levels are rising, saying there is simply no evidence that this is the case.

In fact, highly qualified scientists have long claimed that the previous and welcome warming which came to a halt in about 1987 was the result of increased solar activity which is now dying away, and that there is good evidence we are entering into a mini ice age. In this July alone in New Zealand, we have had the coldest temperatures in our recorded history. In the US and Europe, cold winter temperatures have also broken all previous records.

What is the public to believe? The contortions in reasoning claiming that new records of extreme winter cold world-wide are still due to global warming is now regarded with increasing derision. Antarctic sea ice is reaching record levels. The Arctic, which unlike the Antarctic, is surrounded by (and to some extent warmed by) contingent land masses underwent slight Arctic melting, apparently due to temporarily warm ocean currents.

How that slight melting has now been reversed, and the Arctic ice cap been restored to 1979 levels, is covered in an excellent article in the American Spectator. As it points out, “The science does not support global warming. The data does not support global warming. Increasingly around the world, the voting public does not support global warming regulation, seeing no justification for throwing taxpayer money at a nonexistent problem. As pointed out in this article, the global warming theory was never predominantly about science – but about power, and profit. It is highly recommended reading –

A recent New Zealand Herald report tells us: “ Solar scientists, armed with the best data yet regarding the activities of the sun, say the Earth is headed for a ‘mini ice age’ in just 15 years — something that hasn’t happened for three centuries. Professor Valentina Zharkova, of the University of Northumbria, presented the findings at the National Astronomy Meeting in Wales this week, Britain’s Independent reported on Saturday.

“Researchers, saying they understand solar cycles better than ever, predict that the sun’s normal activity will decrease by 60 percent around 2030 — triggering the “mini ice age” that could last for a decade. The last time the Earth was hit by such a lull in solar activity happened 300 years ago, during the Maunder Minimum, which lasted from 1645 to 1715.

“Scientists say there are magnetic waves in the sun’s interior that fluctuate between the body’s northern and southern hemispheres, resulting in various solar conditions over a period of 10 to 12 years. Based on that data, researchers say they are now better able to anticipate the sun’s activity — which has led to the Zharkova team’s prediction. Combining both [magnetic] waves together and comparing to real data for the current solar cycle, we found that our predictions showed an accuracy of 97 percent,” Zharkova said. If the ‘mini ice age’ does indeed arrive, scientists say it will be accompanied by bitterly cold winters — frigid enough to cause rivers, like the Thames in London, to freeze over.

How does this gel with Pope Francis castigating well-qualified scientists who insist that the global warming quasi-hysteria has reached the level of a religious cult, basically one of the biggest cons ever to have roped in people across the world? He is in deep water if the actual facts are against him. But then, given the composition of a workshop of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences held in 2014, reportedly a key influence on the Pope’s views, there is a good case to be made that the Pope has been misled on climate science, and that his promotion of the UN agenda will only mean the poor will be the biggest victims of Climate Change policies.. “The proceedings of the workshop included activists like Naomi Oreskes, Peter Wadhams, Martin Rees, Hans-Jochim Schellhuber, Jeffrey Sachs and Joseph Stiglitz. Jeffrey Sachs, a special advisor to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon…tweeted on November 10 that ‘Climate liars like Rupert Murdoch & Koch Brothers have more & more blood on their hands as climate disasters claim lives across the world.” See

In an article in the UK Spectator (which also features a section analysing the Australian political scene), columnist James Delingpole points out that it is not global warming that is responsible for the plight of the poor worldwide, and that “what appears not to have occurred to the Pope is that it is the measures adopted to ‘combat’ it, which has caused much of the problem…”from green taxes forcing the vulnerable into fuel poverty… to renewable energy and carbon offset and oil projects helping to drive up food prices, lay waste to the world’s virgin forests and disenfranchise those native peoples whom this crusading, progressive pontiff has hitherto placed at the heart of his ministry. ”

What of New Zealand’s own elderly and poor, unable to afford the price of electricity in freezing cold flats and mould-lined houses – yet now forbidden to burn wood, a cheap and accessible form of heating? The attack on life-saving fossil fuels has fireplaces widely banned, and in many areas permission to use wood-burners is now withheld because of wrongly targeted particle emissions. Too bad about the deaths from pneumonia, and about families huddled together in one room to keep warm.

Delingpole points out that “this particular Pope has a regrettable tendency in his public conversations to shoot from the hip… But that can be disastrous, as for example, when he suggested that the Islamist massacre of the Charlie Hebdo journalists was a bit like the punch you’d give to someone who’d insulted your mother” … and that “for the more skeptical, old-school Catholics who stubbornly prefer God to Gaia, Sundays are going to get very tedious indeed. “ Delingpole has asked an important question – God or Gaia?

The call to conscience has long been the primary message of the Church. This centuries-old reminder recognises that individuals’ search for the truth of issues is of crucial importance – and that rather than prioritising materialism and expedience, we need to bear in mind that we are ultimately answerable to the creator of heaven and earth for our thoughts, words and actions, on a daily basis. It is summed up in the call to each of us: What doth it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and suffers the loss of his own soul?

This sobering reminder is counter-pointed by what is known as the Golden Rule underpinning Christianity, to Love your neighbour. Its corollary: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you is in marked contrast to Islam’s calls in the Koran inciting violence, oppression and death against “the infidel”.

It is part of the malaise of the age that Christianity’s reminder that we must live as generously as we can, to become the best we are capable of being, is little heard now from a Church which is seen by many as neglecting its primary role, to follow in the steps of Christ. Instead, it has substituted a no-doubt well-meant attempt to help solve political problems and the issues of the day.

The Pope is indeed treading in dangerous territory. Ultimately, the reminder to individuals that listening to their own conscience is of supreme importance, as is the fact that we will all ultimately be required to give an account of how we have done so, is where the Church can speak with authority. It has none in the field of politics, of social or environment issues, except where its reminder goes out to politicians, princes, potentates, prime ministers and parliaments, kings and queens, rich and poor, bankers, financial institutions, developers, institutions and organisations – all comprised of individuals – that each of us is called to conscience, answerable for the treatment of one’s fellow man and woman – and of the planet on which we were born.

In other words, ultimately everything depends on the individual. This crucial reminder to us all on this earth – which we no longer hear from the Church – would itself mitigate some of the problems surrounding excessive materialism, consumerism, greed and despoliation – the excesses of today’s world – those very issues which rightly trouble the Pope.

If Pope Francis has in fact used pejorative words like “denier” to target those challenging very dubious “facts”, then he has disappointed many who hope for real leadership in areas where the Church speaks with genuine authority. This is not one.

These facts? Neil Henderson, a well-informed New Zealand contributor who has consistently encountered a firm determination from the majority of the mainstream media in this country to present nothing that does not reinforce the alarmist propaganda washing over us on an almost daily basis, reminds us: “The IPCC’s first report in 1990 projected 2.78 degrees warming this century as its most likely scenario. Since that time we have had warming at just half that rate. The latest report therefore reduced its middle of the road projection to 1.66 degrees. But since April 2001, all five global temperature data sets show zero warming. In fact the RSS satellite record shows no warming for almost 18 years.

“There is plenty of evidence out there from solar physicists that global cooling could be on the way. After all, many parts of the Eastern US set record low July temperatures. What is even more remarkable is that many of these records were less than a decade old. Seven of the ten coldest winters in Britain in the last 150 odd years have occurred in the last decade.  A colder climate will cause humanity far more problems than a warming one.

“It seems to me that the less evidence there is of global warming, the louder the wails from the climate doom merchants. … Agenda 21 and its associated climate change talk-fests are no more than a vehicle for One World Government. “

However, it’s little wonder that so many readers of our daily newspapers are thoroughly confused over this issue, given constant claims that the majority of scientists back the man-made global warming scenario. They would be less inclined to think that this is a given, if they were told that, with the honourable exception of a few in editorial positions, we now have newspaper editors and radio commentators who simply refuse to provide an honest and balanced debate.

Two prominent National Radio programme presenters apparently refused to allow appearing on their programmes any of the well-qualified scientists and researchers prepared to challenge this issue. Editors of newspapers such as the Otago Daily Times, the NZ Herald and the Gisborne Herald reportedly refuse to publish any articles by reputable scientists taking issue with their politicised colleagues. And incredibly enough, given the long perception that our universities prioritise freedom of information and rigorous debate among scientists, it will have shocked many that these have not only been reluctant to support public debate, but have ostracized scientists who have been prepared to undertake this! Moreover, warnings have come from overseas institutions that funding to their counterparts in this country will be stopped – if the man-made global warming thesis is disputed.

Odd, isn’t it, that those scientists wedded to one side of an important argument are reluctant to front up to any intellectual challenge on an issue where they insist they are right? Why is it so important for them to dodge genuine debate? It would seem timely to recall Upton Sinclair’s reminder that “it is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

Contrary to the Pope’s claim of an overwhelming consensus among scientists for the alarmist scenario, columnist Christopher Booker presents an analysis of the science of global warming, combining it with the consequences of political decisions to reduce CO2 emissions. He claims that, as governments prepare to make radical changes in energy policies, the scientific evidence for global warming is becoming increasingly challenged.

From a standpoint of environmental scepticism, Booker maintains that global warming is not supported by a significant number of climate scientists, and criticises how the UN‘s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) presents evidence and data, in particular citing its reliance on potentially inaccurate global climate models to make temperature projections. Booker concludes, “…it begins to look very possible that the nightmare vision of our planet being doomed”[1] may be imaginary, and that, if so, “it will turn out to be one of the most expensive, destructive, and foolish mistakes the human race has ever made”.[1]

It is never an irrelevant warning – cui bono? – the old legal Latin term for investigating a crime, to see whose interests it served. We should be asking the same question…whose financial interests, in particular?

Apparently Pope Francis has spoken with little thought as to how his stamp of approval on the notion that the recent warming cycle of the planet – no longer actually happening – is all due to consumerism, to the pursuit of extreme materialism and the neglect of the earth by those whose sole aim has been profit…actually stands up to challenge.  On the contrary, he might well ask who stands to benefit by the trading in carbon credits and other associated money-making activities which have been backing the man-made and alarmist,  global warming scenario.

While there is plenty to be conceded and much to be debated in the Pope’s recent statements, those who point out that he has stepped outside his brief and his sphere of authority as the successor of St Peter, appointed as the first head of the Catholic Church, are making a very legitimate point.

It was disturbing therefore to learn that “ Skeptics, led by representatives of The Heartland Institute, travelling to Rome to educate the Pope concerning the virtues of fossil fuels as necessary to improve the lot of humankind and the weaknesses in the evidence humans are causing climate catastrophe” were shut out of the pontifical conclave.

Though they received a great deal of media coverage, their conclusion was that “the game was rigged from the outset.” Only climate alarmists were on the Pope’s guest list. For the Pope and his invitees, the debate was over. The conclusion was as pre-determined as the language in the Pope’s official concluding statement, “Climate Change and the Common Good: A Statement of the Problem and the Demand for Transformative Solutions.”

Their conclusions, unsurprisingly, were that the problem is fossil fuel use causing dangerous climate change. Their solution? Enforce political control of the use of resources and the global economy, restrict fossil fuel use, and redistribute wealth…”transformative solutions” which would impinge even more severely on the poor ?

It is difficult to believe that the New Zealand government is not well aware that the man-made global warming beat-up lacks substance – and that buying carbon credits does nothing whatsoever to reduce carbon emissions – which in fact don’t need reducing.

However, what we are faced with is the venality of governments bowing to pressure from radical activists – where it suits them, and where the possibilities of increased revenue from taxation and further controls over the population are only too tempting.

Why is our government supporting the global warming beat-up, and what more is the upcoming Paris conference going to needlessly cost us?

Once again, it is only enough of us as individuals, protesting to those who are supposed to be our political representatives, who can make a difference here. The choice is for each of us – to do nothing – or to answer the call to individual conscience.

Supporting our 100 Days movement – Claiming Back New Zealand…what has gone wrong and how we can control our politicians is a positive step to help us all fight for a better way forward!

© Amy Brooke, Convener,