London 30 June - A new paper published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation finds the Vatican is being led astray by its advisers by statements on climate change that are scientifically lacking and ethically dubious.
The report, written by Dr Indur Goklany, examines just some of the scientific statements made by the Pontifical Academies ahead of the Pope’s recent encyclical on the environment and finds that these fly in the face of the empirical facts.
As Dr Goklany explains: “The academies say that sustainability and resilience are being destroyed by over-consumption and that fossil fuels are to blame, yet almost every indicator of human well-being from life-expectancy to health to standard of living has improved beyond measure largely because of our use of fossil fuels”.
And according to Dr Goklany’s analysis, the beneficial impact of fossil fuels has not only been on human well-being but also on nature, because fossil fuel use has allowed more intensive use of land, thus reducing the amount of wilderness that has to be diverted to agricultural use. This means that the Vatican’s backing of reductions in fossil fuel use would actually reduce human well-being and increase the human impact on the planet.
Dr Goklany said: “Climate change is a moral and ethical issue, but it is a strange ethical calculus that would justify wiping out the gains we have made in human well-being over the last few centuries at the same time devastating the natural world. The Vatican’s advisers appear to have lost their way”.
About the author
Dr Indur Goklany is an independent scholar and author. He was a member of the US delegation that established the IPCC and helped develop its First Assessment Report. He subsequently served as a US delegate to the IPCC, and an IPCC reviewer. He is a member of the GWPF’s Academic Advisory Council.
Full paper (pdf)