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    AmP Countdown: Time left to demand that Congress make health care reform pro-life: 2009-11-07 18:00:00 GMT-05:00


    Friday, October 02, 2009

    In Vogue: "Contraception fights global warming"

    From Salon, a simple message:
    "Want to combat climate change? Use birth control. Family planning is a green technology."
    This sort of argument has been around for some time, in fact I blogged about a parallel argument early last month.

    You know what also is a green technology? Genocide.

    I mean - think about it: less people, less environmental impact.

    The logic is perfect.

    Oh, and lethal.

    (Still, we should pray for the author, Frances Kissling, who wrote in June of this year that "It's hard for pro-choicers to admit sometimes a woman shouldn't be allowed to choose abortion -- but we have to." Now there's a concept.)

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    Wednesday, September 09, 2009

    Pro-Environmentalist and Pro-Contraception forces finally join hands

    For some time I've been waiting for this to happen. Here's why: the radical environmentalist movement is fundamentally an anti-humanist movement, because it blames human activity for environmental problems facing the world, and sees the good of the "earth" as trumping the good of human existence and flourishing.

    So what's their solution to human-caused problems, especially when they are unavoidable? 

    Simple: reduce the number of humans.

    Once you understand that conclusion, headlines and articles like this UK Telegraph one make perfect (perverted) sense:
    'Contraception cheapest way to combat climate change'
    Contraception is almost five times cheaper as a means of preventing climate change than conventional green technologies, according to research by the London School of Economics.

    Every £4 spent on family planning over the next four decades would reduce global CO2 emissions by more than a ton, whereas a minimum of £19 would have to be spent on low-carbon technologies to achieve the same result, the research says.

    The report, Fewer Emitter, Lower Emissions, Less Cost, concludes that family planning should be seen as one of the primary methods of emissions reduction. The UN estimates that 40 per cent of all pregnancies worldwide are unintended.

    ... UN data suggests that meeting unmet need for family planning would reduce unintended births by 72 per cent, reducing projected world population in 2050 by half a billion to 8.64 [b]illion.
    Did you catch that? 500,000,000 less people. And some individuals think this is a good thing! Even though it's well proven that there are plenty of resources to feed such a population.

    This is the brave new world envisioned by these radical pro-environmentalist figures: a depopulated world in the future, and a lifestyle of illogical limitation for those already living.

    This is an ideology we Christians, as a people of hope and trust in God, must defeat.

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    Monday, September 07, 2009

    My thoughts on the Van Jones "green jobs czar" resignation

    I've posted them over at the American Principles Project blog.

    As I wrote in my APP post, I think Mr. Obama's science czar, John Holdren, is the next official appointed by Mr. Obama whose previous statements and record require serious public examination and discussion.

    It's pretty clear to me that Van Jones is crazy, but John Holdren is just. plain. scary.

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    Friday, September 04, 2009

    Video: Catholic Schoolchildren taught to "pledge allegiance to the earth and all Her sacred hearts"

    Amy Proctor:
    The cult of enviornmentalism is being preached at St. Mary’s Resurrection Elementary School in New Jersey. In this Fox Report below, you’ll see Catholic school children start their day by pledging “allegiance to the earth and all Her sacred hearts”, an allusion to the Sacred Heart of Mary and Jesus. You’ll also hear them sing their song, “Whose the greatest mom of all? Earth Mama!”


    If I were a parent, I'd want a refund.

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    Thursday, July 16, 2009

    Why is Bishop Hubbard supporting the disastrous "Cap-and-Tax" bill?

    I strongly disagree with the prudential opinion expressed by Bishop Howard Hubbard:
    "The US bishops have given their enthusiastic support to the Waxman-Markey bill, a piece of legislation designed to address climate change, which Republican opponents have characterized as entailing "the largest tax increase in American history."

    The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 proposes a complicated series of schemes known as "cap and trade," ultimately imposing taxes on the carbon-dioxide emissions that are cited as a major factor in global warming. Even before the 1,200-page legislation was made available to Congress, the members of the House of Representatives received a letter from two leading representatives of the American Church, giving their strong endorsement for the bill.

    Bishop Howard Hubbard, who chairs the US bishops' committee on international justice and peace; and Ken Hackett, the president of Catholic Relief Services, welcomed the introduction of the Waxman-Markey bill." (CWNews)
    I work in politics now. I know this is a bad, bad bill. It has a negligible effect on the environment (even environmental groups have admitted this!), it stresses an already deeply-weekend economy with more taxes and bureaucracy, it will result in more domestic job losses, and - perhaps most outrageously of all - will result in American dollars being spent to build foreign infrastructure at the expense of American private enterprise (the bottom line keeping our progressively-more-top-heavy government running in the first place)!

    Just look at some indepentent analysis of this bill's effects:
    "The Congressional Budget Office, in its analysis of the legislation, concluded that the Waxman-Markey bill would entail new costs of $770 a year for the average American family. A separate analysis by the Heritage Foundation suggested that this figure was grossly understated, and the actual costs would be closer to $3,000 per year for a typical family of four-- rising steadily up to $4,600 by the year 2035. The Heritage analysis added that the bill would increase gasoline prices by 58%, home heating oil by 56%, and electric rates by 90%. The total drag on the economy would likely result in a loss of over 1 million jobs, Heritage concluded. In spite of this enormous cost, the Foundation argued, the Waxman-Markey bill would produce only a miniscule effect on the process of climate change, producing a drop in world temperatures of "only hundredths of a degree Celsius" in the next 40 years."
    So why on earth is Bishop Hubbard supporting this ineffective and harmful bill using the mantra of the US bishops? 

    It lessens the effectiveness of the Church's voice on moral issues when one of its bishops so foolishly takes an imprudent decision on a practical one.

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    Tuesday, April 21, 2009

    Green: Vatican To Build 100 Megawatt Solar Power Plant

    There's money in the Vatican budget for this?
    "The Vatican is going solar in a big way. The tiny state recently announced that it intends to spend 660 million dollars to create what will effectively be Europe's largest solar power plant. This massive 100 megawatt photovoltaic installation will provide enough energy to make the Vatican the first solar powered nation state in the world! 'The 100 megawatts unleashed by the station will supply about 40,000 households. That will far outstrip demand by Pope Benedict XVI and the 900 inhabitants of the 0.2 square-mile country nestled across Rome's Tiber River. The plant will cover nine times the needs of Vatican Radio, whose transmission tower is strong enough to reach 35 countries including Asia.'" (Slashdot)
    Quote:
    “Now is the time to strike,” Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, the Vatican City’s governor, said in an interview from his study overlooking the Michelangelo-designed Basilica of St. Peter’s. “One should take advantage of the crisis to try and develop these renewable-energy sources to the maximum, which in the long run will reap incomparable rewards.” (Bloomberg)
    What's next, an electric popemobile?
    Solarworld executives in November said it was time to think about a “green” popemobile and offered to give the pope a low- emissions electric car to replace the white armored Mercedes- Benz open-top G-Class used by the Vatican.

    While there has been no switchover since then, Lajolo at the time called an electric popemobile a “brilliant idea. If it costs less and can set an example, why not?”
    Doh!

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    Thursday, September 25, 2008

    Recreating the bible in our own (green) image

    Doesn't this little scheme speak volumes? It did to me:

    "Now there is a Bible trying to make gardeners of us all. On Oct. 7, HarperCollins is releasing The Green Bible, a Scripture for the Prius age that calls attention to more than 1,000 verses related to nature by printing them in a pleasant shade of forest green, much as red-letter editions of the Bible encrimson the words of Jesus." (Time)

    I don't think it was so much the idea of green highlights for nature-references, as the idea that previous generations would highlight the words of Jesus in red, that got to me.
    How far we've truly developed as a people of God.

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    Wednesday, July 30, 2008

    "Contraceptives affect environment too, water expert tells conference"

    Truth makes interesting bedfellows, in this case pro-lifers and environmentalists (and no, I'm not saying they're contradictory causes, I'm saying that often, sadly, the latter are at-odds with the former):

    Mark W. LeChevallier agrees with Dr. Lester Ruppersberger, a pro-life obstetrician and gynecologist, that natural family planning is safe, healthy and effective. But he would add one more characteristic: It's environmentally responsible.

    ... In a talk with the daunting title of "Endocrine Disruptions: Chemical Contraceptives in Sewage Effluents," LeChevallier explained that like secondhand smoke, "secondhand estrogens are being released into the environment," to devastating effect on fish, panthers, alligators and other wildlife. (CNS)

    I'm not sure I'd take it quite this far:

    He said touting the environmental benefits of natural family planning "can be a new way to evangelize youths" and attract them to the church-approved method of postponing pregnancy.

    The real way to attract them is the physiological, psychological and spiritual benefits, but sure - environmental as well. The rest of what he says is sound, informed and so desparately needs to be heard by our culture and youth especially.

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    Tuesday, June 24, 2008

    The Beatitudes, according to the Gospel of the Sierra Club

    Since when did mention by the Sierra Club become the measure of charitable activity for Catholics?

    Stories like this one ("Sierra Club book recognizes Catholics doing their part on environment"), especially perplex me.

    The opening lines:

    Don Conklin and Ellen Buelow are in good company -- and lots of it. The two New Mexico Catholics are, like Catholics everywhere, doing their part to help the environment and to make others aware of potential ecological dangers that arise from wasteful habits.

    Catholics, in fact, are prominently featured in nine chapters of a new Sierra Club book, "Faith in Action," which highlights faith-led environmental action in each of the 50 states plus Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.

    Conklin and Buelow, members of Holy Rosary Parish in Albuquerque, N.M., helped engineer a light-bulb swap -- incandescent bulbs for energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs, in March. Before the swap was over, 3,000 bulbs changed hands."

    We did this as a Lenten project," said Conklin, a pastoral associate at the 2,700-household parish.

    Energy saving replacing alms-giving. Wonderful. Conklin happily reports that the project "didn't cost us a thing." Hello, that's normally a sign that your activity of choice isn't really a penance. Buelow, meanwhile, is the parish's social justice coordinator. When the social justice coordinator is collaborating with the local electric company, something tells me this isn't distinctively Catholic or faith-based social justice. So why describe it as such?

    I won't get into the other examples, but for most of them the same observation applies: one can make the case that these are good things to do, but I simply don't see how they are an integral part of what a parish should be doing per se, especially if these activities compete with or supplement things such as, say, celebration of the sacraments, adoration, care of the poor and sick, etc.

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    Tuesday, April 22, 2008

    Aussie Cardinal Pell Disputes “global warming hypothesis”

    CNA reports:

    In the April 20 edition of the Australian newspaper, the Sunday Telegraph, Cardinal George Pell expressed his concern regarding the “global warming hypothesis” in an article titled, “Global warming is over.”

    Cardinal Pell began his article by giving recent examples of countries that have experienced more bitter temperatures and heavier snow than usual.

    ... The cardinal stated that while “the world is much bigger than both China and Canada combined, which might be the exceptions to the new rule of man-made global warming, but they are inconvenient facts for the climate-change bandwagon.”

    "And it is an intolerant bandwagon with loud, exaggerated claims that the issue is settled and that an unchallenged consensus among scientists confirms the hypothesis of dangerous, humanly caused global warming. In fact, the issue is far from settled.”

    He continued by listing three significant points. [Read them here.]

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    Saturday, April 19, 2008

    The pope's impassioned speech on global warming ... that wasn't

    British tabloids and other less-than-reputable news organizations claimed last year, early in the papal visit planning process, that Pope Benedict would use his speech at the United Nations to "deliver a powerful warning over climate change." At the time of these rumors, I published a lengthy rebuttal of their accuracy and likelihood.

    It's worth repeating some of the claims that were circulated:

    The Pope is expected to use his first address to the United Nations to deliver a powerful warning over climate change in a move to adopt protection of the environment as a "moral" cause for the Catholic Church and its billion-strong following....

    ....It will act as the centrepiece of a US visit scheduled for next April – the first by Benedict XVI, and the first Papal visit since 1999 – and round off an environmental blitz at the Vatican, in which the Pope has personally led moves to emphasise green issues based on the belief that climate change is affecting the poorest people on the planet, and the principle that believers have a duty to "protect creation".

    Today, now that the speech has been delivered and made available, I went looking for the pope's "centrepiece" to complete the Vatican's "environmental blitz" making it a "moral cause for the Catholic Church." This is what I found:

    "....questions of security, development goals, reduction of local and global inequalities, protection of the environment, of resources and of the climate, require all international leaders to act jointly and to show a readiness to work in good faith, respecting the law, and promoting solidarity with the weakest regions of the planet. I am thinking especially of those countries in Africa and other parts of the world which remain on the margins of authentic integral development, and are therefore at risk of experiencing only the negative effects of globalization."

    "... international action to preserve the environment and to protect various forms of life on earth must not only guarantee a rational use of technology and science, but must also rediscover the authentic image of creation. This never requires a choice to be made between science and ethics: rather it is a question of adopting a scientific method that is truly respectful of ethical imperatives."

    Note what the pope is actually worried about: environmental and climate protection are one among many moral imperatives facing the international community, with his eye especially on regions of Africa that suffer underdevelopment (as opposed to the "overdevelopment" of industrialized nations).

    Furthermore, this entire project must possess a "rational use of technology and science, but must also rediscover the authentic image of creation", which necessarily implies a union of "science and ethics." The authentic image of creation which the Church reveals is always connected to the idea that creation is meant to serve the human person, who receives the fruits of creation as a reward for his labor.

    Of course, abuses of the environment, which may have ill-effects on the climate, are against the image of creation, but this is so because the ultimate meaning of creation is tied up with the image of man who is the steward and custodian of creation. That's why the pope talks about "ethics," because it is only human persons who are bound to act "ethically" and see that their actions do not impinge upon the rights of the global community.

    If the UK tabloids were looking for their "moral cause" - they've found it: preservation of the image of creation by those who are made in the image of God on behalf of those made in the image of God. People first!

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    Monday, March 10, 2008

    The Seven New Deadly Sins ... That Are Not.

    This is a classic case of British tabloid sensationalism. The headlines:

    "Recycle or go to Hell, warns Vatican" - UK Telegraph

    "Seven new deadly sins: are you guilty?" - UK Times

    Oh come now.

    Margaret at InsideCatholic has the right response. (breath, count to 10, move on).

    Still, Reuters isn't far behind. At least they note that the Archbishop spoke mostly about bioethics.

    And my heart goes out to poor Ed Morrissey at Hot Air who tries to make sense of all this.

    If anyone has access to the original L'Osservatore Romano text, I'd appreciate a gander.

    update: a little traction on the story from the CNS NewsHub. AP coverage here. So. Many. Errors.

    update 2: Phil Lawler on "Not "new sins" but an old media blind spot. Clarifying for us what needed to be clarified, but better than most of us could do it, and succinctly:
    'Archbishop Girotti said that the modern world does not understand the nature of sin. With their coverage of the interview, the mass media unintentionally underlined the prelate's point."

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    Thursday, February 28, 2008

    Recent reports suggest global cooling + increases in arctic ice

    Because I'm feeling somewhat masochistic and this topic always gets heated:

    "Heart-ache: Temperature records indicate … global cooling?" - Hot Air

    Quoting this article:

    "All four major global temperature tracking outlets (Hadley, NASA’s GISS, UAH, RSS) have released updated data. All show that over the past year, global temperatures have dropped precipitously…

    Scientists quoted in a past DailyTech article link the cooling to reduced solar activity which they claim is a much larger driver of climate change than man-made greenhouse gases. The dramatic cooling seen in just 12 months time seems to bear that out. While the data doesn’t itself disprove that carbon dioxide is acting to warm the planet, it does demonstrate clearly that more powerful factors are now cooling it."

    Now, hold onto your fur coats, I agree with this article that says "one winter does not a climate make." However, can we also agree on this observation?:
    " ... if environmentalists and environment reporters can run around shrieking about the manmade destruction of the natural order every time a robin shows up on Georgian Bay two weeks early, then it is at least fair game to use this winter's weather stories to wonder whether the alarmist are being a tad premature.
    That's really all I ask, at this point.

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    Wednesday, January 09, 2008

    German company to provide solar power to Vatican Paul VI hall

    TotalCatholic reports that the rumors have taken a step towards reality:

    A German solar company has given Pope Benedict XVI an electricity-generating solar rooftop for the Vatican’s Paul VI audience hall.

    Bonn-based SolarWorld is donating approximately 2,000 solar modules to be installed on the audience hall roof to provide what it claims will be “the very first solar power ever generated in the Vatican”.

    A press release (The Fourth Gift of the Three Kings: 'A Solar Cell') includes this quote from the CEO:

    "If the Three Wise Men from the East came to Bethlehem today they would in all probability bring a solar cell in addition to gold, frankincense and myrrh. It is the symbol for the preservation of creation and for the energy supply of the future."
    Riiiiiiiiiight. And I imagine it would probably be a solar cell manufactured by your fine company.

    So, exactly when is the Vatican going to cease associating itself with such silliness?!

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    Friday, December 21, 2007

    Anyone who doubts MMGW must work for Exxon-Mobile

    In response to this news that the "consensus" on MMGW is in-fact shrinking:

    "More than 400 scientists challenge claims by former Vice President Al Gore and the United Nations about the threat of man-made global warming, a new Senate minority report says."...

    ... Several scientists in the report said many colleagues share their skepticism about man-made climate change but don't speak out publicly for fear of retribution, according to the report.

    "Many of my colleagues with whom I spoke share these views and report on their inability to publish their skepticism in the scientific or public media," atmospheric scientist Nathan Paldor, professor of Dynamical Meteorology and Physical Oceanography at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said in the report. - Washington Times

    How does the Gore camp respond? With an acknowledgement that research must continue?

    After a quick review of the report, Gore spokeswoman Kalee Kreider said 25 or 30 of the scientists may have received funding from Exxon Mobil Corp. (underlining mine)

    Exxon Mobil spokesman Gantt H. Walton dismissed the accusation, saying the company is concerned about climate-change issues and does not pay scientists to bash global-warming theories.

    Far from it. Why argue the science when you can accuse the opposition of corruption?

    Read the U.S. Senate Committee Minority report here.

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    Thursday, December 13, 2007

    Al Gore & the Pope's Holiday Un-Greenery

    Apologies in advance for mentioning Al Gore. Don't be upset - my purpose this time is to amuse:

    "Al Gore, who was criticized for high electric bills at his Tennessee mansion, has completed a host of improvements to make the home more energy efficient, and a building-industry group has praised the house as one of the nation's most environmentally friendly.

    The former vice president has installed solar panels, a rainwater-collection system and geothermal heating. He also replaced all incandescent lights with compact fluorescent or light-emitting diode bulbs — even on his Christmas tree." - AP

    ... did you catch it? That's right, Al Gore murdered a tree. Unless, of course, he went outside and decorated a living tree. Or had the tree delicately removed from its soil with the roots intact. Somehow, I doubt it.

    Of course, over in uber-industrialized Rome, Pope Benedict has wantonly decreed the merciless felling of a mighty, old-growth, 140-year-old, 75-foot-plus, 3-ton Christmas tree. With the decoration lights included, I have no idea how much net carbon dioxide is going to be released into the atmosphere. Probably some.

    To add insult to injury, that huge tree is going to be plopped-down right next to a nativity scene.

    What are its seventeen life-sized nativity figures made from? You guessed it: previously-living wood.

    And the worst of it is, Santa can't give either of these two a lump of coal for Christmas. They might burn it.

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    Wednesday, December 12, 2007

    Did the Pope condemn "climate change prophets of doom"?

    Earlier this week (the day it was issued), I blogged that Pope Benedict had released his Message for the 2008 Day of World Peace. Paragraphs 7 & 8 of that document are entitled "The family, the human community and the environment." Vatican analyst John Allen, in his coverage of the document, said that it represented a "distinctively Catholic shade of green." An excerpt:

    On the environmental front, however, Benedict is also well aware that his budding eco-advocacy has drawn fire from critics who warn that it gives aid and comfort to radical secular environmentalists, including thinkers who deny any special moral status to human beings or who reject Biblical notions of human stewardship of the earth as excessively "anthropocentric."

    Thus in today’s message, Benedict was careful to signal that he’s not ready to sign up for an “Earth First!” membership card.
    I think that's a fairly accurate read of the situation, and nothing here should surprise anyone who is aware of the Church's long-standing tradition of respecting the environment but giving humanity priority.

    Today, however, the UK Daily Mail tried to make the Pope's message sensational:

    "The Pope condemns the climate change prophets of doom"

    Pope Benedict XVI has launched a surprise attack on climate change prophets of doom, warning them that any solutions to global warming must be based on firm evidence and not on dubious ideology.

    The leader of more than a billion Roman Catholics suggested that fears over man-made emissions melting the ice caps and causing a wave of unprecedented disasters were nothing more than scare-mongering.

    Of course, you don't find the DM using any quotation marks because the Pope said nothing so specific.

    I think two excerpts from the actual document are most pertinent to this question:

    #7 ...Humanity today is rightly concerned about the ecological balance of tomorrow. It is important for assessments in this regard to be carried out prudently, in dialogue with experts and people of wisdom, uninhibited by ideological pressure to draw hasty conclusions, and above all with the aim of reaching agreement on a model of sustainable development capable of ensuring the well-being of all while respecting environmental balances....

    #8 ...In this regard, it is essential to “sense” that the earth is “our common home” and, in our stewardship and service to all, to choose the path of dialogue rather than the path of unilateral decisions...

    Here Pope Benedict is making the simple (but almost universally-ignored) observation that the rush to arrive at a "consensus" in the man-made global-warming debate is a disservice to humanity (when it spreads overblown fears and promotes useless "solutions"), and furthermore that artificial, ideologically-driven consensus violates the usual methods of good scientific hypothesis-testing.

    Pope Benedict spends a large portion of his message speaking about the role prudence should play:

    "Prudence does not mean failing to accept responsibilities and postponing decisions; it means being committed to making joint decisions after pondering responsibly the road to be taken, decisions aimed at strengthening that covenant between human beings and the environment, which should mirror the creative love of God, from whom we come and towards whom we are journeying."
    He also succintly lays out the two poles of morality that should guide decision-making about the environment:

    Human beings, obviously, are of supreme worth vis-à-vis creation as a whole. Respecting the environment does not mean considering material or animal nature more important than man. Rather, it means not selfishly considering nature to be at the complete disposal of our own interests, for future generations also have the right to reap its benefits and to exhibit towards nature the same responsible freedom that we claim for ourselves.
    In what remains (I've already quoted practically everything he has to say), Pope Benedict notes:

    • The poor must not be excluded their share in the goods of creation.
    • By the same token, the costs of preserving the environment must be shared justly.
    • Technologically advanced countries should reassess their levels of consumption (a good reminder at Christmas ) and search for alternative sources of energy for greater efficiency.
    • Emerging countries should not have their energy reserves exploited by richer nations.

    Three comments that the Pope makes I'm still pondering:

    • "Further international agencies may need to be established in order to confront together the stewardship of this “home” of ours..."

    Frankly, I think the international agencies currently in existence are most guilty of the temptation to be "inhibited by ideological pressure" and for that reason "draw hasty conclusions." So why exactly would more help a situation that is already plagued by the existing ones?

    • "...more important [than international agencies], however, is the need for ever greater conviction about the need for responsible cooperation."

    Again, those who are not cooperating seem to be the same folks who are resisting the temptation to - wait for it - "draw hasty conclusions" and become "inhibited by ideological pressure." Isn't that so?

    And then this single line:

    • "The problems looming on the horizon are complex and time is short."

    Sadly, sometimes I think these documents embrace ambiguous phrasing to leave some "hedge room." The problem is, this sentence can be taken to mean precisely whatever it is you take to be the problem and then imbues this self-defined problem with a sense of urgency ("time is short"). In a debate charged with a) lack of clarity and b) exaggeration ... this exhibits both, in my opinion.

    Meanwhile, I wouldn't get too perturbed by the UK Daily Mail story. If you need any sense of that publication's journalistic integrity, you need only take a look at the poll it is running today: "Are American Women Better Groomed than British Females?"

    The answer looming on the horizon is complex ... and time is short!

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    Tuesday, December 11, 2007

    Benedict outlines "distinctively Catholic shade of green" in '08 Peace Message

    Thursday, December 06, 2007

    U2's Tower of Babel?

    U2 is trying to build the tallest building in Ireland, and the environmentalists aren't happy:
    Who would have guessed that U2 would be the target of environmental protesters? In an attempt to spend some of their immense fortune, the rock band gone real estate investment firm is drawing up plans to build the tallest building in Ireland. The 'U2 tower' has quickly become a major bone of contention between the globally-conscious rockers and environmentalists in their hometown. - GreenDaily
    More from Wikipedia. The design isn't finalized, but here are some search results.

    Hopefully they won't get vertigo in the city of blinding lights (I couldn't resist).

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    Tuesday, December 04, 2007

    Holy See sends delegation to Climate Change Conference

    Considering "the Holy See is usually represented at such meetings" I'm not sure why it deserved a mention in today's Vatican bulletino:
    The 13th session of the conference of States parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is being held on the Indonesian island of Bali from December 3 to 14.

    A communique made public yesterday afternoon affirms that the Holy See will be present at the Bali meeting with a delegation led by Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, apostolic nuncio to Indonesia, and composed of Msgr. Andrew Thanya-anan Vissanu, nunciature counsellor in Jakarta, and of three local experts from the Philippines and Indonesia: Fr. Benito B. Tuazon, Fr. Alexius Andang Listya Binawan S.J., and Vera Wenny Setijawati.

    "Given that the sessions of the Convention on Climate Change are held once a year in various countries," the communique reads, "the Holy See is usually represented at such meetings with a delegation led by the apostolic nuncio and made up of experts from the area, so as to take advantage of local resources and to achieve a broader and more differentiated vision of the questions being examined."
    Meanwhile, "a group of Israeli environmentalists is encouraging Jews around the world to light at least one less candle this Hanukka to help the environment."

    While stateside, "A U.S. Senate committee is scheduled for an historic vote on a global warming bill this week, perhaps as early as Wednesday. Environmental groups are planning a flurry of press conferences [today] to try to influence the vote."

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    Tuesday, November 27, 2007

    Sierra Club joins PP to offer conferences on "Sex and the Environment"

    Thanks CNA, I think I've lost my appetite for lunch:

    During the first week of November, members of the Sierra Club traversed one end of California to the other for a series of conferences called “Sex and the Environment.” Accompanying them at most of their stops were representatives of Planned Parenthood.

    ... The 115-year-old Sierra Club, based in San Francisco and founded by California environmentalist John Muir in 1892 to “explore, enjoy and protect the planet,” now declares on its web site: “Sierra Club is a pro-choice organization.”

    The November tour was part of the Sierra Club’s Global Population and Environment Program, which states as its mission: “to protect the global environment and preserve natural resources for future generations by advancing global reproductive health and sustainable development initiatives.”

    The term “reproductive health” has long been understood as a code word for “abortion,” especially in Third World countries where the outright use of the word “abortion” would be politically unwise.

    The plan:
    In a question-and-answer section on the Sierra Club’s web site discussing the Population and Environment Program, the group says it has endorsed a 1970 resolution drafted by the group Zero Population Growth. Among the provisions of the resolution: “families should not have more than two natural children,” “state and federal laws should be changed to encourage small families and to discourage large families,” “policies, and attitudes that foster population growth or big families, or that restrict abortion and contraception, or that attempt to constrict the roles of men and women, should be abandoned.”
    Story originally reported by the California Catholic Daily: "Save the Planet, Kill a Baby!"

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    Wednesday, November 07, 2007

    Weather Chanel Founder says MMGW is a SCAM + supporting arguments

    Seen first on Newsbusters, but available here.

    See also "Dr. Bob Carter’s Lecture on Climate Change" summarized by Newsbusters:

    During the roughly 37-minute lecture given at the Annual Conference of the Australian Environmental Foundation on September 8th in Melbourn ... Carter debunked the hysterical claims regularly espoused by warm-mongers."

    Enjoy: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 (youtube links)

    R M Carter's full article "The Myth of Dangerous Human-Caused Climate Change" is available here (PDF).

    Update: I'm going to embed the first segment to make it more accessible. Feel free to jump to the 0:50 mark to skip the introdution. The first five minutes alone should start to give you a better sense of the issues involved:

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    Monday, October 29, 2007

    '07 shaping up to be record low year for hurricanes

    *begin provocative statement*

    "Somehow this has to be related to Global Warming."

    *end provacative statement*

    P.S. Newsbusters takes a look at NBC's presumption that the CA wildfires were caused by global warming. While kowalski tells us to expect "Climate Change" to replace "Global Warming" as the enemy we are fighting against (in the winter months, at least). Meanwhile, Christopher Alleva puts his finger on this tendency to "politicize natural disasters" and why it is so wrong-headed.

    More food for thought.

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    Thursday, October 25, 2007

    The California fires were caused by ... (wait for it ...)

    That's right, the California fires were caused by ... global warming, 60 minutes tells us.

    Hmm, what's that you say? Some were caused by Arson?

    Um, well, that's fine because ... arson is caused by global warming.

    (Okay, 60 minutes didn't make that second claim.)

    60 Minutes' description of its segment "Mega-Fires":
    They're forest fires ten times bigger than the blazes we're used to seeing. To find out why these infernos are happening, Correspondent Scott Pelley went out on the fire line to witness the burning of the American West. What he found were overmatched firefighters and evidence that a big reason for the fires is global warming.
    Help me out on this one. Human intervention has actually resulted in less forest fires around the globe, because human beings are the one species that is able to and tries to put them out. I guess this is our fault as well, because young growth trees actually remove more CO2 from the air than old-growth forests. Deforestation - when it is followed by reforestation, I'm told results in a net decrease in atmospheric CO2 levels.

    ... anyway, I truly hope 60 minutes' position is a bit more sophisticated than "fire is hot, global warming is hot, ergo global warming causes fire." I'm sure it is, but eventually I hope to find some physical disaster that isn't directly caused or heavily exacerbated by global warming.

    I dunno - heavy snowfall? Nope. Maybe tsunamis? Nope. Okay, what about Earthquakes? Nope!

    Sorry California, it's not looking too good.

    (And before some folks get too worked up because I'm putting unreasonable words into the collective mouths of man-made global warming proponents, let me clarify that I'm just trying to make the point that in situations where absurd claims are being tossed around, folks with legitimate science - and specifically reporters who related that science - should demonstrate a bit more restraint before blaming current, tragic natural disasters on remote, disputable human agency. It's been done with Katrina, and is now being done with the California wild fires.)

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    Tuesday, October 23, 2007

    No love lost between Gore and Martino

    John Thavis of CNS reports:

    The Vatican has a long memory, and that helps explain its less-than-enthusiastic response to Al Gore’s Nobel Peace Prize.

    The day Gore was announced as a winner, the Vatican newspaper covered the story in a single sentence, buried on an inside page.

    Then at a Catholic meeting in Pisa last Friday, Cardinal Renato Martino let slip a rather caustic remark. “Allow me to express well-founded puzzlement over how and to whom the Nobel Peace Prizes are assigned – even if they have gone to very worthy people in previous years.” Ouch. He never mentioned Gore by name, but the message was clear.

    Why the antipathy? [Find out.]

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    Buchanan on "global-warming hucksters"

    A history lesson from Mr. Buchanan:

    The scaremongers are not always wrong. The Trojans should have listened to Cassandra. But history shows that the scaremongers are usually wrong.

    Parson Malthus predicted mass starvation 250 years ago, as the population was growing geometrically, doubling each generation, while agricultural production was going arithmetically, by 2 percent or so a year. But today, with perhaps 1 percent of our population in full-time food production, we are the best-fed and fattest 300 million people on Earth.

    ... Neville Chute's "On the Beach" proved as fictional as "Dr. Strangelove" and "Seven Days in May." Paul Ehrlich's "Population Bomb" never exploded. It fizzled when the Birth Dearth followed the Baby Boom.

    ... Like the panics of bygone eras, this one has the aspect of yet another re-enactment of the Big Con. The huckster arrives in town, tells all the rubes that disaster impends for them and their families, but says there may be one last chance they can be saved – but it will take a lot of money. And the folks should go about collecting it, right now.

    This, it seems to me, is what the global-warming scare and scam are all about – frightening Americans into transferring sovereignty, power and wealth to a global political elite that claims it alone understands the crisis and it alone can save us from impending disaster.

    ... The mammoth government we have today is a result of politicians rushing to solve "crises" by creating and empowering new federal agencies.

    Whether it's hunger, poverty or homelessness, in the end, the poor are always with us, but now we have something else always with us: scores of thousands of federal bureaucrats and armies of academics to study the problem and assess the progress, with all their pay and benefits provided by our tax dollars.

    Cal Coolidge said that when you see 10 troubles coming up the road toward you, sometimes the best thing to do is nothing, because nine of them will fall into the ditch before they get to you. And so it will be with global warming, if we don't sell out America to the hucksters who would save us.

    Each one of those "..." represents additional paragraphs of good insights. Read them here.

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    Sunday, October 21, 2007

    Video: A skeptic's response to the new "man-made global warming consensus"

    To heat up this week's debate, 20/20 looks at the MMGW debate:

    Ph/t: Roman Catholic Blog.

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    Friday, October 12, 2007

    Al Gore & IPCC win '07 Nobel Peace Prize

    The links:

    I think the Czech President Vaclav Klaus said it best: "It rather seems that Gore's doubting of basic cornerstones of the current civilizationdoes not contribute to peace." - Margaret Perry

    Although I would add that I thought winners of the Nobel Peace Prize were supposed to provide some example. Al Gore, however, by the common admission of all sides save his own, is a notorious "polluter" by the standards he himself sets forth in his public admonishments.

    Update: Good thoughts @ DarwinCatholic. Well worth the click.

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    Friday, October 05, 2007

    Al Gore continues to avoid debate over manmade global warming

    Steve Huntley of the Chicago Sun-Times reports:

    Seven hundred thousand dollars is a lot of money to spend to try to get someone to talk to you and not get an answer.

    That's how much the Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based libertarian think tank, has forked over in six months for advertisements in national newspapers trying to persuade Al Gore to debate one of its experts on global warming issues. "We have tried, repeatedly, to contact Gore directly, with registered letters and calls to his office, and have never received a reply," says Joseph Bast, Heartland president.

    A spokeswoman for Gore told me by e-mail that Heartland is an oil-company-funded group that denies that global warming is real and caused by human activities.
    "The debate has shifted to how to solve the climate crisis, not if there is one," said Kalee Kreider. "It does not make sense for him to engage in a dialogue with them at this time."

    The issue is a bit more complicated than that. What Bast wants is for Gore to debate one of three authorities who dispute the former vice president's assertion that global warming is a crisis that requires an immediate, hugely expensive response potentially damaging to the U.S. and world economies.

    Notice the Gore-team response: cynically claim the opposition has alterior motives and then say that the debate has already been settled. More background about Al Gore's track record of avoiding challenge:

    But the point is that Gore and his movie "An Inconvenient Truth" aren't the last word. In March, the New York Times reported that while they praise Gore for raising awareness about warming, a number of scientists see exaggerations and errors in some of his assertions. "They are alarmed, some say, at what they call his alarmism," the Times wrote. For example, Gore forecasts sea levels rising up to 20 feet, flooding parts of New York and Florida. But the U.N. panel's actual estimate is that seas will rise 7 to 23 inches in this century.

    As for the Gore camp's statement about Exxon funding, Bast says those contributions are too little to control Heartland policy and amount to "far less than what Heartland spends speaking out on climate change."

    The Heartland case is not the first time Gore has ducked a forum. Earlier this year he canceled an interview with Denmark's largest newspaper when he learned it would include questions from Bjorn Lomborg, respected author of The Skeptical Environmentalist. "Gore's sermon is not one that will stand scrutiny," says Christopher C. Horner, another one of Heartland's debate candidates, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism.

    It's a good tactic, in principle: decide for yourself that the debate is finished and then dismiss any further protests that come from the opposition! If only we all had that solipsistic luxury.

    This tactic of Al Gore's will become ever more viable as legitimate debate is steamrolled by political pressure, especially if he wins the 2007 Nobel Peace prize, as numerous reports suggest.

    Gag.

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    Wednesday, September 26, 2007

    AmP quote of the day

    Financial Times:
    “This is an emergency,” Mr Gore told the opening session of the Clinton Global Initiative. “I think that the key to fighting global poverty is to have the wealthy nations and the developing nations join together to reduce global warming … I think what we need is a global Marshall plan to make the creation of jobs around the reduction of carbon the central principle for how we develop this.”
    Some other quotations from the article:

    Robert Zoellick, the head of the World Bank, sounded a sceptical note on the developing world’s ability and desire to reduce carbon emissions, however. Poorer countries are worried aid is going to be “hijacked” by the climate change agenda, Mr Zoellick said.

    ... “There is some sensitivity in the developing world that resources that can be channelled to climate change will come at the expense of other development needs,” Mr Zoellick said. “It needn’t be that way, it shouldn’t be that way… but it is the responsibility of the developed world to reassure the developing world that it doesn’t come at their expense and instead can come in support of their aims of overcoming poverty.”

    "Every place I went, people are very worried that developed countries are going to hijack spending,” he added. “We have to explain how it fits their energy and growth needs.”

    ... The World Bank estimates that 1.6bn people around the world do not have access to electricity. The developing world currently has a funding gap of around half of the $160bn investment needed annually to fulfil growing demand for electricity, the bank says.

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    Tuesday, September 25, 2007

    Today's UN exhortation: a moral imperative without content?

    From today's VIS. My comments paragraph-by-paragraph:

    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION IS A MORAL IMPERATIVE

    Made public today was the text of a speech delivered by Msgr. Pietro Parolin, under-secretary for Relations with States, before the 62nd session of the UN General Assembly which is meeting to deliberate on the theme of "the future is in our hands: addressing the leadership challenge of climate change."

    "Climate change is a serious concern and an inescapable responsibility," said Msgr. Parolin in his English-language talk. "My delegation wishes to stress the underlying moral imperative that everyone, without exception, has a grave responsibility to protect the environment," he added.

    Everyone has a responsibility to protect the environment. This statement is an imperative for human action. However, where is the actual content of this action? What must human beings do, in the modern world, to protect the environment? Again, in this vacuum of specificity the content will continued to be supplied by secular lobby groups.

    "The best scientific assessments available have established a link between human activity and climate change," he continued. "However, the results of these scientific assessments, and the remaining uncertainties, should neither be exaggerated nor minimized in the name of politics, ideologies or self- interest. Rather they now need to be studied closely in order to give a sound basis for raising awareness and making effective policy decisions.
    Of course there is a link between human activity and climate change. My contention is that it is so minimal as to be irrelevant on a global scale. I agree there should be objectivity in the debate. However, if the fundamental scientific claims still "need to be studied closely" in order to raise awareness, how can there already be moral imperatives involved? Or is the moral imperative to study the question? Finally, how can effective policy decisions be an imperative when further study is still required?

    "In recent times," he added, "it has been unsettling to note how some commentators have said that we should actually exploit our world to the full, with little or no heed to the consequences, using a world view supposedly based on faith." This, said Msgr. Parolin "is a fundamentally reckless approach." However "there are those who hold up the earth as the only good, and would characterize humanity as an irredeemable threat to the earth, whose population and activity need to be controlled by various drastic means." They, he stressed, "would place human beings and their needs at the service of an inhuman ecology."
    I'm not sure exactly who these people are who claim we should "exploit our world to the full, with little or no heed to the consequences." The position is so extreme as to not deserve attention in the first place. In other words, the phrasing ("exploit, to the full, no heed to consequences") precludes justifying it as a rational position. Of course it's a "fundamentally reckless choice." But abuse does not negate the use: just because some people abuse the environment doesn't mean the environment can't be used legitimately. The principle stated above that one must never "place human beings and their needs at the service of an inhuman ecology" pretty much sums up my reason for resisting countless innitiatives the environmentalists council.

    "Since no country alone can solve the problems related to our common environment, we need to overcome self-interest through collective action. On the part of the international community, this presupposes the adoption of a coordinated, effective and prompt international political strategy" to "identify ways ... to enhance sustainable development and foster a healthy environment," while bearing in mind "that poor nations and sectors of society are particularly vulnerable to the adverse consequences of climate change, due to lesser resources and capacity to mitigate their effects and adapt to altered surroundings."

    "The pace of achieving and codifying a new international consensus on climate change is not always matched by an equally expeditious and effective pace of implementation of such agreements. States are free to adopt international conventions and treaties, but unless our words are matched with effective action and accountability, we would do little to avert a bleak future and may find ourselves gathering again not too long from now to lament another collective failure."

    This line about poor nations is problematic. If by saying "poor nations ... are particularly vulnerable to the adverse consequences of climate change" he means for instance, rising sea levels caused by man made global warming will drown citizens of coastal areas, I see a problem, which touches upon a more fundamental issue of prudence. Namely, I think it is more prudent to directly aid people who are the victims of natural disasters than to mandate worldwide, drastic changes in the very structures of international society and production because such actions *might* alleviate future natural disasters. This *might* is dependent upon recent, questionable scientific hypothesis. Remember, the UN is the same institution that said global overpopulation would destroy the earth (and now they're actually admitting that underpopulation is the chief problem in most the world). These are the same scientists who said we were risking the advent of another Ice Age back in the 1970's. Since when do these same bodies, so clearly susceptible to "group think" and politics, merit the support of Vatican delegates?

    Is this prudence? I don't think so.

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    Sunday, September 23, 2007

    UK tabloid claim: "Pope to make climate action a moral obligation"

    The UK Independent is making some big claims today and I'm going to attempt to give some clarification and context:

    The Pope is expected to use his first address to the United Nations to deliver a powerful warning over climate change in a move to adopt protection of the environment as a "moral" cause for the Catholic Church and its billion-strong following.

    The New York speech is likely to contain an appeal for sustainable development, and it will follow an unprecedented Encyclical (a message to the wider church) on the subject, senior diplomatic sources have told The Independent.

    It will act as the centrepiece of a US visit scheduled for next April – the first by Benedict XVI, and the first Papal visit since 1999 – and round off an environmental blitz at the Vatican, in which the Pope has personally led moves to emphasise green issues based on the belief that climate change is affecting the poorest people on the planet, and the principle that believers have a duty to "protect creation".

    While Pope Benedict may speak about stewardship of creation, I highly doubt such an appeal would constitute the "centerpiece" of his entire US tour. It is also imprecise to say that Pope Benedict has the authority to "invent" new moral causes, strictly speaking. The Pope can, however, emphasize to the Church that stewardship of creation is an important duty, in line with previously revealed truth. In other words, don't expect to see Pope Benedict adding an eleventh commandment: "Thou shalt use only hybrid cars." He'd be the last person to do that.

    More interesting is the UK Independent claim about an "unprecedented Encyclical" on the same topic. This claim contradicts all previous reporting as to the subject matter of his next encyclical, with the dominant strain of rumor proposing a topic involved with economics. [related: What do we know for sure about the Pope's next Encylical?] I'm sure they'd like an encyclical on climate change, but I'd like to see them hold their breaths for that.

    The next claim that this UN address will follow an "environmental blitz at the Vatican" is similarly biased. Pope Benedict has been very active on many issues (issues, incidentally, that don't make it into popular reporting), stewardship of creation being one of them. As for climate change "affecting the poorest people on the planet", all he actually said was that scarsity of water is a problem in some areas: it is, but the cause of that problem is not global warming. [related: What Pope Benedict said about Creation at Loreto]. It is true that the Catholic Church teaches we have a duty to "protect creation" - that's nothing new. What constitutes protecting creation in today's world is what Pope Benedict would be addressing. And so far, it's a very different message than what the global warming lobby want to hear. But that doesn't seem to bother them.

    Back to the text of the UK Independent article:

    Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, head of the Catholic Church in the UK, said last night: "This is a crucial issue both today and for all future generations. We are the stewards of creation and we need to take that responsibility seriously and co-operate to care for the created world."
    I wonder if the Cardinal knew he was being interviewed for an article that seeks to reveal Pope Benedict's plans for his UN speech, and for the universal church, months prior to its delivery. I hope not.

    Much of the rest of the article operates upon the principle that Pope Benedict's topic and message is already a done deal, and works through the implications (as the author sees it) of Pope Benedict getting firmly on the climate change bandwagon. Some of the author's history, however, is similarly incomplete:

    News of the speech comes as Vatican City has become the first fully carbon-neutral state in the world, after announcing it is offsetting its carbon footprint by planting a forest in Hungary and installing solar panels on the roof of St Peter's Basilica in Rome.
    Once again, the Vatican's Hungarian forest initiative provides eager reporters the "evidence" they need to claim that the Vatican is going green the way reporters want to see that happen. To clarify, the Vatican accepted the offer of a 3rd party company to plant a forest in Hungary. It's good to plant forests, and that's about all you can claim about the decision. I've blogged extensively on this (in my view, imprudent for several reasons) collaboration: "The Vatican and Planktos: strange bedfellows or sign of the times?" and again here: "Wait a minute, wasn't the selling of indulgences a bad thing?."

    As for installing solar panels on the roof. Sure, that's true. I'm sure the Vatican also has low-flush toilets now (or again, maybe not). Electricity isn't cheap, and I'm not sure what more you can really claim about the choice to incorporate some solar energy.

    Oddly enough, I think the last paragraph is more revealing that it might desire:

    UK diplomats have held a number of behind-the-scenes meetings with Vatican officials on the environment. A Whitehall source said last night: "Benedict is the spiritual head of 19 per cent of the world's population and a highly respected figure. If the Pope's words are taken on board by his community that is one big constituency for change and could well turn the tide on climate change and environmental degradation."
    Exactly, of course the global warming lobby wants the Catholic Church on its side. Once they can make the claim that global warming initiatives - as they see them - are a moral obligation (with sinfulness and culpability attached to ignoring it) as opposed to a simple act of prudence with two valid outcomes, they'll have successfully increased the size of their adherents. And here's the rub: even if they don't get the Catholic Church to say what they want, they can publish articles like these to convince people that the Catholic Church in fact does endorse their views.

    What the Vatican must decide, and soon, is if it will continue to allow articles and reports such as this one to put words in Pope Benedict's mouth. If the Vatican doesn't speak, they will continue to speak for him.

    Moreover, when he does speak, proposing a parallel track to their message isn't as effective. Unless he makes the distinctions and shows where Christian stewardship of creation is different than secular environmentalism, his audience might not be able to make the distinction. In this vacuum, the press accounts carry the day.

    Of course, in general, when he does make the distinctions, the media is very good at chopping up his comments into sound bytes digestible for their purposes. In these situations, the Vatican press agency needs to be as pro-active on correcting these (often times intentional) errors in transmission as they have been on such issues as, for instance, Pope Benedict's comments on the Mexican legislators and whether they were excommunicated.

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    Monday, September 17, 2007

    Wait a minute, wasn't the selling of indulgences a bad thing?

    Back in July I blogged about the Vatican's decision to become the "world's first carbon neutral sovereign state." CNA covered the story here shortly thereafter. I questioned at the time the wisdom of granting de facto Vatican approval to companies that make a profit from selling carbon offsets.

    Sure enough, by early August, folks were declaring that the Roman Catholic Church was "dabbling in the hottest new religion – environmentalism" (and followed that up with saying it was now time to discuss the problem of overpopulation). Okay, well, people say the darnedest things.

    Fast-forward to late August, where we first heard about a Benedictine Monk hearing "eco-confessions", during which people confessed to him sins they had committed against the environment. Okay, well, misplaced zealousness and abuse of sacraments often go hand-in-hand. Some commentators joked at the time that the penances given out probably involved buying carbon offsets and taking the bus to work.

    Well now, with the coming of mid-September and the first chills of fall, the New York Times has noticed the Vatican's recent carbon-neutrality bid. The resulting article, entitled "Vatican Tree Penance: Forgive us our Co2", for the most part covers old ground. The last two paragraphs, however, I think are unsettling:

    Klimafa has been given the right to restore the land by the Bukk National Park, which owns it; costs will be covered by carbon credit purchases. Mr. Torda said it would take 50 to 150 years to produce a mature forest.

    After the Vatican agreement was announced, Msgr. Melchor Sánchez de Toca Alameda, an official at the Council for Culture at the Vatican, told the Catholic News Service [here] that buying credits was like doing penance. “One can emit less CO2 by not using heating and not driving a car, or one can do penance by intervening to offset emissions, in this case by planting trees,” he said.

    In other words, if one has "sinned" against the environment by, say, failing to recycle or owning an inefficient car, this representative of the Vatican's Council for Culture is saying that one has a moral imperative to, if possible, purchase a carbon offset, which will result in some company like Planktos/Klimafa planting a tree (the same CNS story gives the details).
    Okay, IF human-emitted carbon dioxide damages the environment to where it will in the future harm human beings and IF therefore emitting too much carbon dioxide is a sin and IF therefore people must do something to make up for their impact and IF planting a tree will ammend that evil which they have done ... EVEN THEN ... is paying a company the right way to fix this situation? Is offsetting personal carbon emissions the most important issue that the folks at the Council for Culture have to address currently? Isn't this purchasing of carbon footprints a luxury of the rich, in most cases? Is this truly the face of authentic Christian conservationism?
    I just don't think so. And I'd like to see this issue addressed more comprehensively. Because I think that when the NYT is publishing articles that quote Vatican officials telling Catholics to consider purchasing carbon offsets, we've reached some sort of critical mass.

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    Wednesday, September 12, 2007

    Think there's a scientific consensus on man-made Global Warming?

    There isn't:

    A new analysis of peer-reviewed literature reveals that more than 500 scientists have published evidence refuting at least one element of current man-made global warming scares. More than 300 of the scientists found evidence that 1) a natural moderate 1,500-year climate cycle has produced more than a dozen global warmings similar to ours since the last Ice Age and/or that 2) our Modern Warming is linked strongly to variations in the sun's irradiance. "This data and the list of scientists make a mockery of recent claims that a scientific consensus blames humans as the primary cause of global temperature increases since 1850," said Hudson Institute Senior Fellow Dennis Avery.

    Other researchers found evidence that 3) sea levels are failing to rise importantly; 4) that our storms and droughts are becoming fewer and milder with this warming as they did during previous global warmings; 5) that human deaths will be reduced with warming because cold kills twice as many people as heat; and 6) that corals, trees, birds, mammals, and butterflies are adapting well to the routine reality of changing climate.

    Despite being published in such journals such as Science, Nature and Geophysical Review Letters, these scientists have gotten little media attention. "Not all of these researchers would describe themselves as global warming skeptics," said Avery, "but the evidence in their studies is there for all to see." (source)

    And it's significant to point out that many of these "dissenters" claim that global warming, if it were to happen, would be beneficial to humanity. Why again, are we so worried?

    Conservationism - when properly ordered to the good of man - is laudable. That's what Pope Benedict has been promoting. Most initiatives you see promoted by the environmentalists, however, actually harm or inhibit the proximate good of particular humans for the purpose of avoiding unproven, temporally-distant catastrophes that they claim will be caused by global warming. This is not prudence. On a personal level it is silly, and when made into policy or the new "liberal orthodoxy", it is grossly negligent.

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    Monday, September 03, 2007

    Honorary PPOTD - Monday, September 3rd

    In follow-up to my post on what Pope Benedict actually said about Creation at Loreto is this hilarious "Honorary Papist-Picture-of-the-Day" taken from Amy's post on the same topic:

    "Pope Benedict XVI, intentionally wearing green vestments, attempts to boost his ecologically-friendly image by intentionally waving a branch at the 300,000 youth gathered in Loreto."

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    Sunday, September 02, 2007

    What Pope Benedict said about Creation at Loreto

    The ever-industrious Teresa Bendetta of the Papa Ratzinger Forum has uploaded the English translation of Pope Benedict's homily, delivered September 2nd in Loreto to a gathering of 300,000 youth. The press has already decided that his entire homily was primarily about saving the planet "before it's too late" (to quote from the Reuters headline). I'm going to reproduce the relevant passage where the Pope does speak about safeguarding Creation.

    This quotation consists of 162 words out of a 2,569 word address:

    One of the fields in which it is urgent to work is most definitely that of safeguarding creation. The new generations are responsible for the future of the planet, which shows evident signs of a development that has not always known to preserve the delicate balances of nature. Before it is too late, we must make courageous choices with a view to a strong alliance between man and the earth.

    We need a decisive Yes to safeguarding creation and a strong commitment to reverse those tendencies which risk bringing us to a situation of irreversible (environmental) degradation. That is why I appreciate the initiative of the Italian Church to promote greater sensitivity to the problems of protecting the environment by designating a national day for this purpose on September the first.

    This year, attention is directed towards water, a most precious asset which, unless it is shared in a just and peaceful way, will become a cause for tensions and bitter conflicts.

    ... and that's it: an entirely reasonable admonition for youth to protect Creation. Notice that the scope of the stewardship, as I read it, focuses on problems of micro environments, i.e, scarcity of water in certain regions, and a plural reference to the "balances of nature."

    Reuters has a real howler with its claim: "Intentionally wearing green vestments, [Pope Benedict] spoke to a vast crowd of mostly young people..." Yes, Pope Benedict intentionally wore green. But green is the proper liturgical color for ordinary time. It's no more a witness of support for environmentalism than wearing red would be a witness of support for communism!

    The article also says, "Last month Benedict said the human race must listen to "the voice of the Earth" or risk destroying its very existence." As LSN pointed out, the media is twisting the Pope's words here. First of all, it adds the conclusion "or risk destroying its very existence." He does not say that next. What he actually said next (in its full context) was this:

    "... obedience to the voice of the earth is more important for our future happiness than the voices of the moment, the desires of the moment ... our own planet speaks with us and we should be listening if we want to survive and decipher this message about the earth... and if we should be obedient to the voice of the earth, much more we must be obedient to the voice of human life." (and he goes on to say:) " ... we not only take care of the earth, but we must respect the other, other human beings ... only in absolute respect of other (humans) ...can we make progress."

    See the important clarification? Concerns for the environment are a subcategory of our more fundamental concerns for man. Where man's interest and nature's interest conflict - man comes first. This is the essential qualifier that the media consistently ignores; and it is also what differentiates qualitatively Christian environmentalism and secular environmentalism.

    Every environmental issue that involves risk to human life deserves attention. Most of these issues involve microclimate issues of scarcity, and require individual, practical applied judgement. I'm all for prudence and stewardship in these situations, as the Pope exhorts. I don't see anything about global warming even implied in the Pope's speeches, nor a categorical condemnation of industrialization (which, in general, helps raise standards of living) in his talk.

    Just my first reaction. Please, comment away.

    Update: More liturgical ignorance (and just blain hokeyness) from the UK Independant:

    Wearing green vestments, the Roman Catholic liturgical colour of hope, Pope Benedict XVI yesterday urged half a million youngsters to save the planet while there was still time.
    Yes, green is the liturgical color for hope (as well as life), but - again- it represents our Christian hope in Christ, not in saving the environment. Distinctions, people - they save.

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    Friday, August 31, 2007

    More fear mongering greets UN reality check

    Reuters today has an article entitled "Industrial nations shy away from stiff 2020 goals" which reveals that many nations at U.N. talks don't want to bind themselves to drasticly reducing their CO2 emissions.

    This entirely reasonable decision given the economic drawbacks (and negative impact on people) was met with these kinds of quotations from global warming fear mongerers:

    "This is voting for the apocalypse," said Stephanie Tunmore of environmental group Greenpeace. "The 25-40 percent range is needed to help avert dangerous climate change" such as more powerful storms, rising seas and melting glaciers, she said.

    "Japan is willing to let the typhoons roll in and the water flow onto its coastal land. Switzerland is committed to melt all its remaining glaciers," environmentalists said in a newsletter.

    The U.S. so far has not signed on to the Kyoto treaty. Bush, however, is calling a meeting of "major emitters" here in DC September 27-28th. It's amazing to read about what the EU is intending to do about emissions.

    If you want an excellent, one-article thorough debunking of the global warming agenda (and which includes a discussion of its fanatical persecution of dissenting viewpoints), Thomas Derr offers it at First Things.

    I applaud him for making the point that global warming alarmists are experiencing serious historical amnesia.

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    Thursday, August 30, 2007

    ... and then everything crazy converged into "eco-confessions"

    Meet Dom Anthony Sutch (far right), a Benedictine monk, who will be attending a Greenpeace festival in the UK this weekend "to hear eco-confessions in what is thought to be the first dedicated confessional booth of its kind."

    Yes, you read correctly: "eco-confessions". The UK Times reports:

    Vested in a green chasuble-style garment made from recycled curtains, and in a booth constructed of recycled doors, he will hear the sins of of those who have not recycled the things they ought to have done and who have consumed the things they ought not to have done.

    ... He told The Times: “It is not, I hope, blasphemous to do this. I do not think it is. It is just an attempt to make people conscious of the way they live. The Church is aware of green issues and of how aware we have to be of how we treat the environment.

    ... “I’ve had one or two comments about abuse of the confessional. One or two people have said, ‘Father, is this quite right?’ Luckily, more people see it as an excellent idea. As with all these things, we have to look in the mirror and see what we could stop consuming ourselves.”

    My questions: is he actually trying to administer sacramental confession to folks who have not turned their lights out at night? I think this sort of thing scandalous, in the first place because it constitutes a mockery of the sacrament. Now look what he did to his home parish:

    "Father Sutch tries to practise what he preaches but has turned the heating down so low at his church of St Benet’s that at least one parishioner has fled to the warmer care of a neighbouring priest for winter services."

    ... Father Sutch said that he tried “very hard” to live a green lifestyle but admitted that it was difficult. “I try not to turn on my heating but people come and stay with me and demand it. I get attacked for having a cold church. I have cut my electricity bill by 30 per cent.

    Who is letting him get away with this? Turning down your heating as a penance is one thing. Turning it down (because you are motivated by fears about global warming) to where your parishioners are adversely effected is something else entirely. I'm sorely tempted to add this to my rapidly-expanding "For Shame!" list.

    Update: Others have now noted this story:

    And I have added this to my "For Shame!" list, as you can see on the sidebar. Looney-tunes!

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    Tuesday, August 14, 2007

    Mr. Pope, Don't Tear Down These Trees!

    Meh, you get the general idea.

    The trees in question (photo: AP Photo/Hans Punz):

    The quote that sums it up for me:

    Mariazell Mayor Helmut Pertl told the Kleine Zeitung daily he thinks the fuss is completely overblown.

    "If this was my biggest worry [cutting down a few trees], I'd be pretty happy," he said.

    The full story from the AP.

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    Thursday, August 02, 2007

    B16 "dabbling in the hottest new religion"?

    When the news first broke that the Vatican was trying to become the "world's first carbon-neutral state" I said it would be taken the wrong way by most people.

    .... and here's one example of that happening.

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    Thursday, July 12, 2007

    The Vatican and Planktos: strange bedfellows or sign of the times?

    A news wire headline caught my attention this evening:

    "Vatican to Become World's First Carbon Neutral Sovereign State"
    Now what, I asked myself, does that headline exactly mean? So I read on:

    "Planktos/KlimaFa's New Vatican Climate Forest Initiative to Fully Green the Holy See"

    "By agreement with the Vatican, Planktos/KlimaFa is now pleased and honored to announce that the Holy See plans to become the first entirely carbon neutral sovereign state, and it has chosen KlimaFa ecorestoration offsets to achieve this historic goal. In a brief ceremony on July 5th the Vatican declared that it had gratefully accepted KlimaFa's offer to create a new Vatican Climate Forest in Europe that will initially offset all of the Holy See's CO2 emissions for this year."

    I think there's a bit of smudging occurring in this first paragraph. Either the Vatican decided to become the "first entirely carbon neutral sovereign state" and chose Planktos/Klimafa as the means to that "historical goal" or Planktos/Klimafa approached the Vatican and the Vatican in turn signed-off on it. I think the latter is more probably the case, given that the paragraph mentions an offer proposed by Planktos/Klimafa which the Vatican later accepted.

    Now, there's a whole bevy of questions that this decision raises for me, and since this story seems to tie-in many threads that I've been reading through recently, I'm going to give it an extended treatment.

    Planktos/Klimafa's proposal is straightforward enough: plant as many trees as are needed to equalize the Vatican City State's yearly CO2 output. The site chosen for this reforestation (or "ecorestoration" as they call it) is Hungary's Bükk National Park, where they will plant "thousands of hectares of new native species, mixed forest growth...". This plan, in itself, seems unquestionably good to me. Planting trees is a great thing, and I'm happy when it happens.

    What gets me thinking, however, is the whole context of this agreement, and especially the views of Planktos/Klimafa and how they are marketing their cooperation with the Vatican.

    As a further quick clarification, Klimafa is the European subsidiary of Planktos, a for-profit organization that claims to be the "world's leading ecorestoration firm." On the Planktos main website, one can view a picture of Cardinal Poupard (president of the Pontifical Council of Culture) receiving a plaque from the president and chief executive of Planktos, Russ George with the caption "Vatican to Go Green with Planktos/Klimafa" (update: I've placed the same picture at the top of this blog post).

    Clicking through that picture/caption, one can find the Planktos/Klimafa news release which includes a video of the Vatican acceptance ceremony and their full press release. Also included with the press release packet is the text of Cardinal Poupard's address to the leaders of Planktos (available here in PDF), which I've reproduced below (the italicized parts are not included in the Planktos/Klimafa press release text, as I'll make note of next):

    As President of the Pontifical Council of Culture; I am honored to receive this donation from the leaders of Planktos-Klimafa. This donation means an entire section of a national park in central Europe will be reforested. In this way, the Vatican will do its small part in contributing to the elimination of polluting emissions from CO2 which is threatening the survival of this planet.

    As the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, had recently stated, the international community needs to respect and encourage a ‘Green Culture,’ characterized by ethical values. The Book of Genesis tells us of a beginning in which God placed man as guardian over the earth to make it fruitful. When man forgets that he is a faithful servant of this earth, it becomes a desert that threatens the survival of all creation. The earth itself turns against man.

    Environmental protection is not, therefore, a political issue - it's not enough to have a simple commitment from a few people. Instead, it is necessary, as it is underlined by His Holiness, to have the dawn of a new culture, of new attitudes and of a new mode of living that makes man aware of his place as a caretaker of the earth.

    The Pontifical Council of Culture pledges its complete collaboration and deeply thanks those responsible at Planktos-KlimaFa for this significant donation.

    I realize, of course, that for considerations of space Planktos/Klimafa (hereafter "PK") had to limit itself to excerpts from Cardinal Poupard's text. I don't find it surprising, however, that PK decided to drop the somewhat enigmatic line "The earth itself turns against man" [update: Mark Shea contributes] as well as the paragraph that stresses how true environmentalism should not be inspired so much by political considerations as from much deeper and more thorough understandings of who man is and how he is to relate to God's creation.

    PK goes on to claim that the planting of these trees will "offer many rewarding new eco-forestry jobs to struggling rural communities" (i.e., people will be given jobs planting the trees) and there will be "increasing eco-tourism employment opportunities as these beautiful woodlands mature" (i.e. people will be given jobs as park rangers).
    More disturbing to me is this paragraph:
    Planktos/KlimaFa has further committed to work with the Vatican and the Pontifical Council of Culture to develop methods to calculate the CO2 emissions of individual Catholic churches and offer ecorestoration options to turn their carbon footprints green.
    The press release makes no mention about how the Vatican has received this offer, or even if the offer has been presented. But just think for a moment what a huge project this would be - steadily going individual church by individual church and reducing (or "equalizing") their carbon footprint?! Would PK, a for-profit, organization, also donate all the money that such a project would require?

    When PK says it is a for-profit firm, they mean it. At the Planktos Store, you can, for instance, purchase a 100% Vehicle Emission Reduction for a Midsize Vehicle ... for $30:
    The average mid-size or full-size car gets 19-28 mpg and is responsible for 6 tons of CO2 emissions per year. 6 tons of CO2 equivalents will be retired on your behalf to negate 100% of your automobile's annual carbon footprint.
    Do you own a large home? Its yearly carbon footprint can be "erased" for $100. Don't worry, they also do event planning: "Meetings, conferences, weddings, or classrooms, you can green them all. Just fill out the form below and Planktos will contact you. Together we will calculate the carbon footprint for your event." For only $10, you can relieve Mother Nature of 2 tons of its excess, human-created C02 baggage. I'm not making any of this up.

    PK's methods for this "erasing" or "replacing" of human-created carbon footprints is controversial. While they offered the Vatican the option of planting trees, PK's favorite technique for removing excess CO2 from the atmosphere is by artificially creating plankton colonies (because plankton colonies are consumers of Co2 and produce oxygen). Put very simply, the plan involves dumping large amounts of iron into the oceans for plankton to feed upon. This project has encountered fierce, widespread criticism from within environmentalist circles and beyond.

    Indeed, even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a "scientific body set up by the United Nations to assess the risk of human-induced climate change" calls the procedure "unproven." Now, I should note here that I disagree with many of the IPCC's conclusions, but the fact remains that they are considered by many environmentalists to be a benchmark for protocol and, in this case, even the IPCC has doubts.

    The BBC reports:

    In its [the IPCC's] Working Group Three report, released this year, it said: "Geo-engineering options, such as ocean fertilisation to remove CO2 directly from the atmosphere, or blocking sunlight by bringing material into the upper atmosphere, remain largely speculative and unproven, and with the risk of unknown side-effects.

    According to documents passed by the US government to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the company [Planktos] planned to deposit 100 tonnes of iron ore powder this month in a 100 sq km area of ocean hundreds of kilometres west of the Galapagos Islands. The Canada-based ETC environmental campaign group has asked the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to launch an immediate and full investigation into Planktos' activities.

    Just take a pause and look at those numbers. 100 tonnes of iron ore powder this month? Now, read how Russ George (yes, that's the same guy seen above giving Cardinal Poupard his commendation plaque) responds to these concerns:

    Russ George, president and chief executive of Planktos, countered that its work built on many years of study, and that the company would collaborate with "scores of scientists and engineers from international ocean science institutions both aboard ship and ashore to develop this form of ocean stewardship in a scientifically, environmentally, and economically viable form".

    He added: "This is work that must be done if we are to reverse the apocalyptic collapse of the ocean ecosystem as well as the climate crisis it is helping to accelerate.
    "We are the first responders to a planetary medical emergency."

    And this kind of language ("apocalyptic," "medical emergency," etc) when he is on-record with the BBC!

    The controversy that the BBC sites is the tip of the iceburg in terms of the questioning surrounding PK's techniques. Without at all attempting an exaustive coverage, here's one website that links to this website which has a very long story/interview on Russ George and his company:

    Russ George is a California businessman with a big idea: you give him some money and he will seed the ocean with iron, causing phytoplankton to grow. The process is called Iron fertilization, and is designed to take carbon out of the atmosphere to help you mitigate your contribution to global warming. It is one of a number of business ideas that have grown out of the global demand for carbon trading schemes, and it’s becoming a big business. Russ George and his foundation Planktos is creating quite a stir: Nature, the BBC, and a host of major newspapers have reported on his business venture.

    For the past year, through a grant from the Fund for Investigative Journalism, journalist Wendy Williams has been investigating global warming mitigation stories. What she found behind all the media hoopla about Russ George was surprising: A man and his carbon trading scheme sorely lacking in scientific credentials.

    A very troubling quotation from him:

    I asked to see his research papers. They weren’t done yet.

    “It’s really more of a business experiment than a scientific experiment,” he [Russ George] said.

    And finally:
    "To say that George [Russ] has shocked and angered much of the scientific community is an understatement. Indeed I found many who were profoundly concerned by the increasingly popularized notion that scattering iron in the oceans could help solve global warming."
    Now, granted, I can't vouch for the objectivity of these non-mainstream sources I'm citing. It is clear, however, from my research thus far, that there is significant and vocal opposition to some of PK's plans from within the environmentalist community.
    Russ George has responded to these accusations, most notably submitting a letter to the Ottawa Citizen. That letter is available here, along with links to previous stories criticizing PK. Planktos also has a fact sheet published on their website that tries to answer the challenges being voiced. I can't say that I find their counter-arguments enough to totally assuage the criticisms noted and linked.

    For those of you patient enough to have read all of the above - I'll finally come to my point (which, actually, I'll convert into three simple questions):
    • Is Russ George the kind of person and Planktos/KlimaFa the kind of company that the Vatican should be collaborating with and promising future support?
    • Should the Vatican allow its actions to be featured in the press releases of a website that sells ecologically-conscientious people peace-of-mind by seeding the oceans with iron?
    • Did the Vatican do its research on this gentleman and his company's other operations?

    If the answer to these three questions is yes, well then it might be time to purchase a share in Plankton, because their stock is still reasonably-priced and I just gave out one heck of a tip about their new Vatican deal.

    If you are still undecided, go back to this page and re-watch the press release video and ask yourself what you see. Is this a beneficent philanthropist collaborating with the Vatican to plant some trees in Hungary, or is it a business-savy CEO gaining a valuable endorsement for his company and its activities?

    I haven't come to a decision myself. But my unease about the association of the Vatican with a for-profit like Planktos/Klimafa has not been relieved by the research I have done thus far. I remain open to more evidence.

    Update: CNA has brief coverage of this story today.

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    Wednesday, May 16, 2007

    "Scientists Reverse Belief in Man-made Global Warming" - Inhofe blog @ EPW

    From the Inhofe blog at the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public works:

    Climate Momentum Shifting: Prominent Scientists Reverse Belief in Man-made Global Warming - Now Skeptics
    Growing Number of Scientists Convert to Skeptics After Reviewing New Research

    Following the U.S. Senate's vote today on a global warming measure (see today's AP article: Senate Defeats Climate Change Measure,) it is an opportune time to examine the recent and quite remarkable momentum shift taking place in climate science. Many former believers in catastrophic man-made global warming have recently reversed themselves and are now climate skeptics. The names included below are just a sampling of the prominent scientists who have spoken out recently to oppose former Vice President Al Gore, the United Nations, and the media driven “consensus” on man-made global warming.

    The list below is just the tip of the iceberg. A more detailed and comprehensive sampling of scientists who have only recently spoken out against climate hysteria will be forthcoming in a soon to be released U.S. Senate report. Please stay tuned to this website, as this new government report is set to redefine the current climate debate.
    In the meantime, please review the list of scientists below and ask yourself why the media is missing one of the biggest stories in climate of 2007. Feel free to distribute the partial list of scientists who recently converted to skeptics to your local schools and universities. The voices of rank and file scientists opposing climate doomsayers can serve as a counter to the alarmism that children are being exposed to on a daily basis. (See Washington Post April 16, 2007 article about kids fearing of a “climactic Armageddon” )

    The media's climate fear factor seemingly grows louder even as the latest science grows less and less alarming by the day. (See Der Spiegel May 7, 2007 article: Not the End of the World as We Know It ) It is also worth noting that the proponents of climate fears are increasingly attempting to suppress dissent by skeptics. (See UPI May 10, 2007 article: U.N. official says it's 'completely immoral' to doubt global warming fears )

    [List of names and backgrounds follow...]

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    Tuesday, May 15, 2007

    The Vatican's UN intervention re: climate change

    Dom makes the point I was going to make before (and better than) me:

    The comments by Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Holy See’s observer at the United Nations on global climate change got a lot of attention in the press and blogosphere.

    The archbishop threw the Vatican’s weight behind the climate change “consensus”, including that “the scientific evidence for global warming and for humanity’s role in the increase of greenhouse gasses becomes ever more unimpeachable.”

    The only problem is that “evidence” is a lie because it is based on the lies in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s false reports. As I blogged in March, Orson Scott Card debunked this report as myth at length.

    ...

    It’s sad to see Archbishop Migliore being taken in by the falsehoods of the IPCC. It’s sad that in a time when we have to be wary of an ecumenism that verges on irenicism and syncretism, that the Vatican’s top diplomat the international body appears to have conceded as true the teachings of the fundamentalist modern pseudo-science religion of “climate change.”

    I just got a whole packet of reading material on this subject, and look forward to delving into it in the coming weeks. Unfortunately, I have a rather busy travel schedule ahead. Would it be too ironic to be reading this material aboard a jumbo jet?

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    Friday, May 11, 2007

    BettNet on statistics showing greenhouse gas pollutions down

    More grist for the (hopefully energy-efficient/minimal-waste-producing) mill:

    "To sum up: Even as population grew, American industry grew, the amount of energy consumed grew, and the amount Americans used their cars grew, greenhouse gas emissions went down. Despite everything that environmental extremists tell us we need to do to “save the environment” from the “human-caused” catastrophe of global warming, the reality is that it’s already being done without the draconian measures they suggest are necessary." [More...]

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    Friday, May 04, 2007

    Estrogen could be an environmental hazard

    If you haven't heard about this before, you probably should at some point.

    Dr. Philip Blosser explains:
    Widespread use of birth control pills harming the environment, says "Estrogen overload," California Catholic Daily (April 29, 2007). Tests of river fish indicate their flesh carries enough estrogen-mimicking chemicals to cause breast cancer cells to grow, says Scientific American in an article entitled "Bringing Cancer to the Dinner Table: Breast Cancer Cells Grow Under Influence of Fish Flesh" (April 17, 2007). Finally, even the concept of excess estrogen being passed into the water supply through urine may be plausible and seems to be supported by the following article, "Dr. Lee's 3 Rules for Hormone Replacement Therapy," which says to "use a sprinkle of common sense and a dash of logic."
    Now, I wonder how the leftwing female proponents of ecology would react if you told them they had to go off the pill "for the fishes"?

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