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Cardinal Maradiaga compares ‘man-made’ global warming and its supposed effects with apartheid: it’s a good headline but he may live to regret it

Churchmen who base moral notions on current scientific certainties should remember Galileo

By on Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Cardinal Maradiaga says the world's climate is 'out of control' (Photo: CNS)

Cardinal Maradiaga says the world's climate is 'out of control' (Photo: CNS)

I am getting a little worried about the way pronouncements on climate change are not merely getting to constitute a kind of substitute for religious teaching and belief, but are also beginning to encroach on the real thing: that is, they are coming to be included in the kind of thing that mainline religion is directly concerned with. Here, for instance, is a story headlined “Cardinal: failure to address climate change is ‘moral apartheid’. ”

December 05, 2011

As the Durban Climate Change Conference reached its midway point, the president of the Church’s confederation of relief and development agencies compared current environmental policies to apartheid.

Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, president of Caritas Internationalis, said that “just as South Africa’s apartheid era policies sought divisions along race lines, today the world’s environment and energy policies divide man from nature.”

“Don’t we realize that the climate is out of control?” the Honduran prelate said during his Sunday homily. “How long will countless people have to go on dying before adequate decisions are taken?”

Your eminence, I have news for you: the climate has always been out of control. The message being given to the conference, as to all the conferences before it, is that because of “anthropogenic” global warming we are all in imminent danger, and millions are already dying. “I have met, personally, with thousands of people who have lost all,” Ban Ki Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, confidently told the conference, “to catastrophic floods and spreading deserts”.

Well, now. Let’s begin with those spreading deserts: according to a story in Science Daily, headlined “Mega-Droughts In Sub-Saharan Africa Normal For Region”

A … study of lake sediments in Ghana suggests that severe droughts lasting several decades, even centuries, were the norm in West Africa over the past 3,000 years.

The earlier dry spells dwarfed the well-documented drought that plagued West Africa in the late-20th century…

They go on to say that “as the planet warms, the study’s authors believe the region’s rainfall patterns will have an even greater impact”: but they say nothing about the source of this warming, which of course has happened, on and off, since the beginning of time, without any help at all from man-made CO2.

It’s that flooding, of course, which provides these conferences with their real thrills and spills, especially the flooding which hasn’t actually happened yet, but which everyone confidently predicts. Only this morning, I heard Sir David Attenborough state with absolute certainty that there is a danger that sea levels are likely to rise “several metres”, flooding many cities. “Vast quantities of land ice and meltwater will slide into the sea and cause a major rise in sea levels around the globe,” he says.

“When that will happen and by how much are difficult questions. But with over half of the human population living near the coast, the answers may be only too devastating.”

Not only cities but entire nations could disappear, it is claimed: Mohamed Nasheed, president of the Maldives, says he leads “an island nation that may slip beneath the waves if all this talk on climate does not lead to action soon”. He dramatised this by chairing a meeting of his Cabinet underwater, and has since been stirring up other other low-lying countries. He chaired a summit of them in Bangladesh, ahead of the Durban summit, and they agreed to limit their own carbon emissions (to be fair, he probably isn’t as worried as he makes out, having authorised the building of many large waterside hotels and 11 new airports). According to a leading authority on sea levels he has, indeed, nothing to worry about.

In an article in this week’s Spectator, Nils Axel Mörner writes, as “someone with some expertise in the field”, that

I can assure the low-lying countries that this is a false alarm. The sea is not rising precipitously. I have studied many of the low-lying regions in my 45-year career recording and interpreting sea level data. I have conducted six field trips to the Maldives; I have been to Bangladesh, whose environment minister was claiming that flooding due to climate change threatened to create in her country 20 million “ecological refugees”. I have carefully examined the data of “drowning” Tuvalu. And I can report that, while such regions do have problems, they need not fear rising sea levels.

I cannot forbear at this point to indicate that this man, unlike many of those scientists who don’t hesitate to pontificate on areas of study well outside their own field, about which they know absolutely nothing, actually does know a lot about this. Professor Nils-Axel Mörner was head of paleogeophysics and geodynamics at Stockholm University (1991-2005), president of the INQUA Commission on Sea Level Changes and Coastal Evolution (1999-2003), leader of the Maldives sea level project (2000-11), and chairman of the INTAS project on geomagnetism and climate (1997-2003).

His latest project was a field expedition to India, to the coast of Goa, in which he combined his own observations with the archeological record. His findings were straightforward: “there is no ongoing sea level rise”. The sea level there, he says, “has been stable for the last 50 years or so, after falling some 20cm in around 1960; it was well below the present level in the 18th century and some 50 to 60cm above the present in the 17th century. So it is clear that sea levels rise and fall entirely independently of so-called ‘climate change’.”

There are many misconceptions about sea levels, he says, not least that they are constant throughout the world. In fact, there are big variations – by as much as two metres. “You need to think not of a constant, level surface, but of an agitated bath where the water is slopping back and forth”. Bangladesh is in constant danger, not from sea levels, but from rain over the Himalayas and from cyclones which push water inland. Bangladesh “is cursed because about half of its land mass lies less than eight metres above sea level – making it highly vulnerable to coastal flooding. But this has always been the fate of delta regions: it has little if anything to do with ‘climate change’.”

As for those melting ice-caps, Sir David, they melt “at such a small rate globally that we can hardly see its effects on sea level. I certainly have not been able to find any evidence for it. The sea level rise today is at most 0.7mm a year – though, probably, much smaller.” He goes on: “We must learn to take the environmentalists’ predictions with a huge pinch of salt. In 2005, the United Nations Environment Programme predicted that climate change would create 50 million climate refugees by 2010. That was last year: where are those refugees?”

Where indeed? The fact is that figures given by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are mostly derived not from observation but from computer-generated findings which have been consistently proved wrong (remember the famous, now infamous, hockey-stick graph?) And not a single one of the agencies which provide the IPCC with its data predicted the pause in global warming which has been going on since 1998.

So, your eminence, a bit less of the high-flown indignation about a new moral outrage comparable with apartheid, please. Going along with what seems to be the current scientific consensus has repeatedly had a disastrous effect on the Church’s credibility. If you don’t really know (and you clearly don’t) the best policy is just to keep stumm, and think of Galileo.

  • Scyptical Chymist

    “Don’t we realize that the climate is out of control?” the Honduran
    prelate said during his Sunday homily. “How long will countless people
    have to go on dying before adequate decisions are taken?”

    Is not this rather a lot over the top? Does His Eminence think that we can control the climate? – such immense forces are beyond our present puny capabilities and it is arrogant to assume we can. A bit of humility please, and less of this  rhetoric implying it is all a plot against less developed countries, Natural climate change has happened frequently in the past and the evidence that humans have any effect on it is rather debatale, even dubious, Please let us devote our energies to real developments in fuel usage and conservation and allaying misery where it is found. These junkets such as that in Durban contribute nothing in the real world and indeed the expense involved could be put to better use. Please, your eminence how about leaving this area to others and concentrate on helping to rectify some of the ills the Church is suffering from today.

  • Bellator

    Maradiaga has made some sensible comments on why the media over stretched the extent of the Novus Ordo homosexual abuse scandal, though he shows himself to be a Marxist by promoting the global-warming cultism. Most “cardinals” made by Wojtyla are degenerate.

  • Anonymous

    ‘global warming cultism’ – and you have shown your self to be an idiot!

  • LocutusOP

    I still maintain that on issues where the Catholic church has no obligation to comment, it has an obligation to stay out. If there ever was an issue on which the church has no obligation to comment, it is the whole ‘climate change’ hullaballoo.

    Even assuming that the whole nightmare scenario was based on facts and not scientific fads – from scientists who stand to gain a whole lot from propagating fear -, and even assuming that anything being proposed as a solution could stop ‘climate change’, I would still have a hard time seeing how it is the Church’s business.

    The Church should, if anything, be actively opposing the in-fashion ‘solutions’ to what is at best a fabricated problem and at worst deceit the likes of which we have never seen before.
    Let none of us forget that population control is being actively promoted
    under the guise of saving the planet from ‘climate change’, and that
    ‘green taxes’ are being imposed which hit the poorest most.

    None of the solutions discussed fail to centralise power, and given the fact that the Church’s enemies seem to gravitate towards centres of power, I must admit I find it strange how many prominent Catholic clergy – including to a great extent the Pope himself – have gone along with essentially unprovable assertions which nonetheless have very real consequences for everyone on the planet – probably far more so than even the worst effects of ‘climate change’, if it were real.

    One last thing…

    The world is very good at using the Church as a scapegoat. When the
    ‘climate change’ hysteria is found – and it will – to be totally baseless , the world
    will be all too keen to saddle the Church with blame for promoting it.

    How I wish the Church (and that includes the laity) would more actively enforce and promote what Jesus Christ founded it for – bringing mankind to God and God to mankind – and that the clergy stay out of trivialities. If it did that, then surely all the other problems would take care of themselves…

  • Acleron

    Just where do you get your misguided beliefs. The last time I saw any thing from you on this topic you prophesied the IPCC would be downgrading the expected temperature increase. Any comment on the latest paper from Switzerland? 

    And the sheer lack of logic in, you in particular, complaining about scientists outside of their speciality commenting on anthropogenic global warming and then ignoring all those who are specialists would be  breathtaking if it wasn’t so boring.

    Your ignorance, which out of politeness I must assume to be no worse, is shown quite clearly at the end of your missive. You don’t seem to know that there is a difference between accumulated data from which the hockey stick graph has been proven (contrary to your statement) and predictions. Within the prediction there is a statistical variation which is why a range is given in the forecasts. In the data there is also a variation and any honest appreciation of the data shows that the last ten years is still on the line predicted by the models. Only the totally stupid or dishonest would try to extract 10 years of data out of the whole of that dataset and try to prove anything.

    Again, I recommend you spend some time learning the physics, chemistry and mathematics behind this science. After ten or more years of study, you might be capable of uttering something about climate change without looking the complete idiot.

  • Anonymous

    Agreed — this is a technical question that needs to be resolved by qualified specialists. 

  • John

    Very offensive remark I think, you ahould learn some manners. And there is a plethora of scientists who have studied the whole ‘climate change’ thing and come to the same conclusions as Dr Morner.

  • Acleron

    This is a life threatening situation. My language reflects the seriousness of the ignorant trying to perverts the facts. Oddie insults the vast majority of climate scientists. These scientists have spent many years obtaining their expertise and many more collecting data, proposing hypotheses and testing them. Contrary to the rubbish said by uninformed commentators, they are not well paid and there is no conspiracy to their findings. What they have found will lead to catastrophe if it is not curtailed. 

  • Anonymous

    Acleron, what are your thoughts on the whole scandal at the U. of E. Anglia? If the evidence were as incontrovertible as you suggest, what need would there have been for them to distort it (which they clearly did)? I share your concern for impoverished countries, but isn’t it possible they would be harmed by undue restrictions on industry?

  • Charles Martel

    How dare you say this, Dr Oddie? You want us all to drown / roast to death? Don’t you know we have only 10 days to save the world before it reaches the tipping point and spins wildly out of control? We must set up a one-world government NOW to shut down the world economy, control the climate and punish it severely when it steps out of line. Controlling the sun is a little beyond our resources at the moment, but we hope to achieve this by June 2015 (not an urgent priority, because, as any fule kno, the sun has a very minor impact on Earth’s climate).

  • Anonymous

    Ok, thanks for proving that the global warming cult does actually exist. So, are you interested in a debate on the scientific aspects of the issue, or just in abusing the disbelievers?

  • Leo

    After the Angelus of 27 Nov 2011 Pope Benedict said:
    The Convention of the United Nations Organization on climate change
    and the Kyoto Protocol will begin tomorrow in Durban, South Africa. I
    hope that all the members of the international community will agree on a
    responsible, credible and supportive response to this worrying and
    complex phenomenon, taking into account the needs of the poorest
    populations and of the generations to come. It is a pity that William Oddie feels the need to sabotage the Holy Father because William Oddie thinks he is so much smarter than 97% of climate scientists (who publish in peer-reviewed journals) who believe global warming is real and is being caused by human activities, 2% are unsure 1% say no..

  • David B McGinnity

    Matthew 6:26What is all the fuss about. if the world ends, the good will go to heaven and the wicket will got to hell. If there is no God and no life hereafter then the atheists just turn to ashes and the game is over. My director of studies told me over 60 years ago that the world had not been created, but is still being created an there will be constant changes within a lifetime. I am old enough to confirm that he was right because I have seen many changes, mostly positive. I remember the horse and cart era where there was horse dung all over the roads there were and flies spreading disease. I recall poverty, squalor, dirt and filth in the middle of the city. I recall rickets, diphtheria, poliomyelitis and several disgusting diseases that are now gone.At the drop of a hat, there can be an epidemic of flu or plague that can wipe out half the worlds population within months, and little can be done to stop it. Nature has it’s own law as weather and climate patterns show, and no one actually knows how many variables are involved in this. We have been the victims of bad science (for and against) regarding climate change. Those who want to suppress the truth and those who want to use half truth to instil fear to control the world population. This is the one time when I believe in faith, and trust in God. God will not let us down. Read Matthew 6:26: “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Loosen up and enjoy the present, as though today was your last day on earth, and one day you will be right.

  • Acleron

    For over a hundred years we have known that if we add CO2 to the atmosphere it will lead to retention of thermal energy. We add CO2 to the atmosphere and hey presto, the temperature goes up. What a surprise, we have just manipulated the climate. Well of course, not really a surprise at all. Also not a surprise that people who have a vested interest in not wanting to be held responsible for the production of the CO2 now deny it happens even though they haven’t the faintest chance of understanding the science behind it. All the old excuses, it’s scientists wanting to make money, people who have their own agenda, oh! I’ve found a scientist who disagrees with it. Has nobody noticed, these are all the same excuses and strategies promulgated by the tobacco industry in denying that smoking causes cancer. What amazes me is that just so many people are taken in by it. Do you really think there is a conspiracy between so many scientists, who have been educated in so many different countries and universities and not one of them has admitted this colossal fraud? That’s the bit that beggars belief, that the deniers cannot even apply Occam’s razor, after all old William was one of yours.

  • Acleron

    You mean the scandal of emails being stolen? That led to a loss of a large amount of money exonerating the scientists from any scientific misbehaviour in three investigations. Wrongly, in my opinion, they were censured for their scatological references to deniers. As these were private emails, I don’t see it’s of any concern to anybody, but there you go. The same tactics have been operated against Mann.

    The problem of what we do without damaging poorer countries is quite easy in essence, clamp down harder on CO2 production in richer countries. I don’t see it happening, turkeys and xmas etc.

    But before that happens, the problem has to be accepted as real. Articles such as the above, cherry picking one scientist, are a disgrace.

    Morner claims that he is experienced and important in the field. This is what one organisation, who he used to lead, has to say about him.

    ‘Current president of the INQUA commission on Coastal and Marine Processes, Professor Roland Gehrels of the University of Plymouth, says his view do not represent 99% of its members, and the organisation has previously stated that it is “distressed” that Mörner continues to falsely “represent himself in his former capacity.”‘

    ‘’s as close as a tenured scientist comes to saying ‘he lies’.

    Now a very simple search would have disclosed that Morner is not held in great regard because of his inability to see in the data that which is  quite plain to everyone else. But Oddie, just sees something to support his own wrong opinions and immediately advertises it. Poor science, poor journalism.

  • Brian A. Cook
  • Anonymous

    I mentioned this once before, but my message was buried among a load of homophobia so it may have been missed, so I’ll say it again.

    We know from an earlier post that you, Dr Oddie, admire the organisation Mary’s Meals. I wasn’t really aware of Mary’s Meals before you mentioned them, so I had a look at their website ( I was impressed: it appears to be an excellent and very worthwhile organisation.
    They seem to have no doubt that climate change is major problem for the communities that they are trying help. (Enter “climate change” in the search on their website).  For example:”The children who attend this school are the children of pastoralist nomads whose lifestyle and livelihoods are being systematically destroyed by climate change.” (…See also the material in their resources document:

    This concern for climate change is pretty much unanimous among development charities. But, of course, you won’t be impressed by that will you, Dr Oddie, because you take pride in not agreeing with the consensus.  You will assume you know better than them.

  • W Oddie

    Nobody doubts that the climate in subsaharan africa is posing very severe problems to the populations affected. But Mary’s meals are not expert in the reasons for this: those who put together the report in science news quoted above are. Did you actually read this post? apparently not.

  • W Oddie

    Have you actually read my post? I have quoted leading climate scientists. If you disagree with THEM, why? If you don’t know how to refute them, kindly withdraw your ill mannered and self-righteous intervention. In your fanatical and bullying manner you typify the whole warmist sect.  That’s why so-called climate sceptics (or do you prefer “deniers?)  are now gaining ground in public opinion. 

  • W Oddie

    I HAVE QUOTED SPECIALISTS: or didn’t you actually read my article? If you disagree with them, why not just say why?

    The hockey stick graph can only be made plausible by denying the medieval warm period and the little ice age which followed it, for both of which we have ample historical  and archeological evidence. Sorry, you can’t any more  bully or insult (“stupid or dishonest”) your way out of this by trying to blind me and others with your bogus science. After climategate and glaciergate we no longer trust people like you. You have simply lost credibility: thanks very much, we will be influenced  by those scientists who can be trusted and who don’t try to keep quiet about inconvenient evidence. 

  • W Oddie

    Pathetic. Just pathetic. I really can’t be bothered to say more.

  • Anonymous

    Calling climate change a cult is ridiculous. Firstly it is happening – temperature has and is rising – all scientists and researchers – regardless of their agreement of the causes of it – have shown this to be the case. To deny that the earth has been warning is simply putting your head in the sand.

    The worlds most prominent climate change sceptic scientist, working at the University of California, Richard Muller -disbelieving NASA figures went and tested again, and has now come out and said:

    “The skeptics raised valid points and everybody should have been a skeptic two years ago,” Muller said in a telephone interview. “And now we have confidence that the temperature rise that had previously been reported had been done without bias.”

    The real debate is about whether human-beings have contributed to this warming or whether it is a natural phenomenon. I use the term debate very loosely however. With 90% of scientists, and 97% of climate scientists publishing work today – agreeing the it is the case.

    If you think the word idiot was a poor choice – than I think you should take a look who doubters are standing with – big oil and gas companies, and some scientists who haven’t made their mind up.

    Whereas those who believe that it is human-caused climate change – are almost all national geographic societies, the UN, numerous private scientific bodies, NASA and over 9/10ths of scientific opinion.

  • Anonymous

    God will not let us down? How about our ancestors who had to deal with rickets, diphtheria, poliomyelitisetc you talk about? He didn’t exactly mollycoddle them.
    It is HUMAN development that has released us from the pain and torment of these problems – not GOD. Again, now we can only rely on HUMAN actions to mitigate and slow climate change.

    Only a couple of years ago the 2004 Tsumani killed 210,000 to 310,000 people.

    I cannot share your confidence. And I wish that if there is anything I can do to make my children, and future generations safe on this earth then it is my, (and our), duty to do so.

  • Anonymous

    there’s being sceptical, and then there’s denying all scientific consensus.

  • Torkay

    Apparently the Vatican has decided to contribute to “Climategate II,” since it no longer has any religion to speak of:

  • Torkay

    Utter shameful nonsense. It is these so-called “climate scientists” who are on the UN payroll who are perverting facts. How many times does this scam have to be exposed before you stop being deluded by it?

  • barbara clemen

    You’ll never win this arguement,so go away,Strlk.

  • Acleron

    Which are you refering to? The lack of your knowledge or the lack of your research.

  • Acleron

    There are thousands of scientists of different disciplines who contribute to the evidence and the hypotheses of this topic. The majority are not employed by the UN.

    As to delusion, I’ve looked at the data produced at source. It shows exactly the claims being made. Or are you saying that people all over the world, some working on monitoring ships, some looking after stations on land, satellite engineers collecting data etc are all in some conspiracy and changing the data?

    When people make up data there are forensic methods for detecting that. Denialists have been all over data, I know full well that if they had found anything, it would be headline news, Don’t you find it strange that there isn’t?

    So the denialists haven’t found anything wrong with the data, so what do they do?

    Target individuals to start with, try reading the emails stolen from East Anglia, three investigations have shown precisely nothing. Mann’s data has been investigated three times, what has that shown? Nothing.

    Why don’t you wake up to what is happening? A scientist here and there may commit fraud for grants etc. There are famous examples, all found by other scientists. But who has most to lose financially from anthropogenic global warming. Well you don’t have to look very far.

  • cesium12

     “You mean the scandal of emails being stolen? That led to a loss of a
    large amount of money exonerating the scientists from any scientific
    misbehaviour in three investigations.”

    Amazing….catch a thief in the act and he complains that the police are too efficient! 

    You whine about the damning evidence of Global warming being a  Hoax being “stolen.”  Your side is losing and you are clutching a straws.

    “exonerated”….?       Put the opium pipe down my friend.  Nothing of the sort occured.

    Climategate 2.0 finalized the idealogue’s expose on the internet if not the press.

    And we are not alone.


  • cesium12

  • Anonymous

    so? 97% of climate scientists and 90% of scientists say otherwise.

  • Oli

    who’s the leading authority on sea level who says that the Maldives have nothing to worry about? And your point about  galileo?! Seeing as  he was right; the sun does affect tides alongside the moon and we do orbit the sun, so care to clarify your points william?