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Our readers asked:

What’s the church’s position on global warming?

Richard G. Malloy, SJ Answers:

We’re “against” it (LOL).  Seriously, we are called to be stewards of creation.  The church, like all sane and sensible institutions, knows the shift in global weather patterns are deeply dangerous and threaten humanity.

We’re slugging through the snowiest winter in Philadelphia history (I’m writing this on yet a fourth school snow day in 2010.  In almost 20 years of college teaching I’ve only had five snow days, but four of them have been in the past month!).  The wild swings in Philly winters show me that “global weirding” is happening.

The increase in CO2 in the atmosphere is measurable.  There were 260 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere before the industrial revolution.  Bill McKibben’s  350.org reports, “350 is the most important number in the world—it’s what scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  Two years ago, after leading climatologists observed rapid ice melt in the Arctic and other frightening signs of climate change, they issued a series of studies showing that the planet faced both human and natural disaster if atmospheric concentrations of CO2 remained above 350 parts per million.  Everyone from Al Gore to the U.N.’s top climate scientist has now embraced this goal as necessary for stabilizing the planet and preventing complete disaster. Now the trick is getting our leaders to pay attention and craft policies that will put the world on track to get to 350.  Right now, mostly because we’ve burned so much fossil fuel, the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide is 390 ppm—that’s way too high, and it’s why ice is melting, drought is spreading, forests are dying. To bring that number down, the first task is to stop putting more carbon into the atmosphere. That means a very fast transition to sun and wind and other renewable forms of power. If we can stop pouring more carbon into the atmosphere, then forests and oceans will slowly suck some of it out of the air and return us to safe levels.”  If we keep ignoring the increase in Carbon Dioxide and hit, say 500 ppm, it’s all over.

The vast majority of the scientific community recognizes and teaches that global warming is real and we need to make major changes in the way we operate, or we could destroy the world given us by God.  Don’t take my word for it.  Read the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  See Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth.  They don’t give Nobel Prizes to Bozos.  Voices as disparate as Bill McKibben and Pope Benedict XVI are warning that we must take remedial action immediately.

Pope Benedict XVI teaches in Caritas in Veritate (2009) “The way humanity treats the environment influences the way it treats itself, and vice versa” (#51).  He says we must change the way we think about our relationship with the environment.  “The Church has a responsibility towards creation and she must assert this responsibility in the public sphere. In so doing, she must defend not only earth, water and air as gifts of creation that belong to everyone.  She must above all protect mankind from self-destruction” (#51)

The Author : Richard G. Malloy, SJ
Richard G. Malloy, S.J., Ph.D., is Vice President for University Ministries, the University of Scranton, Scranton, PA, and author of A Faith That Frees (Orbis Books).
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  • Nathan

    If there is a situation for alarm, which many in the scientific population has identified, I believe that as catholic citizens we must take honest and prayerful action towards making a difference. The earth is a beautiful yet such a very fragile place. See how easily an invasive species can take over a lake? See how rash human decisions can wipe out beautiful forests and prairies? The sky is not the least bit different. The health of our atmosphere is affected by human actions. With love, I ask that you to pray about this situation dearly. A question that has such a profound impact on the beautiful world our children and grandchildren will live in, must be carefully considered.

  • Rick Malloy, S.J.

    Matt, you write, “A majority of the scientific signatories to the IPCC‚Äôs report have repudiated the final text of the report, due to changes made by UN bureaucrats after their contributions were already submitted.” Could you please provide some citations that support this claim?

  • Matt

    You say “they don’t give Nobel prizes to bozos”. I think the bozos with Nobel prizes are a good counterargument to this.

    It’s pretty difficult to sustain an argument for “consensus” when the leading authorities in the field are now on record confessing to an ongoing conspiracy to suppress dissent from their views and destroy all records of the original data which might be used to put their theories to an independent test.

    A majority of the scientific signatories to the IPCC’s report have repudiated the final text of the report, due to changes made by UN bureaucrats after their contributions were already submitted.

    Even the head of the CRU (the same guy who’s so committed to the warmista dogma that he was willing to put his suppression conspiracy in writing) has finally admitted that no warming has taken place since 1997, despite increasing CO2 levels.

    When someone’s argument amounts to “sit down, shut up, and turn your life over to us, because we’re better than you are, because we say so”, I’m disinclined to give them the benefit of the doubt, even before they’re publicly exposed as liars.

  • Rick Malloy, S.J.


    Ad hominem arguments are weak. No matter who wins the Nobel, the scientific community’s consensus is clear: Global warming (or “climate change”) is here. Read the facts (http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/ or http://www.ipcc.ch/)

    As John Adams said, “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”



  • Steve

    Mike, one instance of fudging numbers does not refute an entire theory. Who knows? You may be right in the end – I sure don’t know enough about it and won’t pretend to be an expert.

    Still, based on the entirety of evidence and the unity in which the scientific community speak on the matter, I tend to believe ’em.

  • Mike

    I gotta refute this. I can agree that we need to be good stewards and watch our use of natural resources, but the idea of anthropogenic global warming that will destroy the Earth is not supported by science. You have only to read all the “climategate” reports to confirm this. I’m not claiming there is no global warming, just that there is no unbiased evidence one way or the other.

    Just because someone got a Nobel prize doesn’t make what they say true (case in point this year’s Nobel peace prize).

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