“My task as a Christian leader,” said Cardinal George Pell in a 2011 interview, “is to engage with reality, to contribute to debate on important issues, to open people’s minds, and to point out when the emperor is wearing few or no clothes. I strive to argue rationally towards God the Creator, and reject substitutes, be they pantheist or atheist.”
In the debate over the theory of global warming, Cardinal George Pell of Sydney is a decided skeptic. His forthright reservations about the claim of catastrophic man-made climate change have made him a target for criticism in Australia. CWR talked to him about the controversy.
Your recent remarks questioning the claims about man-made climate change have drawn fierce criticism here in Australia. How do you account for that?
Cardinal Pell: Despite the fact that Australians like to see themselves as a ruggedly independent, rational, and democratic people, in some respects a herdlike mentality still prevails. Right now, the mass media, politicians, many church figures, and the public generally seem to have embraced even the wilder claims about man-made climate change as if they constituted a new religion.
These days, for any public figure to question the basis of what amounts to a green fundamentalist faith is tantamount to heresy. The angry editorials and letters to newspapers certainly suggest this.
You are one of very few public figures in this country to express open skepticism about man-made climate change and its alleged long-term effects. What is your reading of the scientific evidence for climate change? What is the basis of your skepticism?
Cardinal Pell: I am certainly skeptical about extravagant claims of impending man-made climatic catastrophes. Scientific debate is not decided by any changing consensus, even if it is endorsed by political parties and public opinion. Climate change both up and down has been occurring, probably since earth first had a climate.From the CWR archives: Global warming and pagan emptiness – Catholic World Report