The encyclical to be issued by Pope Francis on Thursday will throw the Catholic Church’s moral endorsement behind the theory that global warming is a serious threat.
The Holy Father’s intervention into this bitter environmental debate is political rather than scientific and timed to support the latest attempt to formulate a “climate treaty”.
Its content may be inferred by the presence at the launch of Cardinal Peter Turkson, Orthodox Metropolitan John Zizioulas and Germany’s “Climate Pope” Hans Schellnhuber.
The left-wing, anti-capitalist Ghanaian cardinal is a possible successor to Pope Francis and known in Vatican circles as the “watermelon”: green on the outside but red on the inside.
I enjoyed Zizioulas’ lectures in Patristics at Edinburgh University in the 1970s but found his attempt to link science and theology unsatisfactory because of his perception of science.
He could not accept its radical scepticism and his recent statement that “from a theological perspective climate change is anthropogenic in origin” shows he remains the same.
Schellnhuber was a theoretical physicist who joined the global warming bandwagon in 1993 creating his own “institute” and issuing his famous series of alarmist “tipping points”.
These have prompted Prince Charles to declare there are so many months to “save the world” but no evidence exists that a 2 degree C rise in global temperatures would be harmful.
Whether with the science so manifestly not settled this is the moment to issue an encyclical which effectively closes down discussion is a matter which may return to haunt the papacy.
(Rev Dr) John Cameron