Alarmist Pope

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.

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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.

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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”.

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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.

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(Rev Dr) John 

Howard Place

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St Andrews