“They don’t want any dissent, and they certainly didn’t want me asking questions,” said Christopher Monckton of Pope Francis’ unambiguous endorsement of the science of climate change.
Lord Monckton of Brenchley, a former policy adviser to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and a well-known climate change skeptic, was speaking just after being thrown out of a one-day Vatican workshop on the moral dimensions of climate change and sustainable humanity.
Opened by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the April 28 workshop was attended by climate scientists, five Nobel Prize winners, and religious leaders from around the world.
Hosted by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the event’s publicized aim was to “raise awareness” of climate change and “build a consensus” between the “values of sustainable development” and those of religious traditions.
It was also meant to support Pope Francis’ upcoming encyclical on the environment which is to be published in the summer to coincide with the U.N.’s Conference on Climate Change in Paris in December.
Ban spoke of the urgency of tackling climate change, telling reporters the U.N. was aiming to secure an anti-climate change war chest of $100bn by 2020, followed by a further $100bn per annum.
He said he wants the “moral authority” of faith groups and claimed they are “fully aligned” with scientists on the issue. “Business leaders and all civil society are on board”, he said. “Now we want faith leaders. Then we can make it happen.”
But some of those present sensed a whiff of desperation among those pushing the climate change agenda. The last U.N. conference on the issue in Copenhagen in 2009 was judged a failure partly because developing countries weren’t prepared to pay the high costs for alternative energies to fossil fuels. “They had their chance then to obtain a consensus,” said one source. “It’s not going to come back.”
Another view is that the U.N. and the EU are welcoming the enormous amount of proposed financing to combating climate change as “manna from heaven” because it gives them a role and a purpose.
Furthermore, if the science is so convincing, it’s unclear why the conference organizers were so worried about having skeptics asking difficult questions. Both Monckton and Marc Morano of Climate Depot, a conservative think tank, were ejected from the hall when organizers discovered who they were.
Monckton was especially disappointed as he had taken part in a similar Vatican conference on climate change in 2007 which was open to all opinions. Asked if he had been excluded because the science had since moved on, he replied: “Indeed it has: there’s been no global warming since that time,” and cited a number of his own peer-reviewed papers to prove his point.
I asked Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, the long-serving chancellor of the Pontifical Academy and principal organizer of the workshop, why opponents of the science weren’t invited as in 2007. He responded by saying that event was hosted by another Vatican department, and added that when it comes to climate change science, “there’s only one side.”
Economist Jeffrey Sachs, a key figure at the conference who has contributed to the Pope’s new encyclical, told me climate change skeptics were “in very serious error” and that 2014 was the “warmest year in instrument record on the planet.” He said climate change science is long established, and skeptics don’t understand it. “The risks are enormous, the time is short and we have to move forward,” he said.
But Monckton, who says he is not financially backed by anyone, believes those promoting the agenda know “perfectly well” they are wrong, but “cannot stop the political momentum” that’s been built up. “They know they’re going to look foolish and will stave off that day until they retire,” he said. “That’s all it’s about now, a damage limitation exercise.”
He also sees the agenda as a push toward some kind of world government.
Morano said he was concerned that Pope Francis, unlike his predecessors, was “essentially lobbying” for a climate change treaty to be signed in Paris. This, he warned, puts him in danger of bringing into play a “whole host of issues that are diametrically opposed to Catholic teaching such as population control, abortion, contraception.”
Scientific questions surrounding climate change science aside, this is what chiefly concerns many Catholics. The Pope, they fear, is being misled on an issue seen by many as a Trojan horse for globally advancing policies radically opposed to church doctrine.
“There is a sort of pantheism in all this which is designed to, and will, weaken the church,” said Monckton. “Every time the church strays into science and gets it wrong, she weakens her spiritual authority."
Edward Pentin began reporting on the Vatican as a correspondent with Vatican Radio in 2002. He has covered the Pope and the Holy See for a number of publications, including Newsweek and The Sunday Times. Read more reports from Edward Pentin — Click Here Now.
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