At first glance, one might question the relevance of religious opinions on the issue of anthropogenic global warming. However, given the cult-like fervor being exhibited on this subject by the media of late, maybe what the world needs is a little balance to add a modicum of sanity to the growing hysteria.
With that in mind, Cardinal George Pell of Sydney, Australia, wrote on op-ed in the Sunday Telegraph last week cautioning readers about the zealotry being exhibited by those convinced that man is destroying the planet (emphasis mine throughout):
We have been subjected to a lot of nonsense about climate disasters, as some zealots have been presenting extreme scenarios to frighten us.
They claim ocean levels are about to rise spectacularly, there could be the occasional tsunami as high as an eight-storey building, and the Amazon Basin could be destroyed as the ice cap in the Arctic and Greenland melts.
The Cardinal then gave some recent examples of just how absurd the zealotry is getting:
An overseas magazine called for Nuremberg-style trials for global-warming sceptics, and a US television correspondent compared sceptics to ''Holocaust deniers''.
A local newspaper editorial's complaint about the doomsayers' religious enthusiasm is unfair to mainstream Christianity.
What we were seeing from the doomsayers was an induced dose of mild hysteria -- semi-religious if you like, but dangerously close to superstition.
The Cardinal then presented some facts:
We know that enormous climate changes have occurred in world history-- for example, the ice ages and Noah's flood, when human causation could only have been negligible.
Nor should it be too surprising to learn that during the past 100 years, the media has alternated between promoting fear of anew ice age and fear of global warming.
Terrible droughts are not infrequent in Australian history, sometimes lasting seven or eight years.
We all know that a cool January doesn't mean much in the long run.
But neither does evidence based on only a few years.
Scaremongers have used temperature fluctuations over limited periods and in a few places to misrepresent longer patterns.
Warming evidence is mixed and often exaggerated but can be reassuring.
Global warming has been increasing constantly since 1975 at the rate of less than one-fifth of a degree Celsius per decade.
The concentration of carbon dioxide increased surface temperatures more in winter than in summer, especially in mid and high latitudes over land, while there was a global cooling of the stratosphere.
Britain's University of East Anglia climate research unit found global temperatures did not rise between 1998 and 2005, and a NASA satellite recently found the southern hemisphere had not warmed in the past 25 years.
Is mild global warming a northern phenomenon?
We may have been alarmed by the sighting of an iceberg as large as an aircraft carrier off Dunedin, but we should be consoled by the news that the Antarctic is getting colder and the ice is growing there.
The Cardinal marvelously concluded:
The science is certainly more complicated than the propaganda.
Well, not to the doomsayers.