From: Matthew) Yew Hock Tan <>
Date: Mon May 28 2007 - 05:28:39 EDT

"The last Pope wasn't much interested in greenery either, but in 1990
coined the term ecological conversion, which was mentioned by several
speakers. "
 I thought the Catholic Church has worked out an ecumenical document
with the Eastern Orthodox Church on environmental care? And that was
under Pope John Paul II, with the then Cardinal Ratzinger as his deputy
guardian of doctrines.
 If the Pope was not interested, why chose such a topic to make an
ecumenical statement?


Janice Matchett <> wrote:
In case you missed it. ~ Janice

by Sonja Boehmer-Christensen

1. The main diplomatic aim of the UK was clear from [Secretary of State for environment] David Miliband's performance - to protect and encourage the struggling carbon market. His message was: Act speedily now before it is too late and do not allow a 'gap' to appear in emission trading.

He was not at all happy about my question what the UK hoped to gain from the 'combat against GW'.

2. Miliband finished his speech with an observation from World Wildlife Fund : "They have calculated that if everyone in the world were to consume natural resources and generate carbon dioxide at the rate we do in the UK, we'd need three planets to support (us). We are depleting our natural resources at a faster rate then we are replenishing them". The man must be ignorant, environmentally speaking. Even my third-year students laughed at the replenishing and had no idea how WWF reached that number. (But many church people liked the idea of reducing (over)consumption - the other side of serving the poor?)

3. The Vatican's objective was less clear. There is clearly a policy and doctrinal debate going on inside the Vatican, with the Pope coming under pressure to join 'Al Gore' and the World Council of Churches to pronounce an encyclical on combating global warming. He is resisting and, according to one insider, unlikely to give in, though a general statement on our responsibility to look after God's creation and use nature rationally is likely. The last Pope wasn't much interested in greenery either, but in 1990 coined the term ecological conversion, which was mentioned by several speakers.

4. Raul Estrada-Oyuela (chief UNFCC/Kyoto Protocol negotiator) had an interesting position that seriously challenged that of the UK. After pointing out that Kyoto was about emission reduction, not the creation of a market for a new commodity (carbon), he stated that " the main purpose, mitigation, cannot be adjusted to serve the interests of merchants and dealers. The overarching guidance is preserving the creation and (that) may be translated in this case as climate environmental integrity" (.....Whatever that is..). There was no rush to complete complex negotiations about the future of Kyoto.

He also said "emission trading is a fiasco in Europe..." and suggested new Protocols to the climate convention not based on national but sectoral targets as a way forward. There will be no giving in by USA and Australia, or the industrialising countries (who see targets as brakes on development) to EU/UK demands.

He would rather have a gap in commitments (after 2012 when current commitment period of Kyoto ends) than satisfy the 'carbon market', which is of course just what the UK and World Bank want to protect, see their current campaign, e.g. at UN Security Council, G8, even involving the Royal Society (not to mention the BBC),. the whole establishment is 'on message.' In my view they - the finished Blair Government, but no change in sight with Al Gore advising Brown - are overdoing it to their own detriment. (Did you know that Al Gore believes in Creationism, or at least is reported to have said so when meeting some religious groups last week.) Raul spoke late on the second day , however.

5. But first came the scientists, with Prof. A. Zichichi of CERN /World Federation of Scientists, later supported by other Italian scientists and Fred Singer) who completely rubbished the climate models and in effect removed the status of science from meteorology. Zichichi was followed by Rahmstorf (Berlin) who gave the 'consensus' IPCC line. He disappeared soon afterwards and did not engage with his critics, just handed out a ‘fact' sheet with the hockeystick etc.

The World Council of Churches was visibly appalled by this science challenge, as were the Anglican bishops (Liverpool). “We were not consulted about the people invited here and shall protest,” one of them confided to me. Another later challenged my academic credentials. Yet the US Evangelicals were represented by a serious scientifically literate 'sceptic' (Calvin Beisner).

The green lobby inside the Churches, seemingly strongest in Africa ('you made the mess, now pay for it'), Germany (‘catastrophe is nigh, but we may yet save creation..’) and the UK (‘we must aid Africa, not to save the planet would be sinful’), was very disturbed to have to listen to so many science 'deniers'. Others seemed worried about the implications of all this environmentalism for Man's relationship with God, something I have no views on or knowledge of, other than sensing that the 'deification' of Nature was a doctrinal worry.

But we had to listen to the AGW believers in turn and at length; there were some very good sermons pulling at all heart strings.

Australian bishop Christopher Toohey was the peace-maker and spoke last...’we must help the poor whether the climate is changing or not.’ So I even discussed the question of immortality, but this was over breakfast.

Indeed, all positions were justified with reference to the poor. Is this new in world/church politics?

My arrogant impression was that too many of the church representatives present while of 'good will' and obviously lovely, caring people, were illiterate scientifically and in development economics.

I should mention that I was allowed three 'interventions,' one quite long, to explain my political analysis of why the EU was so keen on climate alarmism.

Eager to find substitutes for carbon fuels, which it is running out of or has 'closed' (the coal mines), it was using the climate threat, suitably exaggerated, to ensure that the burden of this conversion to a low-carbon economy was spread globally to avoid 'competitiveness' problems and also, to encourage private money flow to the 'South'..but with what effect and expectations?

Energy-intensive industries are already moving to China, the main beneficiary by far from the Kyoto-CDM scheme.


Matthew Tan Yew Hock
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Received on Mon May 28 05:29:24 2007

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