Understanding Climate Risk

Science, policy and decision-making

Pell hoists himself on his own logic

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We have been waiting for Cardinal George Pell to comment publicly on Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ because it professes pretty much the opposite to Pell’s public omnipotence on all things climate change.

Speaking to the Financial Times in a story on his reform of Vatican finance, Pell says this:

“It’s got many, many interesting elements. There are parts of it which are beautiful,” he says. “But the church has no particular expertise in science . . . the church has got no mandate from the Lord to pronounce on scientific matters. We believe in the autonomy of science,” added Cardinal Pell.

That’s rich, coming from someone who calls himself a layman scientist:

Note that it is not just weather but also “future climate states” that are not reliably predictable in the long term. As Mark Twain said, “Climate is what you expect: weather is what you get.” Neither is predictable.

Professor Bob Carter, Dr. David Evans, Professor Stewart Franks, and Dr. William Kininmonth have succinctly stated the case for the sceptics, a case which so far has been completely ignored by the Australian media and political class. The conclusions of the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), they wrote, are “essentially reliant on computer modelling and lack empirical support”; its speculations on “the baleful influence of atmospheric carbon dioxide rest almost exclusively on unvalidated computer modelling that rests on unsubstantiated assumptions about the amplification effects of water vapour, clouds and other unverifiable factors.” The predictions based on these models “have been wrong for the last 23 years”. During the decade since 2001 carbon dioxide has increased by five per cent, but the atmosphere has failed to warm.

This speech, given to the Global Warming Policy Foundation in 2011, is a classic example of global warming ‘sceptic’ bingo. Yet, this is what Pell, the layman scientist as he calls himself, says earlier in the FT article.

“I am of a belief if you are at a university it should be run by an academic, and a hospital should be run by a doctor, and if you are running finances you need people at the top who really understand it,” says the Cardinal

The scientific aspects of the encyclical were contributed by scientists, this content has been endorsed by pretty much every publishing climate scientist, so I reckon the good cardinal should take his own advice. If you want to act on scientific advice, consult the science.


Written by Roger Jones

July 19, 2015 at 1:28 pm

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  1. […] Pell hoists himself on his own logic […]

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