CARDINAL GEORGE PELL: Keeping a cool head amid warming hysteria (Op/ed, Sunday Telegraph (Australia)2/18/07)
February 18, 2007

Posted by Marc Morano Marc_Morano@epw.senate.gov  (12:07 ET)

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...

Sunday Telegraph (Australia)

Keeping a cool head amid warming hysteria

By CARDINAL GEORGE PELL

Opinion / Op Ed; Pg. 81

February 18, 2007 

Global-warming doomsayers were out and about in a big way recently, but the rain came in central Queensland, then here in Sydney.

January also was unusually cool.

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. 

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.

Christians don't go against reason, although we sometimes go beyond it in faith to embrace the probabilities.

What we were seeing from the doomsayers was an induced dose of mild hysteria -- semi-religious if you like, but dangerously close to superstition.

I'm deeply sceptical about man-made catastrophic global warming, but still open to further evidence.

I would be surprised if industrial pollution and carbon emissions had no ill-effects at all.

But enough is enough.

A few fixed points may provide light on the subject.

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 science is certainly more complicated than the propaganda.

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