One continental cold snap does not a climate hypothesis shatter, of course.
But the current arctic chill that’s immobilizing much of North America is focusing attention on an inconvenient truth for environmental ideologues: that the theory of manmade global warming rests on much thinner scientific ice than Al Gore would have us believe.
Even before the cold air moved south in advance of Santa and his reindeer, climatologists were reporting that 2008 was on track to be the coldest year of the last decade in the United States.
That’s part of a global trend towards colder temperatures that appears to have been underway for the last several years, according to some climate researchers.
And many leading scientists such as Frederick Seitz, past president of the National Academy of Sciences, have never been persuaded of the premise that industrial emissions of carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse gases” are a primary factor in climate change, as witnessed by this petition.
The Catholic Church has adopted a balanced position regarding the global debate about climate change. Pope Benedict XVI and other Vatican voices have prudently refrained from joining with Gore and other environmental activists who contend mankind faces imminent destruction from manmade climate change and who insist that drastic “remedies” are therefore required immediately.
But the Church also emphasizes that whatever the merits of a particular climate theory, environmental degradation is a legitimate and pressing international concern. And from a Christian perspective, a disregard for ecological abuse is a violation of the responsible stewardship that humanity is called to exercise over the planet that has been entrusted to our care by God.
At the same time, the Pope has repeatedly emphasized that another kind of ecology is even more fundamental: human ecology. In his annual exchange of Christmas greetings this week with members of the Roman Curia, the Holy Father again returned to this theme, Zenit reported.
“Given that faith in the Creator is an essential element of the Christian creed, the Church can not and should not limit itself to transmitting to the faithful only the message of salvation,” Benedict said. “It also has a responsibility with creation, and it has to fulfill this responsibility in public.”
But while the Church needs to “defend the earth, water, air, as gifts of the creation that belongs to all of us ... it must also protect the human being from his own destruction,” he said.
Added the Pope, “It is necessary that there be something such as an ecology of man, understood in the proper manner.”
According to the Holy Father, this human ecology is based on respecting the masculine and feminine nature of the human person. And he warned against attempts to manipulate the meaning of man and woman through international efforts to redefine the meaning of “gender.”
“It is not outmoded metaphysics, when Church speaks of the nature of the human being as man and woman, and demands that this order of creation be respected,” Benedict said.
Instead, he added, it has more to do with “faith in the Creator and listening to the language of creation, the contempt of which will lead to the self-destruction of humanity.”
Said the Pope, “The rain forests certainly deserve our protection, but man as creature indeed deserves no less.”
— Tom McFeely