On 27 April 2015 there was held, in Rome, what was called a ‘prebuttal’ to the Vatican’s Climate Summit on the following day. A substantial collection of leading independent scientific experts was assembled to convey a simple message. All the empirical data show that there is no climate crisis.
As the summit the following day was concerned with the role of Christianity in this fictional crisis, one of the speakers at the prebuttal was a theologian, E. Calvin Beisner.
Beisner kicks off uncompromisingly with a bald statement to the effect that his having read fifty books on the science and more than 30 on the economics of climate change, and hundreds of articles and peer-reviewed papers, he can state categorically that the computer models have been shown to be wrong. He gives a few examples of real-world data, but stresses that he will leave the science to the scientists that are speaking at this conference. His concern is with ethics.
He narrates an ethos-laden account of his childhood in Calcutta, leaving us in no doubt that he has seen grinding poverty up close.
He then tells us that there is no empirical evidence that fossil fuels are driving dangerous warming (only empirical evidence is relevant: theoretical projections from computer models are not empirical), but there is overwhelming empirical evidence that the use of fossil fuels to supply abundant cheap energy is crucial for lifting the world’s remaining four billion poor out of the miseries of poverty. There is also overwhelming evidence that our use of fossil fuels enhances plant-life globally by adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.
It is a very telling speech. and leaves us with an uncomfortable conclusion. In the face of all that, you have to question either the diligence of fact-checking or (somewhat alarmingly) the motives of anyone who takes any steps to deprive the world’s poor of access to fossil-fuel energy. It is a shameful list that belongs in that category. including the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England. The issue of those motives was addressed in another speech that we shall examine shortly.