2011-05-08 15:17:48The Vatican's Pontifical Academy of Sciences report
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey

The Vatican's Pontifical Academy of Sciences has just issued a report, citing the moral imperative before society to properly address climate change.  News release here.  The report itself is here.

Declaration by the Working Group

We call on all people and nations to recognise the serious and potentially irreversible impacts of global warming caused by the anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants, and by changes in forests, wetlands, grasslands, and other land uses.
We appeal to all nations to develop and implement, without delay, effective and fair policies to reduce the causes and impacts of climate change on communities and ecosystems, including mountain glaciers and their watersheds, aware that we all live in the same home.
By acting now, in the spirit of common but differentiated responsibility, we accept our duty to one another and to the stewardship of a planet blessed with the gift of life.
We are committed to ensuring that all inhabitants of this planet receive their daily bread, fresh air to breathe and clean water to drink as we are aware that, if we want justice and peace, we must protect the habitat that sustains us. The believers among us ask God to grant us this wish.
2011-05-09 03:59:44


I am compiling an article for publishing here or in my blog showing how many religious people are - based on faith and science - concerned about climate change.  I want to show just how extreme the view is of the young-earthers, and how they have cherry-picked the Bible to support cherry-picked science for political ends.

By way of contrast to the young-earther view that we should "drill, baby, drill", here are just a few of the sources I shall be citing.  (btw, thanks for the link to yet another source) -

"As American evangelical Christian leaders, we recognize both our opportunity and our responsibility to offer a biblically based moral witness that can help shape public policy in the most powerful nation on earth, and therefore contribute to the well-being of the entire world.

... we must reduce our global warming pollution to help mitigate the impacts of climate change, as a society and as individuals we must also help the poor adapt to the significant harm that global warming will cause."



"We are commanded to love our neighbors, but we cannot love others if we do not support actions that will preserve a healthy environment for them.

Skepticism of the science is increasing today for ideological reasons. Skeptics have been using false knowns in one area to shoot down true knowns in other areas. We have reached a point in our public discussions where arguments are being put forward that are specious and distracting. The same arguments are being used against climate change that were used against the health effects of tobacco."



"We are increasingly aware that the finite nature of the planet’s resources and capacity to absorb waste products places limits on economic growth and consumption. For Christians a response will be informed by principles deriving from the perspective of our faith including those of social justice and of restraint. 

Justice needs to be secured for those likely to be most affected by climate change today, in particular those in the developing world. We also have a responsibility to act justly towards members of future generations."



"The Climate Institute has worked closely with faith communities in Australia for several years. In 2006, we approached them to provide moral, ethical and spiritual reasons for why we should take action on climate change. The result was a booklet called “Common Belief” which brought 16 different faith traditions together, including Aboriginal people, Baha’i believers, Buddhists, various Christian denominations and groups, Hindus, Jewish people, Muslims and Sikhs."


2011-05-09 04:36:38


The report comes after a workshop held in Rome last month. Look at the programme, comprehensive and high level. Good job.

2011-05-09 05:19:12
Alex C


logicman - I think John would be a good input for the article as well (not to speak on his behalf).  I'd recommend asking him too (he'll probably read this soon anyways).

Anyways, sounds like an interesting report Daniel, I'll have a look at it.

2011-05-09 09:23:04


Alex: good idea!  When I write about science I try to leave my religion out of it, but here we have the making of a good science article.  Here are some sketchy ideas - I'll open a new thread if John thinks this topic is suitable for this site. 


I still need a good title.  Any suggestions, friends?

Tentative title and outline:


Science and Religion Unite on Climate Problems


The so-called climate debate isn't, as some would have you believe, a contest between science and religion.  A majority of scientists and a majority of religious people agree that climate change is happening, that the change is human caused and that it is a problem which needs to be addressed.

(a list of quotes on climate change from the world's major religious groups and councils will be inserted here, e.g. Christian, Moslem, Hindu, Sikh and other groups have issued clear statements in support of the findings of climate science.)

Notably absent from the list of people who believe we have a duty in ethics to care for this planet and its peoples, the creationists argue that we have a duty as stewards of this planet to carry on with our profligate use of fossil fuels.  The same people who want to promote creationism aka intelligent design in our schools are trying to promote a worldview in which human-caused climate change is a physical impossibility. According to their world view, the burning of fossil fuels merely puts back in the air the CO2 that the drowned plants absorbed between the creation and the flood.  They point blank refuse to believe that humans, by putting this CO2 back where it was when humans walked with dinosaurs, can alter the climate. Some creationists even refuse to believe that plants influence the composition of the atmosphere.

Although a majority of religious people endorse the findings of science on climate change, a small but vociferous and powerful group of creationists insists that they are right - and everyone else is wrong - about both the science and the religion.  That is to say: their religious views "prove" that science is completely wrong about everything to do with climate.  The ice isn't melting, the planet isn't warming, the oceans are cooling, CO2 is plant food, etc. etc.

(a list of arguments on climate change from young-earthers will be inserted here, with sources)

The literalist view of the Bible is a minority view amongst theologians and Bible scholars, yet the number of creationists in positions to wield undue political influence is large enough to be a major force against action on climate. 

The hardest thing to understand about the creationists is why they would cherry-pick the Bible to furnish spurious evidence in support of the right of the fossil fuels industry to oppose action on climate change.

2011-05-09 09:50:24Ideas
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey

"Strange Bedfellows: Science and Religion Unite on Climate Problems"


"The Odd Couple: Science and Religion Unite on Climate Problems"

2011-05-09 10:48:13


I wouldn't emphasize the "oddness" of it.

I would accept it as natural: Think about it. Why shouldn't a religiously inclined person want to protect the world?

2011-05-10 03:27:41


Thanks for the suggestions.  How's this:

Science and Religion: Natural Allies on Climate Problems

2011-05-10 03:51:54


That's better. What does someone else think?

2011-05-10 04:01:01
Julian Brimelow

I agree that:

Science and Religion: Natural Allies on Climate Problems

is better.  But maybe remove the "natural"?  IMHO, science and religion have been at odds many times, so I personally do not see them as "natural"  allies.


2011-05-10 04:08:42


The Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale has a collection of statements from several world religions. It might be usefull to include religions other than Christianity.

2011-05-10 06:02:44
Alex C


I don't see any sort of glaring current event that has really brought into the spotlight the creationist argument against AGW.  I think that addressing creationism too closely without any specific background is not along the lines of what SkS normally posts.  If we're (you're) going to do a post on religion and AGW action, then it should be soon and related more to the report from the Vatican.

I especially caution against just saying "The so-called climate debate isn't, as some would have you believe, a contest between science and religion" without any sort of example.  In other words, why should we care what creationists believe?  Are they important enough to address directly?

I think though that having a post that focuses more on the Vatican and the rationale behind religious-based sympathy for the state of our plant would be a great post.  Probably even tie it to the "AGW is a religion" meme that has been popping up a lot, as Badgersouth brought up in the Washington Times thread, and as I have been seeing in Yahoo! Answers since the stone age.