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Pontifical academy issues report on climate change

May 10, 2011

Stating that “receding glaciers require urgent responses,” a working group commissioned by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences has called upon nations to “reduce worldwide carbon dioxide emissions without delay, using all means possible to meet ambitious international global warming targets and ensure the long-term stability of the climate system.”

“Failure to mitigate climate change will violate our duty to the vulnerable of the Earth, including those dependent on the water supply of mountain glaciers, and those facing rising sea level and stronger storm surges,” the report warned. “Our duty includes the duty to help vulnerable communities adapt to changes that cannot be mitigated. All nations must ensure that their actions are strong enough and prompt enough to address the increasing impacts and growing risk of climate change and to avoid catastrophic irreversible consequences.”

The working group was co-chaired by Lennart Bengtsson, senior research fellow at the Environmental Systems Science Centre at the University of Reading; Paul Crutzen, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1995; and Veerabhadran Ramanathan, director of the Center for Atmospheric Sciences at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego.

The Pontifical Academy of Sciences is not an organ of the Magisterium; as its web site explains, it “is an independent entity within the Holy See. Although its rebirth [in 1936] was the result of papal initiative, and though it is placed under the direct protection of the reigning Supreme Pontiff, the Academy defines its own goals with regard to its statuted aim: ‘ promote the progress of the mathematical, physical and natural sciences and the study of epistemological problems relating thereto.’”


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  • Posted by: filioque - May. 10, 2011 11:55 PM ET USA

    Please note that there is no science in this report. A few photos of retreating glaciers are presented without context: how many glaciers in the world are melting, how many are growing? Then the unsupported assertion that there is global warming caused by human CO2 production. No one has ever presented any cogent evidence that human-sourced CO2 is causing any significant warming. The rest is the old political agenda already rejected at Copenhagen, Cancun, etc. A sorry exhibit.

  • Posted by: JP810 - May. 10, 2011 9:43 PM ET USA

    Too bad Dr. Patrick J. Michaels and Dr. Roy Spencer wasn't on the Academy! Looks like the Academy in this issue has taken a "left turn!" Sigh ...

  • Posted by: Skip - May. 10, 2011 6:18 PM ET USA

    Seriously?? More fuel for the fringe. Time to reign in this loosley tied group........or get rid of it.

  • Posted by: WLP - May. 10, 2011 6:14 PM ET USA

    Our Holy Father and the Pontifical Academy of Sciences have engaged the subject of ecological disruption for good reason(s). As an engineer specializing in environmental regulation who also holds an MA in theology, I applaud this study and pray it helps heal ideological divides within the Church. For more on a Catholic perspective of ecology, visit my blog at In Christ, Bill Patenaude

  • Posted by: sparch - May. 10, 2011 9:50 AM ET USA

    This is a sorry item that lends the church's credibility to a fringe theory about the climate and man. If they are underthe protective wing of the Vatican, the Vatican needs to sign on with the proclamations they make or do not sound as if theu are part of the church's heirarchy.