Catholic Culture Resources
Catholic Culture Resources

What was the climate change conference really about?

By Dr. Jeff Mirus ( bio - articles - email ) | Apr 30, 2015

First, the conference in question was actually one of several “workshops” periodically sponsored by the Pontifical Academy for Sciences and others. The official title of the April 28th workshop was “Protect the Earth, Dignify Humanity. The Moral Dimensions of Climate Change and Sustainable Humanity”. A nice touch, this idea of “sustainable humanity”.

Second, we may presume that this was an exceedingly thorough and meticulously careful workshop, entered upon with no preconceived notions, and open to both extensive presentations and vigorous debate. This presumption is based on the amount of time allocated to the event. Of course we have to allow for legendary Vatican efficiency, as it was all done in a single day.

Third, this workshop was jointly sponsored by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), and a coalition of world religious leaders called Religions for Peace. Sweet!

Fourth, the workshop concluded that climate-change mitigation will require the world’s rapid conversion to renewable and other low-carbon energy sources, as well as the sustainable management of ecosystems. The key passage in the final statement reads as follows:


These transformations should be carried out in the context of globally agreed Sustainable Development Goals, consistent with ending extreme poverty; ensuring universal access for healthcare, quality education, safe water, and sustainable energy; and cooperating to end human trafficking and all forms of modern slavery.


So, clearly, the “climate change conference” had a modest set of strikingly clear priorities—eight modest and clear priorities, in fact, from sustainable development to ending slavery, which obviously must include eliminating addictive drugs and pornography as well. (Probably this was a well-disguised Catholic bid to eliminate lust. It clearly was not a Modernist bid to eliminate guilt.)

This proves…this proves…well, it proves at least two things. First, it proves that the workshop was a meeting of like-minded people who wanted to issue a pre-conceived, attention-getting statement. In other words, it was a team-building event.

Second, it proves that too many people were beginning to forget about the previous workshop on “Trafficking in Human Beings: Modern Slavery” sponsored by the two Pontifical Academies back in November of 2013, in conjunction with the International Federation of Associations of Catholic Doctors. This forgetfulness most likely accounts for six of the eight goals listed in the climate workshop’s closing statement.

Apparently, the publicity generated in 2013 was not enough. Apparently, there was a felt need for even more moving and shaking. What we have just witnessed, then, is the quest for clout.

Of course, I have no objection to any of these purposes and goals. It’s always the simple life for me! But were you there when the participants ratified their own righteousness and took over responsibility for all mankind from God?

Sometimes, it causes me to tremble.

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and See full bio.

Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a current donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 2 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: skall391825 - May. 05, 2015 3:04 AM ET USA

    Now THAT's funny!

  • Posted by: ForOthers8614 - May. 01, 2015 1:07 AM ET USA

    I imbibe intellectual irony!