Tuesday, December 11, 2007


This story from England's Daily Mail was carefully designed to warm a wingnut's heart:

The Pope condemns the climate change prophets

Pope Benedict XVI has launched a surprise attack on climate change prophets of doom, warning them that any solutions to global warming must be based on firm evidence and not on dubious ideology.

The leader of more than a billion Roman Catholics suggested that fears over man-made emissions melting the ice caps and causing a wave of unprecedented disasters were nothing more than scare-mongering.

The German-born Pontiff said that while some concerns may be valid it was vital that the international community based its policies on science rather than the dogma of the environmentalist movement....

And indeed, here in the U.S. there was a round of huzzahs at Free Republic:

Catholics help me out here....is it blasphemous to say the Pope kicks ass?


Not when he does!


... I’m going to go with Yes, it is permissable to recognize and celebrate a Papal butt walloping.

Oddly, though, England's Independent was reporting this about the Pope a couple of months ago:

The Pope is expected to use his first address to the United Nations to deliver a powerful warning over climate change in a move to adopt protection of the environment as a "moral" cause for the Catholic Church and its billion-strong following....

It will act as the centrepiece of a US visit scheduled for next April ... and round off an environmental blitz at the Vatican, in which the Pope has personally led moves to emphasise green issues based on the belief that climate change is affecting the poorest people on the planet, and the principle that believers have a duty to "protect creation"....

So what happened? Did the Pope recently swing to the right?

If so, you'd never know it from the actual text of his message, in the English translation provided by the Vatican:

The problems looming on the horizon are complex and time is short. In order to face this situation effectively, there is a need to act in harmony. One area where there is a particular need to intensify dialogue between nations is that of the stewardship of the earth's energy resources. The technologically advanced countries are facing two pressing needs in this regard: on the one hand, to reassess the high levels of consumption due to the present model of development, and on the other hand to invest sufficient resources in the search for alternative sources of energy and for greater energy efficiency.

A call for alternative energy and greater efficiency? If that's how the Pope bashes environmentalists, he's being awfully subtle.

But does he mention "dogma" and "prophets of doom"? Well, here's the exact quote:

It is important for assessments in this regard to be carried out prudently, in dialogue with experts and people of wisdom, uninhibited by ideological pressure to draw hasty conclusions, and above all with the aim of reaching agreement on a model of sustainable development capable of ensuring the well-being of all while respecting environmental balances.

It seems to me that his actual words have about the same relationship to the Daily Mail's paraphrase that weak instant coffee has to injected methamphetamine, but hey, that's just one guy's opinion.

Oh, and I keep looking for the part where he talks about melting ice caps, and it just isn't there.

A Reuters story on this papal message bears the headline "Pope Urges Prudence in Environmental Decisions." That's accurate. AFP's story is called "Environmental Policies Must Respect Needs of the Poor: Pope." That's accurate as well -- he does say that. But the Daily Mail has a vested interest in making you think that the Pope is an environmental skeptic. So it lied about his message.

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