No doubt inspired by the loftiest motives, Pope Francis appears poised to emblazon a document of blithering climate-change nonsense with the authority and endorsement of the Vatican seal. If only he had taken a moment to remind himself of those warnings about false prophets
It’s more than a bit ironic that in the same week we celebrate the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, the document that took away arbitrary rule by a king, the pope should be announcing an arbitrary ruling on climate change. Worse, it seems the only voices Rome has heeded are those of climate alarmists, led by Hans Joachim (John) Schellnhuber, Alarmist-in-Chief of the notoriously alarmist Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).
You might think Pope Francis would have more sense than to dabble in matters of physical science, given memories of that contretemps with Galileo. You might also think that the Vatican would know a thing or two about spotting false prophets, not to mention having a keen ear for the bearing of false witness. Yet that wisdom seems to have been forgotten, despite some handy reminders:
…many false prophets shall rise and shall deceive many. — Matthew 24:11
...there will be false teachers among you … Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. — 2 Peter 2:3
Climate alarmists have made so many flawed predictions they seem almost over-qualified to be called false prophets. The latest IPCC report confesses that 111 of 114 climate-model runs predicted greater warming during the 15 years than the subsequent temperature data actually indicates. Indeed, there is no certainty that any warming whatsoever has occurred.
What of the millions of “climate refugees” who, by now, were confidently predicted to be on the march in quest of new, dry homes? What of the predicted sea-level rise, the one whose projected magnitude diminishes with every latest IPCC report? The dishonesty of the false prophets seems not far removed from witnesses lying in court.
Traditionally, bearing false witness involves making false statements about an individual, but the alarmists have extended that definition to include lies by omission. So very often we have seen alarmists declining to release the data on which their predictions rest. They have also misled by concealing how much they don’t know about the forces acting on climate, what assumptions underpin various claims, and how unreliable their climate models really are.
The Bible tells us that we shall know false prophets by their fruit, in other words by what they produce. And what climate alarmists have shown to date is an appalling lack of honesty and ethics.
To the credit of their authors, some chapters of IPCC assessment reports do state the situation honestly, but when it comes to the pivotal chapters it can be a very different story, with baseless claims being more the norm than the exception. The IPCC has no evidence of any substance, its so-called evidence amounts to opinions, a theory and the output of flawed climate models, none of which is worth anything when the data shows otherwise.None of that has stopped its fanciful claims about the magnitude of a supposed human influence and the headline-winning scare stories they pump out on what is very nearly a daily basis.
Popularity and credence are the characteristic goals of false prophets, and it can’t be denied that climate alarmists are popular with the more gullible and ideological sections of the media. Consider, for example, Tim Flannery’s unbroken litany of dud predictions — dams never again filling, floods and fires being symptoms of an overheated planet — and wonder why the ABC and Fairfax newspapers still showcase his nonsense as credible.
Another characteristic of the false prophet is the focus on personal advancement, and here, once again, we see alarmist ranks are replete with those who have built very nice careers out of nothing but hot air. Close behind them come the rent-seekers, building their obscenely subsidised wind farms and the like on foundations of scare stories and faux “facts”.
In choosing to insert his spiritual authority and reputation into climate matters, and in doing so by listening only to one side of the debate, Pope Francis has demonstrated a very serious error of judgment. Perhaps the reason can be found in Matthew 24:24:
…false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect…
Yes, politicians are elected and so, for that matter was Pope Francis.
Rather than lending his papal seal to the cause of charlatans, Francis would have better to take a deep breath and remind himself that honesty and integrity are the greatest virtues. He will find little evidence of those qualities among his new friends, the prelates in the Church of Climate Catastrophe.
John McLean was co-author with Chris de Freitas and Bob Carter of a paper that became the centre of controversy when submitted to the Journal of Geophysical Research. Their experience with the censors of science can be read here.