+ Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney
8 Feb 2010
Why do so many Australians believe in humanly induced global warming?
The drought is one major reason for the public pressure. The Murray and Darling rivers are disastrously low, as are water levels in some reservoirs.
Is such a pattern unusual in Australian history? We know that the El Nino event in the Pacific Ocean brings us droughts. La Nina brings us rain.
We can now chart the history of El Nino for 20,000 years and these records show that La Nina has been absent for a fifteen year period at least once. The drought which might be ending has lasted for nine years.
We European Australians are "Johnnies come lately", and in our brief history there has been drought somewhere on the continent for forty-eight years of the last one hundred and forty-four years. Droughts are very Australian!
Before we attempt to use computer models to predict the future weather, we should consult the records to discover whether what is happening is inside or outside patterns across the ages. I found facts which surprised me.
The global warmers claim that human activity, especially industry is increasing the amount of carbon dioxide and causing global warming.
My surprise was to find that carbon dioxide is only a trace gas occupying less than 4 parts in 10,000 of the atmosphere.
This tiny percentage must pack a mighty punch. Certainly it drives the whole food chain, is plant food and does not form polluting smog or acid rain.
It was also surprising to learn that temperatures were higher in Roman times and in the Middle Ages (900-1300 AD) when there was no industry and fewer people than there are today; that for most of history the amount of carbon dioxide has been higher than today and that an increase of carbon dioxide follows temperatures rises and does not cause them.
European society flourished during the Medieval Warming and warming does not bring less rain. Mild warming is good, but Ice Ages are catastrophic.
Debate rages over whether the Arctic is warming and the bears are sunburnt. Most of the Antarctic is colder. Certainly the base there visited by the Catholic chaplains, originally at the water's edge, is now twenty-one kilometres from the sea because of increasing pack ice.
Britain, China and Russia have just experienced their most bitter winter for decades. And so it goes on.
For how long must global cooling continue before it becomes a problem for global warmers? When does the exception become the rule?
What evidence would they accept as invalidating their case?