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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Pope Benedict On Climate Change: Ideology Should Not Trump Science

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Pope Benedict XVI says "humanity today is rightly concerned about the ecological balance of tomorrow." He wants scientists and experts to deal with the problems of global warming.

Britain's Daily Mail has an excerpt of the pontiff's remarks in a message to world leaders, an excerpt that the newspaper spins as showing Benedict does not believe in global warming, or dismisses it as a serious problem. Some conservatives have seized upon the Daily Mail's report to argue that the pope favors people over polar bears. Others believe Benedict's words are far more temperate. He does, however, deliber a clear warning against the use of "ideological pressure to draw hasty conclusions" and suggests pro-environmental actions be measured against the well-being of humanity. He wants things weighted -- meaning that the developed world is more responsible for damaging the climate and thus should bear the costs and sacrifices necessary to ease any crisis. He seems to be saying that ideologues should have little say in the debate over global warming.

"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. If the protection of the environment involves costs, they should be justly distributed, taking due account of the different levels of development of various countries and the need for solidarity with future generations. Prudence does not mean failing to accept responsibilities and postponing decisions; it means being committed to making joint decisions after pondering responsibility on the road to be taken."

The Vatican has been concerned about climate change and says mankind must respect the environment. The pope's remarks released for the United Nation's Bali conference on global warming appear to reinforce his view that all governments have a moral duty to cooperate on conserving the planet.

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