Thabo Makgoba—“Climate Change issue is Moral Imperative for All”

Posted by Kendall Harmon

(ACNS) The Archbishop, who is a participant at the World Economic Forum in Africa, has written to his faithful that the issue of climatic change must be regarded as a moral imperative for all and hopes that others at WEF will take heed of his call. His full statement follows:

In one sense, I imagine I might be ‘preaching to the choir’ about climate change, as we sometimes say in the church. But even if we agree on its reality and the dangers which it poses for our planet and our people, we need to make our witness bolder and take more courageous steps to bring others to our state of awareness and to work for real change.

We in the faith communities know that climate change will be hugely damaging to both people and our planet. We know too that it is not only an environmental, economic and social issue but essentially a moral issue. It must therefore be solved through moral principles....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Southern Africa* Economics, PoliticsEnergy, Natural Resources* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

20 Comments
Posted May 8, 2011 at 4:39 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. libraryjim wrote:

Figures, the Church is the last to get on a bandwagon, and the last to jump off when they realize they are not supporting a valid issue, and the whole theory (human caused Global Warming) has been proven false.

Jim E.

May 8, 7:08 pm | [comment link]
2. aldenjr wrote:

Hmmm Jim:
“and the whole theory (human caused Global Warming) has been proven false”
Let’s see.  The carbon concentrations in the atmosphere are now at 390 PPMV, when they were at 265 PPMV prior to the industrial revolution (this is not disputed by anyone in science).  The majority of that concentration change was not caused naturally, but by the burning of fossil fuels (this is also easily ascertained by comparing the emission rates for various fossil fuels and summing up for all fossil fuels combusted since the beginning of the industrial revolution).  We also know that the science of carbon dioxide concentrations that warm the earth is not disputed, but accepted science going back to its discovery in the early to mid 1800’s. 
You don’t have to be a scientist to recognize that increasing carbon concentrations lead to a warmer planet and that carbon concentrations continue to be accelerating higher due to the increase burning of fossil fuels - a man-caused activity - ergo Humans are causing global warming.

But you don’t have to take these two statements on faith.  Our warming planet is providing all the clues.  Melting permafrost and ice caps, rising sea levels. increased acidity in the seas (caused by absorption of greater quantities of CO2) reducing phytoplankton in the oceans by significant amounts.  None of these occurences are disputed.

May 8, 10:34 pm | [comment link]
3. Larry Morse wrote:

#2, The evidence is very clear, both theoretically and practically, and yet even sensible people, and Libraryjim is obviously one of them, fail to pah attention to any of it.  I absolutely do not understand the resistance. You would think that the massive melting in the Artic would be convincing, and yet it is not. This is not a case of dumb people in over their heads with difficult concepts.  Larry

May 8, 10:45 pm | [comment link]
4. CRUX SANCTI PATRIS BENEDICTI wrote:

#3. Larry Morse wrote “I absolutely do not understand the resistance. You would think that the massive melting in the Artic would be convincing”

Local melting is perfectly compatible with a net energy loss.
Please see http://pennance.us/?page_id=201 (Debate with a Warmist)  for some reasons why I am not convinced.

May 8, 11:36 pm | [comment link]
5. MichaelA wrote:

“When I attended the Lambeth Conference 2008 - a meeting of Anglican bishops around the world which is held every 10 years – and again at the meeting of Anglican Primates in Dublin earlier this year (2011) - we were told by some bishops that when we met again, parts of their dioceses would no longer be habitable. This is due mainly in their situations to rising water levels. Indeed we may be looking very soon at a new category of refugees in our global family – environmental refugees!”

++Makgoba is not doing his credibility any favours. The idea that sea levels are going to rise to any appreciable degree in the foreseeable future is one of the foolish positions that has brought ridicule on global warming activists.

Its in a similar category to the canard foolishly taken up by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (no less) that the Himalayan glaciers were going to melt away by 2035! All from a silly article in New Scientist.

I hope that ++Makgoba does better with the spiritual issues…

May 9, 1:00 am | [comment link]
6. Caedmon wrote:

Zzzzz.

May 9, 1:14 am | [comment link]
7. David Keller wrote:

#2/3—And, of course, we all know there was never any climate change before the Industrial Revolution.

May 9, 9:06 am | [comment link]
8. Capt. Father Warren wrote:

And we all know that the dinosaurs died because they didn’t reserve seats on Noah’s Ark…......

Man-caused climate change makes a person feel Soooooooo important in the universe….....

May 9, 12:24 pm | [comment link]
9. JustOneVoice wrote:

From the Telegraph:
Rise of sea levels is ‘the greatest lie ever told’

But if there is one scientist who knows more about sea levels than anyone else in the world it is the Swedish geologist and physicist Nils-Axel Mörner, formerly chairman of the INQUA International Commission on Sea Level Change. And the uncompromising verdict of Dr Mörner, who for 35 years has been using every known scientific method to study sea levels all over the globe, is that all this talk about the sea rising is nothing but a colossal scare story.

May 9, 3:12 pm | [comment link]
10. Larry Morse wrote:

Well lets see about the lies. Are the glaciers melting? Yes. The evidence is obvious and unqualified and everywhere. Can we look at a picture and see ti with out own eyes, esp. if we look at pictures taken fifty years ago of the same ice? Yes. Ia the melting radical? Did waterlevels rise at the end of the last ice age? Yes and yes.  How much water is locked up in glaciers and arctic ice? I forget the numbers but it is a lot of water. Lots and lots and lots. Where does the water go when it melts? To New Jersey? Actually, it doesn’t. It goes into the ocean. What happens to the ocean level when you pour millions and millions and millions of gallons of water into the ocean? What happens to your tub when you turn on the faucet? Is there a parallel here?  Is this rocket science? 
  But why are they melting? Because the sea temperatures and air temperatures are rising. Why are they rising? I wonder.
    On the Chimeras of Rationcination
  Son: Dad I bet i can prove to you that those two eggs are in fact four.
    ()He does so.)
Father: That’s good. (He eats the two eggs). So you can have the other two.  Larry

May 9, 3:50 pm | [comment link]
11. David Keller wrote:

Larry—If the rise in temps is due solely to the Industrial Revolution, how did we have (huge) temputure fluxuations before there were even humans on the earth?  No one denies the tempurture has risen, slightly, but the answer is not necessarily cut and dried.  For instance, a statistically unmeasurable change in the Sun’s rate of fusion is just as pluasable an answer. And here’s a question NO ONE has ever been able to answer me sitisfactorily.  If ice in the ocean is melting, why is are the seas rising?  Go home tonight and fill a glass 1/2 full with water and cram ice into it until it is overflowing.  In the morning, after the ice melts, you will have LESS volume in the glass, not more.  Maybe this 3d grade experiment only applies in my kitchen? Go figure.

May 9, 4:20 pm | [comment link]
12. Tomb01 wrote:

#10 Larry:  Were you aware of the fact that there were villages under some of those glaciers that have retreated in Europe?  Did you know that when the vikings colonized Greenland they could bury their dead in the soft (ie not frozen) earth?    We all know (even us skeptics) that the earth’s climate changes and that it has warmed.  It has also cooled.  Your argument for CO2 caused ‘climate change’ is NOT proven.  Yes it is likely that increased CO2 has some affect on temperature ranges, but there is a study that shows correlation has increased CO2 trailing/following temperature increased not preceding.  OK, Larry, if CO2 is causing our warming what caused the cooling that ended in the 1800’s to stop?  Are we to assume that CO2 has completely overwhelmed the global climate change that has ALWAYS occurred?  If so, then why has there been no statistically significant warming in the past 10 years?

May 9, 6:29 pm | [comment link]
13. libraryjim wrote:

#12, some studies suggest that the rising temperatures caused the rise in CO2, not the other way around. grin
But even scientists who were at one time on the “Human Caused” GW bandwagon are now calling the findings into question. (see this article from the UK Times, for example.)

But one of the hallmarks of the GW Alarmists is just that: alarmist speech, with ridiculous assertions:

Within a few years “children just aren’t going to know what snow is.” Snowfall will be “a very rare and exciting event.” Dr. David Viner, senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, interviewed by the UK Independent, March 20, 2000.

“[By] 1995, the greenhouse effect would be desolating the heartlands of North America and Eurasia with horrific drought, causing crop failures and food riots…[By 1996] The Platte River of Nebraska would be dry, while a continent-wide black blizzard of prairie topsoil will stop traffic on interstates, strip paint from houses and shut down computers.” Michael Oppenheimer, published in “Dead Heat,” St. Martin’s Press, 1990.

“Arctic specialist Bernt Balchen says a general warming trend over the North Pole is melting the polar ice cap and may produce an ice-free Arctic Ocean by the year 2000.” Christian Science Monitor, June 8, 1972.

“In ten years all important animal life in the sea will be extinct. Large areas of coastline will have to be evacuated because of the stench of dead fish.” Ehrlich, speech during Earth Day, 1970

Of course scientists also predicted the OPPOSITE as well:
“If present trends continue, the world will be ... eleven degrees colder by the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us in an ice age.” Kenneth E.F. Watt, in “Earth Day,” 1970.

Why the alarmist speech?
“We have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we may have. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.”  Stephen Schneider (in interview for Discover magazine, Oct 1989)

Nope the evidence is just not there to show that Global Warming/Climate Change is anything OTHER than a natural cyclical event.

May 9, 7:29 pm | [comment link]
14. Larry Morse wrote:

“Natural cyclical event?” What does this mean? “Natural” is one of those cant words, Jim, we hear too much of. What does it mean? You mean there are effects without causes? Just…. what cycle are you referring too, caused by what?  Jim when was the last time that the arctic ice pack melted enough to allow a northwest passage? Not in recorded history.
  Listening to to the arguments above remind me of the arguments concerning the falsity of evolution. You are demanding certainty as a standard of proof,  when what is at stake is probabilities.  Larry

May 9, 9:53 pm | [comment link]
15. MichaelA wrote:

No Larry its not “probabilities”, its “virtually unprovens”.

Bear in mind the nature of the problem here - if ++Makgoba had just said “I believe that sea-levels will rise some day because of human-induced climate change”, he wouldn’t have gone so far out on a limb. But he repeats the lurid urban myths that were circulated at Lambeth 2008, that Pacific islands will be underwater by the time of the next conference, i.e. in *ten years*. We are one third of the way there already, and there is no credible reason to think that the sea will rise by more than a few millimetres during that time.

The same goes for the claim that the Himalayan glaciers would be gone by 2035 - this never had any justification. It was some misreporting in an article in a popular science magazine, that for some reason was picked up and repeated all the way to the top of a supposedly august body because, incredibly, no-one ever thought to ask where the story originated from.

Another issue brought up by members above is whether climate change is human-induced or occurs naturally. Very few people doubt that climate change happens, but many people doubt that human activity has any significant effect. With good reason. The points made above about Viking settlement in Greenland are right on point: it will take many many years of the current rate of climate change before the ice sheet retreats back from all of the medieval Norse farmsteads which it covers. That in itself implies that the earth has been much warmer than it is now, back in the 12-14th centuries. Whatever the explanation may be, it seems most unlikely that the Industrial Revolution played any part in it.

May 9, 11:01 pm | [comment link]
16. Capt. Father Warren wrote:

And don’t forget the words of that worldly prophet: “never let a good crisis go to waste [even if you have to create it], you can get a lot done with a crisis”

May 10, 8:01 am | [comment link]
17. David Keller wrote:

Well, another post goes by the way and still no “environmentalist” has yet to explain to me how melting ice in the ocean raises the sea level.

May 10, 8:53 am | [comment link]
18. Larry Morse wrote:

For the fear mongering and the hyperbole, I have no use because their excess disqualifies the evidence. Mind you I am well aware of the sudden cold that changed Iceland, but that there was no Industrial Revolution to spark that cold, is not evidence that the IR has not sparked the climate change now. And I repeat what I said before: When in recorded history has there been a northwest passage? That this will be possible in a few years because of the melt should signify something to the rational mind. Moreover, the ice sheets in Antarctica are melting at an increasing rate. And this means?

National Geographic (I forget when) remarked that the water level was rising in Venice. And why should it not? 

Is the greenhouse effect nonsense? Let me suggest you visit a city blanketed by smog and you will know that it is a painful truth. Does the IR ever show radical climate changes.Well, not too long ago, aid rain killed off entire forests in Vermont and sterilized lakes all the way into Maine. The evidence here is incontrovertible. I have seen the lakes. The the drift patterns changed because (as I recall) stack heights changed. (Is my memory right on this?)

Now, I am aware that this argument is unproductive because those on each side select the evidence they want, and this stance is governed, not by evidence, but by beliefs. But my question to you isl: What evidence is sufficient to you to change your mind or do you plan to go down crying that the Titanic is unsinkable?  Larry

May 10, 8:59 am | [comment link]
19. Tomb01 wrote:

yes, Larry, Venice has been sinking for decades.  Sinking, not the ocean rising.  They built up heavily on small islands and they are gradually ‘sinking’.  And yes there have been problems with true pollution, most of which have been resolved by the EPA.  So the fact that Greenland (not Iceland) was once warmer and had less ice on it than it does today means nothing?  What, if you can tell us, caused THAT warming?  You know, the warm period that the infamous ‘hockey stick’ graph eliminated? 

And if you actually researched the global temperature numbers you would find a volume of research about ‘Urban Heat Island’ which documents that cities get warmer than corresponding areas of rural land, so you are absolutely right that cities get hot and say hot, mostly because cities are gigantic heat sinks where the concrete and asphalt warms in the sun, and most of the cars are ‘burning’ gasoline and creating heat.  By the way, guess where most of the weather stations are located that the ‘warmists’ are using to prove global warming are located?  Yep, a very large number of them are in those cities, and NO the computer models do not take into account that fact…   

From the ice perspective, we’ve been warming since the end of the little ice age in the mid 1800’s.  And still Greenland is not as warm as it was in the Medieval warm period.  So I’m not terribly concerned with the Arctic ice receding.  If you look at ‘Global’ ice, you will see that the Antarctic is experiencing record amounts, though the main stream media seems oblivious of that fact. 

If you look at the record of ‘record temperatures’ you’d see that the 1930’s were the warmest period on record, and we are NOT experiencing any major records of high temperatures (despite many of the thermometers being imbedded in cities and airports).  The actual data does not support ‘crisis’ warming, it is well withing the bounds of normal climate diversity.  Only the computer models, based on the (I believe) flawed surface temperature numbers, using accelerated feedback ‘guesses’ (no proof this actually exists) show dramatic warming, and the best cases for lack of warming from the models are actually higher than our current temperature readings.  Those same computer models do not actually allow for the largest greenhouse effect, clouds, as they actually have NO IDEA how to model that. 

So, Larry, what are you going to believe, the computer models or actual observations?  And I’d strongly encourage you to actually go take a look at the surface temperature data.  A couple of good sites for both sides of the argument are:
Anthony Watt’s site for the skeptical viewpoint:
http://wattsupwiththat.com/

and realclimate for the warmists side:
http://www.realclimate.org/

Watt’s does a pretty good job of keeping people Civil, but I have seen numerous reports of the folks at realclimate simply moderating out of existence opposing voices.  Sad.

May 10, 10:30 am | [comment link]
20. MichaelA wrote:

“Mind you I am well aware of the sudden cold that changed Iceland, but that there was no Industrial Revolution to spark that cold, is not evidence that the IR has not sparked the climate change now.”

I referred to Greenland, but you are correct that there is plenty of other historical evidence indicating significant climate change over the whole of Europe in the 10th century (warming) and from about the 15th century (cooling). I don’t doubt that you have been well aware of it at all relevant times, but it is equally clear that many “climate change experts” have been entirely unaware of it for many years.

I don’t agree with your conclusion. There is no absolute proof of anything in this area, it all works on indicative evidence. And the fact that radical climate change could occur throughout the historical period without the Industrial Revolution makes it more likely that the Industrial Revolution was not a significant cause this time around.

“And I repeat what I said before: When in recorded history has there been a northwest passage?”

Given the “little ice age” that set in from about the 15th century, its no surprise that neither Drake nor Franklin could find one. But did it exist during the last warm phase in the 12th century? We just don’t know, because the records of those who ventured into that area (mainly from Greenland) are sparse and unclear. We also don’t know that a northwest passage didn’t exist during earlier warm phases, because the people who lived in that area didn’t leave durable written records, and inhabitants of Europe generally didn’t go that far west. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

“That this will be possible in a few years because of the melt should signify something to the rational mind.”

Yes, it signifies that the ice is melting, as it has done before. It doesn’t signify anything about the cause, per se.

“Does the IR ever show radical climate changes.Well, not too long ago, aid rain killed off entire forests in Vermont and sterilized lakes all the way into Maine.”

I am happy to assume this is correct for the sake of the discussion. Note the problem for your own methodology of using this argument - if the fact that the Industrial Revolution caused climate change in one particular area can be used as evidence that the Industrial Revolution might have caused far-reaching climate change, then isn’t it equally valid to point to the fact that climate change was caused by non-IR factors in the Middle Ages?

“Now, I am aware that this argument is unproductive because those on each side select the evidence they want, and this stance is governed, not by evidence, but by beliefs.”

I think if certain people are going to claim that human-induced climate change is “verified scientific fact” (as some put it, I am not saying you do), then they have to be open to consider all the evidence. I am not saying they have to have ironclad proof, but they have to at least consider it. Unfortunately, the HICC lobby too often give the impression that they don’t want to consider any evidence that appears somewhat inconsistent with their predetermined conclusions.

May 13, 11:02 pm | [comment link]
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