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Making heavy weather of Bishop Dow’s remarks

16 August 2007


From the Revd John Smith
Sir, — I recognise the misreporting of Bishop Graham Dow’s views (Letters, 20 and 27 July), but feel it is important that bishops comment on climate change and its effects.

I understand that an article in Nature connected the recent floods with climate change. Certainly, scientists prophetically forecast the changes in weather patterns now occurring as due to “anthropogenic forcing” — that is, caused by human action.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fourth Assessment Report states that there is a “very high confidence that the effect of human activities is one of global warming”. The Stern Review states that BAU (business as usual) is no longer an option. These, with other reports and views such as those of the Tyndall Centre, scientists with the eminence of E. O. Wilson and J. E. Hansen, are arguing that our lifestyles must change.

Peer-reviewed scientists are the Jeremiahs and Isaiahs of our age. Given that the “book of creation” is also God’s word, we must take notice; and it is important that, carefully and wisely, bishops should comment on these complex and vital issues. The press, always on the lookout for a ridiculing story, should report those comments as accurately as possible.

Bishop Dow has always sought to be well informed on these difficult subjects. He is fortunate, in that we have here in Cumbria high-calibre advisers, who are steering diocesan policy.

It behoves us all to be careful how we make statements and critiques at times of inevitable change. That does not mean that we should not make them.

Chairman Churches Together in Cumbria Environment Group
The Jays, 3 White House
Walton, Brampton
Cumbria CA8 2DJ

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