Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber: a Rap Sheet

It is no secret that the German Professor, Hans Joachim “John” Schellnhuber, was one of the three speakers on the occasion of the official presentation of the Pope Francis’ Encyclical, Laudato Si, this past June 18. Numerous Catholic commentators were taken aback by this selection of one of the main advocates of the trans-national Global Warming Agenda for the task. That agenda, we recall, maintains that certain fundamental social, cultural, and economical changes will have to take place in order to save the planet from the grave dangers posed by, caused by, man-made global warming.

What follows is something of a “rap sheet” on Professor Schellnhuber:

Professor Schellnhuber is a full member of the Club of Rome, an organization that held its foundational event in 1968 in Rome, where it commenced its international campaign to reduce the world’s population. The organization claimed that the world’s carrying capacity was then already at its limit. The book-length report, Limits of Growth, which was written for the Club of Rome in 1972, had serious defects and effects, but it has still been one of the starting points for the world-wide attempt to reduce the population by aggressive methods of promoting birth-control and the killing of the pre-born children.

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Professor Schellnhuber is the founder and Director of the government-funded Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, and he has been a prominent counselor to the European Union and to Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel. He is Co-Chairman of the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) and a leading figure world-wide concerning the climate-change disputes.

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In a May 2014 interview with the musician Pierre Baigorry, Schellnhuber claimed that sometimes politicians have to take to task the citizens and to help them “with coercion” to overcome their own resistance to change. In that same interview, he was even hoping that President Obama — since he does not need to look to another presidential re-election — would take the necessary step to do just that. “We need a kind of ‘Climate Gandhi,’” Schellnhuber claimed.

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Often in the past, Schellnhuber has been criticized for his oligarchical and arrogant behavior and attitude toward the theory and practice of democracy. He is famous for the following quote, from 19 June 2012, as it was given in an interview to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: “The role of climate science remains to slam the problem-facts on the table and to identify options for appropriate solutions. The role of politics is then to mobilize the will of the citizens with the aim of implementing decisions that are based on science.” With these words, Schellnhuber, who has been criticized in Germany for too facilely leaving the limits of his professional field as a scientist so as to influence politics, now even depicts the scientific elite to be the essential elite to tell politicians what they have to tell their citizens to do.

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Schellnhuber is known for his dark humor and for his ridicule of his opponents and critics. In an interview with the German internet portal Zeit online on 11 October 2007, he describes how he first tried to argue with his opponents. “I have made a tiring process of learning. […] After a while [of these tiring exchanges about the scientific matter], I realized in each single case that the man — it was never a woman — was driven by a nearly religious zeal. At the end of the debate, we were turning in circles, and I did not get through with the cool scientific rationality. That is similar to people who do not accept Darwin’s evolution theory: ‘This theory cannot and may not be true!’ Such people you cannot at all convince with the help of the insights of biology.”

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Schellnhuber predictively presents, with the help of computer simulations — which he claims are very reliable and realistic — a global catastrophe in the near future. He said, in 2013, in a paper called “Expanding the Democracy Universe”: “The global pursuit of economic growth and individual wealth in an environment with limited resources and capacities will soon hit the ‘planetary boundaries’ and may tear this cultivated world and its breathing inhabitants apart by making their living space uninhabitable and their existence unsustainable. […] Expressed in simple numbers, the thermal difference between 2°C and 4°C might translate into the cultural difference between a stable and a failing global society, between a fair and peaceful planet and a world destabilized by climate-injustice [sic] and the thence-triggered aggressions.” 1

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In the face of such impending doom, Schellnhuber proposes the need for indispensable forms of World Governance — or in his own suspicious words, a “global democratic society” — to be organized within the framework of the current United Nations. Schellnhuber says in that same above-quoted 2013 paper:

Global democracy might be organized around three core activities, namely (i) an Earth Constitution; (ii) a Global Council; and (iii) a Planetary Court. I cannot discuss these institutions in any detail here, but I would like to indicate at least that:

  • the Earth Constitution would transcend the UN Charter and identify those first principles guiding humanity in its quest for freedom, dignity, security and sustainability;
  • the Global Council would be an assembly of individuals elected directly by all people on Earth, where eligibility should be not constrained by geographical, religious, or cultural quotas; and
  • the Planetary Court would be a transnational legal body open to appeals from everybody, especially with respect to violations of the Earth Constitution.

In order to dovetail the die-hard system [sic] of national governance with the global institutions, a certain percentage of national parliamentary seats should be earmarked for “Global Ombudspeople.” Their prime mandate would be to ensure that the first humanitarian principles, as sketched above, are observed, not least in the interest of future generations. This is no less and no more than a vision to extend democracy across space and time. Unprecedented challenges like anthropogenic climate change remind us that such dreams need to come true — soon.

There are therefore serious objections and claims that an elite of scientists who work closely with governmental elites world-wide are putting up an artificially created, grave scenario in order to create fear among the populations and in order to incite them to accept the further diminution or loss of their national sovereignty, and in order to accept a more autocratic form of One-World Government. Accordingly, Schellnhuber helped to organize a conference in 2009 in Essen, Germany, with the title “The Great Transformation — Climate Change as Cultural Change.” Part of the discussion was that people’s attitudes will have to be changed, and that democracy might be an obstacle in overcoming the climate crisis. Participants were, among others, advisor to President Obama John Podesta, Professor Klaus Töpfer (another member of the Club of Rome), as well as Anthony Giddens, who said on 10 March 2009 in The Guardian: “Every crisis, Sigmund Freud said, is potentially a stimulus to the positive side of the personality and an opportunity to start afresh. Today we are facing two global crises in tandem — the economic recession and climate change.”

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The German Government Advisory Board WBGU — of which Schellnhuber is co-chairman, published a 2011 report which has raised harsh criticism in Germany. The report is called: World in Transition — A Social Contract for Sustainability. The German journal FOCUS published in June 2011 an interview with the well-known historian and specialist in totalitarian movements, Professor Wolfgang Wippermann in which he sharply examines and refutes this document. He says: “They even speak [in this document] of the ‘international alliance of pioneers of change.’ And that reminds me of the Fascist or Communist International [the Comintern]. Whether they aim at that, I do not know. But, the language is already terrible and that gives me fear. Whoever speaks like this, acts accordingly. This is a negative utopia, a dystopia. And whenever you have utopians getting to work, it gets dangerous.” Wippermann also claimed: “We deal here with scientific fanatics who want to implement their ideas.” He specifically criticized a German government who would even dare to support such projects, saying: “And proposals by scientists should comply with the political order which we have. In brief: One cannot simply say that one wants to have another democracy, another state, and another order of values, […] However, what these authors propose is a climate dictatorship, the climate state. And this on a large scale, as well. For example, they want to get rid of the nation state.”

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We close with a quote from Schellnhuber from his own study, published in the year 1998, and entitled “Geocybernetics: Controlling a Complex Dynamical System Under Uncertainty”; and which confirms Wippermann’s grave reservations and critical observations: “While the borders of nation states have become almost irrelevant to global economic players (for instance) after the end of the Cold War, human and natural rights are still confined and dominated by thousands of frontiers. This situation can only be overcome by giving up a good deal of national sovereignty and establishing a true regime of global governance. As a prerequisite, the rather symbolic parts and pieces of the UN system must be transformed into powerful supra-national institutions: allons corriger le futur!”

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It is perhaps a rhetorical question, but we ask it anyway: What does this man have to do with the magisterial teaching of the Catholic Church?

C.J. Doyle, the Executive Director of the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts, made the following wise comment on 5 June 2015 in response to a request for comment from the Boston Catholic newspaper, The Pilot, concerning the (then upcoming) encyclical on the environment:

There is a danger, however, in any cooperation with an ecological movement that is militantly secularist, profoundly anti-life, and intrinsically committed to population control. There is also the risk that some in the Church will exploit the encyclical to revive the “seamless garment” argument, in order to diminish the centrality of the struggles to defend the sanctity of innocent human life, and preserve the integrity of traditional marriage and the natural family — the two greatest challenges in the moral order confronting what remains of Christian civilization today.


  1. The Climate Change Agenda had its reputation damaged when, in 2009, shortly before the Copenhagen Summit on climate change, e-mails from researchers and scientists of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia in England, were hacked and published on the internet. The electronic messages showed that data were manipulated in order to prove the contested claim that the climate change is indeed man-made. This scandal is now colloquially known as “Climategate.” Of particular interest in this context is that Professor Schellnhuber served as research director the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research from 2001 to 2005.
  • Charles

    “Schellnuhber is known for his dark humor and for his ridicule for his opponents and critics. ”
    Having read articles here by Brother Andre Marie, couldn’t one say the same of him?

  • Martin

    Everything Schellnhuber wants, the supranational Earth Constitution etc etc,
    All of that exists by God and Our Lord Jesus Christ through His Holy Catholic Church.

    Christ was given complete Authority over Heaven and Earth (lets even infer the Universe — would that be big enough for Schellnhuber?).

    No need to do Schellnhuber looney ideas,
    rather Schellnhuber needs to do true repentance, conversion and Salvation through the Holy Catholic Church.

  • Alyosha Karamazov

    Well said, Martin. The Catholic Church is supernatural and supranational. All hell is breaking loose because people are turning their backs more and more on Christ the King and His Church.

  • Ouch!

  • joannemary

    Schellnhuber’s proposal of forced compliance to the doctrine of climate change is nothing more than fascism. His anti-democracy is his tell. Isn’t it odd that hitlerism is raising its ugly head again and in Germany no less? That Pope Francis fell for Schellnhuber and didn’t understand Schellnhuber’s doctrine to be the antithesis of the Church’s doctrine of Life is extremely troubling. So was the Pope duped or coconspirator? And, yet, St. Peter’s Basilica is transformed into the temple of climate change on 12/8/2015, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, no less.