Pope Delivers Powerful Message on Climate Change in Encyclical ‘Laudato Si’

laudato siIn his much-awaited encyclical on the environment, Pope Francis said that global warming could cause “unprecedented” environmental destruction, is mainly caused by human activity and presents an “urgent” need to lower carbon emissions through reduced use of fossil fuels.

The pontiff also denounced in bold and uncompromising terms what he described as the sinful plundering of the earth by powerful political and economic interests at the expense of the poor and future generations.

The Vatican published the document, entitled “Laudato Si” (“Be praised”), on Thursday. The official release came three days after the online publication of a leaked version by an Italian magazine.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, had described the leaked Italian text as a draft, but the final document, published in eight languages, differed only in minor ways from the earlier version, while the pope’s main points were identical.

Pope Francis writes that a “very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climactic system,” contributing to a “constant rise in the sea level” and an “increase of extreme weather events.”

“Humanity is called to recognize the need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption, in order to combat this warming or at least the human causes which produce or aggravate it,” he writes.

While acknowledging natural causes for climate change, including volcanic activity and the solar cycle, Pope Francis writes that a “number of scientific studies indicate that most global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen oxides and others) released mainly as a result of human activity.”

As a result, the pope argues, “there is an urgent need to develop policies so that, in the next few years, the emission of carbon dioxide and other highly polluting gases can be drastically reduced, for example, substituting for fossil fuels and developing sources of renewable energy.”

The encyclical’s treatment of climate change had been of enormous interest in the run-up to publication, especially after Pope Francis said that he hoped the document would “make a contribution” to an international summit on the subject scheduled to take place in Paris at the end of this year.

Several oil companies offered their input to the Vatican office tasked with drafting the document.

In the encyclical, Pope Francis addresses other environmental problems, too, including the “water poverty” of Africa and other poor regions where clean drinking water is scarce, and threats to biodiversity.

“Each year sees the disappearance of thousands of plant and animal species which we will never know, which our children will never see, because they have been lost forever,” the pope writes. “Because of us, thousands of species will no longer give glory to God by their very existence, nor convey their message to us. We have no such right.”

The 183-page document, which Pope Francis addresses not only to Catholics but to “every person living on this planet,” includes extensive sections on the theology of creation as well as pointed critiques of globalization and consumerism, which he says lead to environmental degradation. The pope’s signature theme of economic justice runs through the entire encyclical, along with his well-known skepticism about capitalism.

“The failure of global summits on the environment makes it plain that our politics are subject to technology and finance. There are too many special interests, and economic interests easily end up trumping the common good and manipulating information so that their own plans will not be affected,” he writes.

The Argentina-born pontiff, the first in history to hail from the southern hemisphere, writes of the “ecological debt” that the global North owes the South, since “developing countries, where the most important reserves of the biosphere are found, continue to fuel the development of richer countries at the cost of their own present and future.”

The document alternates between passages of almost apocalyptic moralizing and more technical language, including practical proposals for alleviating environmental problems.

Pope Francis opens the encyclical with a lament for man’s sins against “Mother Earth”: “We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life.”

In the last chapter, the pope writes about a need to promote more environmentally conscious lifestyles, featuring such practices as reduced use of plastic, paper and water; separating trash; carpooling and turning off unnecessary lights.

“We must not think that these efforts are not going to change the world,” he writes.

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The tragedy of California’s bureaucrat-made drought

Drought Now rolling into its fourth year like a lazy tumbleweed, California’s drought has reached such terrifying proportions that federal disaster monitors now consider 95 percent — fully 55 of the state’s 58 counties — in a state of emergency. And if a band of restless local regulators get their way, it’ll be only a matter of time until the entire state suffers this bone-dry fate.

Before you tune out, understand this isn’t simply a California problem — it’s a national one.

The state produces roughly half of all the nuts, fruits and vegetables consumed by the rest of the country. According to the number crunchers, these are the farms from where America grows 99 percent of its walnuts, 97 percent of its plums, 95 percent of its garlic, 89 percent of its cauliflower, 71 percent of its spinach and nearly 90 percent of leaf lettuce.

Now you’re getting it: Water scarcity out west could translate to food scarcity in the east and everywhere in between.

Unfortunately, this water crisis isn’t purely the consequence of bad luck — or the heavens snubbing California of the rains. Bureaucrats have managed to worsen the situation.

Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett Packard chief executive now running for president, said earlier this year that California “is a classic case of liberals being willing to sacrifice other people’s lives and livelihoods at the altar of ideology. It’s a tragedy.” The worsening water crisis, the Golden Stater warned, “is a man-made disaster.”

She’s right, and that should terrify you.

Aided by compliant bureaucrats, California’s notorious environmental lobby has been agitating for stricter regulation of perchlorate, a ubiquitous compound with both natural and anthropogenic sources in the environment.

California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), an official state agency that lacks enforcement power but whose directives are considered by other agencies with the power to enforce, revised its Public Health Goal for perchlorate, lowering the state’s then-standard of six parts per billion (ppb) to a dramatically more conservative one part per billion.

Simply put: Golden State regulators have decided that the only safe amount of perchlorate is no amount, despite the peer-reviewed science. The problem is that this compound is not even remotely harmful at low levels and, because it’s naturally occurring, it’s everywhere.

Federal regulators, too, are inexplicably angling for some of this red tape action. At least there they’ve faced some road blocks, though.

Four years ago, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considered lowering the federal recommendation for perchlorate from 15 parts per billion to California’s six ppb standard. But the agency’s own inspector general concluded that tighter regulation of this sort would provide no meaningful benefit to public health and would instead come at great cost.

Undeterred, the environmental lobby is still trying to find a work-around for this inconvenient truth.

The environmental lobby hopes to regulate what amounts to a fly speck in an Olympic-sized swimming pool — levels that would have no impact on even vulnerable populations, like infants and pregnant women, according to all the available science. These folks don’t care about science, which for 60 years has shown that this compound is non-threatening in low concentrations, as it’s normally found.

No matter — these activists are willing, as Mrs. Fiorina warned, to sacrifice your life and livelihood at the altar at their ideology. That is indeed a tragedy.

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The ironies of Pope Francis’s climate-change cure

pope crowdIt is heartening and not at all surprising that Pope Francis stresses throughout his new encyclical—or at least the draft leaked earlier this week—how important it is to avoid harming the world’s poor, indeed, to facilitate their rising out of poverty instead. His recognition of the goodness of the physical creation rightly brings joy to everyone who appreciates, and wants to enhance, its beauty, fruitfulness, and safety. There are many things to applaud in this encyclical.

The encyclical’s treatment of climate change, however, is markedly different, and there are, before we even get to the substance, two textual clues to this.

First, climate change is the focus of only 2 percent of the encyclical. Second, in the rest of the encyclical Pope Francis cites an average of 1.4 sources per section. But in the four sections on climate change—the subject on which Francis’s life and office leave him most in need of them—there are none.

These two facts suggest two things:

First, regardless of the enormous public focus on it (many news headlines refer to the document as the “climate encyclical”), Pope Francis actually considers climate change at most a minor issue. Second, these sections arise not out of Pope Francis‘s own knowledge but from unsourced claims passed on by his advisors.

And that explains their weakness.

The sections on climate change are riddled with vigorously debated, if not outright false, claims. Pope Francis would have recognized this had he been familiar with the scholarly debates raging around it. The utter absence of source citations practically screams out, “Whoever wrote this doesn’t know the field—or has something to hide.”

Here are four relevant facts Pope Francis would have known had he known the field, followed by one common-sense (and scientific) inference:

1. Computer modeling, not real-world observation, is the only basis for fears of dangerous manmade global warming.

2. On average, the 110+ computer climate models on which the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other climate alarmists rely simulate more than twice as much warming from enhanced atmospheric CO2 as actually observed over the relevant period.

3. If the models’ errors were random, their simulations would be randomly distributed above and below observations. Instead, over 95% simulate more warming than observed. This entails that we don’t understand how the climate system responds to enhanced CO2 and that the errors arise at least in part from bias.

4. None of the models simulated the complete absence of statistically significant global warming over the past 16 to 26 years.

5. Any climate policy can be justified only on the grounds of rational expectations about future climate response to human activity. Models can provide those rational expectations only if they are validated by real-world observation. But in this case, the models not only are not validated but are invalidated—falsified. The models are wrong. Therefore they provide no rational basis for predictions about future global temperature, and no rational basis for any policy whatever.

All of these facts are in refereed literature, and they have the climate science community scampering to recalculate the warming effect of CO2. The new calculations point toward the lower end of the range previously offered by the IPCC (1.5Àö to 4.5Àö C). Indeed, some point well below the low end of that range, to figures like 0.3Àö to 1.0Àö.

This would all be mere esoteric academic wrangling were it not for the grave consequences of policies recommended to mitigate manmade global warming. All would have precisely the opposite effect on the world’s poor from what Pope Francis passionately wants.

He wants them to rise out of poverty.

But by reducing access to the abundant, affordable, reliable energy absolutely necessary for any society to rise out of poverty, and available now and for the foreseeable future almost entirely from fossil fuels (which provide over 85 percent of all energy used in the world), the policies would slow, stop, or reverse the rise out of absolute poverty (less than $1.25 per person per day) for the world’s 1.3 billion poorest who have no access to electricity and rely on wood and dung as primary cooking and heating fuels—smoke from which kills about 4 million yearly.

The roughly 2 billion who left absolute poverty for merely severe poverty over the last 25 years would find their progress checked or, more likely, would be driven back into absolute poverty.

As a small child, in Calcutta, India, I observed, daily, two things. First, a beautiful, red-flowering vine hanging from an enormous tree, which displayed the beauty and fertility of God’s creation. Second, scores of bodies of the poor who had died overnight of starvation and disease, which displayed to me the horrors of poverty. They make me want to see everyone enjoy the health, long life, and other benefits of at least moderate wealth.

They can, and in time they will, with a combination of two things: limited, accountable, responsive governments that enforce the rule of law to protect property rights, entrepreneurship, and widespread trade; and abundant, affordable, reliable energy.

Sad to say, despite Pope Francis‘s best intentions, the policies the encyclical recommends to mitigate global warming would reduce, not increase, both of those conditions of overcoming poverty.

Wealth enables people to afford better environmental stewardship. Pope Francis should champion economic development as solution both to poverty and to environmental degradation. Unfortunately, at least as regards climate change, the leaked draft of the new encyclical does the opposite.

E. Calvin Beisner, Ph.D., is Founder and National Spokesman of TheCornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, which in late Aprilreleased at a press conference outside the Vatican “An Open Letter toPope Francis on Climate Change,” now signed by nearly 200 scientists,economists, theologians, and others with expertise on climate changeand climate-and-energy policy.

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Alan Caruba begins new adventure after 77 years

carubaI learned of Alan Caruba’s untimely passing today after a reader sent me an email. My inbox had been eerily quiet as I hadn’t heard from Alan since last week and he was due to drop an article any day now. With the frenzy around the pope, the upcoming climate talks, Obama and the EPA completely off their respective rails, I was waiting for a blistering but carefully worded column on government waste, religion, and plutocracies. What I didn’t expect in my inbox was the news that an endearing man to me—and so many other people—had left this world after 77 years. Alan Caruba died on June 15 (details here).

Alan first came to my attention when I started this blog way back in 2010 (the site was under another name then) and he gave me permission to cross-post his articles. Then he began sending me his articles directly to share. He liked the graphics I would always pick out for his stories and started doing the same on his site. All told, I think Alan wrote an article each day on different topics (global warming, Obama, congressional nincompoops, Agenda 21, the U.N.), except maybe Christmas and Easter. He was the master of his keyboard and he used it judiciously and precisely.

He also helped me develop my own writing skills by teaching me to be concise and clear. I’d send him an essay for his feedback, and he’d send it back with revisions, mark-ups, and comments. Having someone copyedit your work (and for free) is the epitome of who Alan was as a human being. Then one day after about a year I got back an article that just said “No changes! Great job!” My lessons were done, or so I thought.

I quickly learned that writing is not a chore you can accomplish in one sitting or in one perfectly scripted column. It’s a process that takes a lot of time—revisions, plenty of chopping, copyediting, reference checking, quotes, and then more revisions—until you finally hammered out something that resembled an article worth reading. If Alan liked it, you were happy. If Alan quoted or referenced it in one of his numerous articles, you were giddy.

Alan was also a prolific writer. Not book-prolific like Stephen King or another Patterson wannabe, but rather a prolific columnist. If he found something on the Internet of interest, he’d write about it. If he saw something on the news of interest, he’d write about it. If he found something wrong or not right about a policy, agency, or sitting president, he’d write about it. Nothing was taboo and nothing was sacred. If Alan set his sights on something, he always hit the mark. And he did it all for free at his website, Warning Signs.

He has been published in numerous formats from newspapers to magazines to blogs to online-only papers, not to mention penning several books, plus more. Once a dyed-in-the-wool liberal, Alan saw the “light” and came out swinging. Not as a crotchety social conservative, but rather a fiscal conservative who could get a bit crotchety. And who could blame him? He once emailed me this old canard: “If you were under thirty and a Republican, you had no heart. And if you were over thirty and a Democrat, you had no brain.” That was “Uncle Alan” to those who knew him best.

Alan will forever be missed as the man who inspired so many people to take a stand (and take up writing) on any issue and just say ‘enough already.’ He didn’t want you to cry on his shoulder, he wanted you to fight against the many injustices that you thought were worth fighting. He could respect a fighter, even one on the other side of the divide, but not a quitter. It just wasn’t in his DNA.

So take a moment to visit Warning Signs while you can to see the many topics Alan covered during the last adventure of his varied life, and take solace in the fact that he has been memorialized not by my words, but by the words he so diligently put down, one after another, day after day. Yes, the world will continue moving forward but his absence will not go unnoticed, and Alan’s new adventure has only just begun.

“I could die for you. But I couldn’t, and wouldn’t, live for you.” ‚ÄìVictor Hugo, Les Mis√©rables

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A Warning To The Pope: Rising Green Energy Taxes To Hit Poorest Hardest

cartoon gas billRising green levies on energy bills risk causing a public backlash that will undermine efforts to tackle climate change, a leading left-wing think tank has warned. Subsidies to fund green electricity projects such as wind and solar farms are paid for through levies on consumer energy bills. Joss Garman, associate director of the IPPR think tank, said: “The government’s plan to hike up green levies on energy bills risks causing a public backlash against action to address climate change, especially because they hit the poorest households hardest.” –Emily Gosden, The Daily Telegraph, 17 June 2015

Government policies intended to reduce carbon dioxide are directly harming the poor in both the developing and developed world, according to a report released by the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF). Energy sources that are not based on fossil fuels are making both power and food more expensive, the report argues. While the affluent remain relatively unaffected, the poor are bearing the brunt of rising prices. The report, entitled Climate Policy and the Poor, was the written by Professor Anthony Kelly, who died on Tuesday. Kelly, who was widely regarded as the father of composite materials in the UK, points to two major ways government policy is harming the poor in the UK and overseas. –Guy Bentley, City A.M. 6 June 2014

On the eve of a forthcoming encyclical by Pope Francis on the environment and climate change, a new Pew Research Center survey finds that U.S. Catholics’ views on global warming are broadly reflective of American public opinion writ large. About seven-in-ten U.S. Catholics (71%) believe the planet is getting warmer. Nearly half of Catholic adults (47%) attribute global warming to human causes, and a similar share (48%) view it as a very serious problem. However, analysis of the survey findings shows that political party identification and race/ethnicity are much better predictors of environmental attitudes than are religious identity or observance. —Pew Research Center, 16 June 2015

Pope Francis’ encyclical on climate change should not be treated as official Catholic doctrine binding on all Catholics, but rather a personal position of the Pope, according to Father James Grant, Adjunct Fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs. “Many will see the Pope’s encyclical as the official position of the Church on the area of climate change. This is simply not the case,” says Father James. “In Catholic doctrine, it is completely acceptable for Catholics to disagree with the opinions of the Pope in an encyclical. So while the encyclical will hold significant weight in the Catholic community, there is nothing new in the debate regarding encyclicals. Catholics can feel safe in being sceptical about the Pope’s opinions,” says Father James. —Institute of Public Affairs, 16 June 2015

Europe’s car manufacturers and European Union officials are locked on opposing sides as the carmakers would gladly see lax emissions rules as opposed to the governments which want greenhouse emission to go down as fast as possible. The automakers believe even tighter CO2 rules would definitely impact their global competitiveness. –Aurel Niculescu, Inauto News, 16 June 2015

Fracking offers Scotland the chance of a secure energy supply no more harmful to the environment than conventional gas production, according to a new study. The Royal Society of Edinburgh’s advice paper on “options for Scotland’s gas future” finds that “onshore production of unconventional gas” — or fracking — could offer the country security of supply without “significant risk” to health, wellbeing or safety. “The areas of health, wellbeing and safety surrounding an onshore industry do not appear to present significant risks. Domestic production onshore could improve energy security, create jobs and ensure Scotland takes responsibility for its energy consumption.” –Mike Wade, The Times,17 June 2015

Seventeen years ago ‚ÄìJune 11, 1998 ‚ÄìMitchell Energy performed the first modern frack job on a natural-gas well in Texas and unleashed the U.S. energy boom. Whether hydraulic fracturing is a force for good or evil remains one of the most divisive questions in America today. Prof Michael E. Porter says the energy boom is “perhaps the single largest opportunity to improve the trajectory of the U.S. economy.” But, he warns, Americans could fritter away this competitive advantage if they are not careful. This potential advantage could be lost because public support for fracking is weakening. “Further development is increasingly threatened,” the report warns. –Russell Gold, The Wall Street Journal, 11 June 2015

The latest round of UN climate talks have made slow progress on refining a negotiating text for the Paris summit in December, the focal point for efforts to agree curbs on greenhouse gas emissions in developed and developing countries. Despite two weeks of talks at an interim meeting in the German city of Bonn, most of the contradictory proposals that littered the previous 90-page document remain. Familiar disputes blocked progress at the mainly technical meeting in Bonn, which was being held around 500km away from this week’s G7 summit in Bavaria. But in Bonn rich nations failed to give greater clarity on how rich economies will deploy US$100 billion of climate finance a year from 2020. —John McGarrity, India Climate Dialogue, 17 June 2015

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Against ‘consensus’ messaging

cartoon settled scienceA decades’ experience shows that “Consensus messaging” doesn’t work. ‚Äì Dan Kahan

Two weeks ago, Bristol University hosted a debate between Stefan Lewandowsky and Dan Kahan [link].

What is the best way to communicate the risks from climate change to the public? Dan Kahan has been championing the idea that risk perception depends on one’s culture or “worldview”, with people on the political right being more likely to downplay the risks from climate change than people on the political left. Stephan Lewandowsky has also found support for this notion in his own research, but he additionally finds that knowledge of the pervasive scientific consensus about global warming is a “gateway belief” that shapes people’s acceptance of the science and their willingness to support mitigation policies. So what are the implications of those two positions? Do they permit synergy or are they locked in opposition? Is there a third way to communicate science?

Dan Kahan has a blog post with his remarks [link (including link to Kahan’s slides], excerpts:

First, I’m not against the proposition that there is a scientific consensus that human activity is causing climate change. Second, I am by no means against communicating scientific consensus on climate change.

The proposition I am against is that the way to dispel polarization over global warming in the U.S. is to continue a decade’s long “social marketing campaign”—one on which literally hundreds of millions of dollars have already been spent—that features the claim that “97% [or 98% or 100% etc] of scientists accept human caused climate change.”

I am against that this “communication strategy”‚Äì

  • first, because it misunderstands the nature of the problem;
  • second, because it diverts resources from alternative approaches that have a much better prospect for success; and
  • third, because it predictably reinforces the toxicity of the climate change debate for our science communication environment.

But both “liberals” and “conservatives” have “gotten the memo” that scientists think human activity is causing climate change and that we are in deep shit as a result. So why should we expect that telling them what they already know will dispel the controversy reflected in persisting poll results showing that they are polarized on global warming?

You see, there are really two “climate changes” in America.

There’s the one people “believe in” or “disbelieve in” solely for the purpose of expressing their allegiance in a mean, ugly, illiberal status competition between opposing cultural groups.

Then there’s the one that people “believe in” in order to do things—like being a farmer—that depend on the best available scientific evidence.

As you can imagine, it’s a challenge for a legislator to keep all this straight.

JC comment:  Kahan gets it partly right ‚Äì there are indeed two climate changes.  But IMO he misunderstand what they are.  There is human caused climate change, and then there is natural climate variability.  Farmers don’t care so much about what is causing climate variability change; rather their job is to continually assess weather/climate risks to their crops and then adapt.  This split is discussed in my previous post Nonsensus about the Senate’s non consensus on climate change.

The only way to promote constructive collective decsionmaking on the climate change that ordinary people, left and right, are worried about,and that farmers and other practical individuals are taking steps to protect themselves from, is to protect our science communication enviornment from the toxic effects of the other climate change change—the one that people believe or disbelieve in to express their tribal loyalties.

Public opinion on climate change—whether it is “happening,” is “human caused,” etc.—didn’t move an inch at all during that time.

But we are supposed to think that that’s irrelevant because immediately after experimenters told them “97% of scientists accept climate change,” a group of study subjects, while not changing their own positions on whether climate change is happening, increased by a very small amount their expressed estimate of the percentage of scientists who believe in climate change? Seriously?

Perpetuating a toxic discourse. No doubt part of the appeal of “consensus messaging” is how well suited it is as an idiom for expressing contempt. The kinds of real-world “messaging campaigns” that feature the “97% agree” slogan all say “you are an idiot” to those for whom not believing climate change has become identity defining. It is exactly that social meaning that must be removed from the climate change question before people can answer it with what they know: that their well-being and the well-being of others they actually care about requires doing sensible things with the best available current evidence.

JC comment:  I think that the above paragraph is spot on.  Not only is it toxic to the public debate on climate change, but its toxicity also extends to the scientific debate

A decades’ experience shows that “Consensus messaging” doesn’t work. Our best lab and field studies, as well as a wealth of relevant experience by people who are doing meaningful communciation and not just fielding surveys, tell us why: it is unresponsive to the actual dynamics driving the climate change controversy.

Time to give alternative approaches–ones that reflect rather than ignore evidence of the mechanisms of cultural conflict over societal risks–a fair trial, during which we can observe and measure their effects, and after which we can revise our understandings once more, incorporate what we have learned into refined approaches, and repeat the process yet again.

Otherwise the “science of science communication” isn’t scientific at all.

JC reflections

While I find Dan Kahan’s research and perspectives to be very interesting, all of this science of science communication strategy for climate messaging runs dangerously close to propaganda techniques.

Consensus ‘messaging’ has been pernicious to the science, as well as to public perception of science, which is discussed in my paper No consensus on consensus.

My long standing recommendation has been to drop the consensus messaging.  Scientists should make a clear statement about what we understand with confidence, what we think might happen, and what the major uncertainties are.  This is generally what the IPCC First Assessment Report did.  The ‘consensus’ strategy was put into play for subsequent reports.

After reading Kahan’s stuff, I wish he would apply his methods to understanding people who believe the scientific consensus on climate change (both scientists and the public).

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The Pope’s Global Warming Encyclical: Don’t Be Misled

cartoon pope heresyA draft of the pope’s global warming encyclical has been leaked and, as expected, he is taking the Catholic Church to a place it has never gone before. That’s a shame, because it’s a place it should never go.

Italian magazine L’Espresso posted the message on its website Monday. The Vatican has asked the media to wait “for the official publication of the final text,” but it’s too late. By now, much of the world knows that across 192 pages, Pope Francis warns of the “unprecedented destruction of the ecosystem” before the end of this century, and expects humanity to make significant lifestyle changes.

Is this the job of the pope? Or is it a misuse of the authority of the Roman Catholic Church and the church at large? There’s no question in our minds. This pope has misapplied his authority. He’s also undermined his own credibility and that of the Catholic Church, as well.

What happens in 10 or 20 years when the climate change scare has abated? Will anyone listen to a pope’s teaching and give it the weight it deserves if this pope makes such a major error? There’s hope among those driving the global warming narrative that, because the pope has spoken, this encyclical will sway non-Catholics toward the left-wing position that man is destroying his world with his energy-consumption habits.

But “Laudato Si” is not the infallible word from above nor does it have a binding force. It is, roughly put, a set of guidelines that Catholics themselves can disregard and still be members in good standing.

Please understand this when confronted with claims that this encyclical bears a holy stamp.

Pope Francis’ job is spreading his faith in God, not abandoning reason and placing his faith instead in a “scientific consensus” that doesn’t exist — which even if it did, it would be wrong.

Look at the data. The climate change models that are the basis for the narrative have been wrong. University of Alabama in Huntsville researchers Roy Spencer and John Christy found that 70 of 73 climate models — many of them used by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — have been far off the mark.

There’s also the uncomfortable fact, at least for ardent advocates, that the warming has stopped.

Another awkward truth is the fact that this pope from Argentina believes in heavy-handed government and coercion by the state,while holding an aversion to capitalism. Unfortunately, many of those who push climate change dogma share that anti-capitalist mindset.

The truth is, capitalism is the only system that has improved the condition of the poor, whom the pope so deeply cares about. By calling for the creation of a worldwide political authority to tackle “the reduction of pollution and the development of poor countries and regions,” he’s doing nothing less than promoting a loss of liberty. That way leads to tyranny, where the majority are chained by the whims of a few. This is not a Christian liberation but a shackling of humanity that will hurt the poor the most. Pope Francis is far from hallowed ground here. He was poorly served — as was his church — by those who advised him to do this.

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Et Tu, Pontifex? Pope Francis Leaps Aboard ‘Global Warming’ Bandwagon

francis popeSo the Pope’s long-awaited encyclical on “global warming” has been released to the media four days in advance of its official launch.

A Vatican official has described this leak as “heinous,” but not as heinous, surely, as the damage this misbegotten document is going to do to the global economy, to the credibility of the Catholic church, and, perhaps worst of all as far as this caring, sharing pope ought to be concerned, the plight of the world’s poor.

If the draft of the encyclical leaked to the the Italian magazine l’Espresso is anywhere near like the finished version, then the auguries for this encyclical really aren’t good.

Global warming, it says, is “mostly” due to human activity and the burning of fossil fuels.

Humanity must become aware of the “need to change lifestyles, production and consumption” in order to combat warming.

The pollution produced by carbon dioxide increase the acidity of the oceans and impairs the marine food chain.

Rising sea levels “can create situations of extreme gravity”.

Etc.

This is the sort of hackneyed language and extremely dubious science you might expect from a 16-year old trotting out the formulaic bilge and accepted faux-wisdom required these days to pass a fairly typical exam paper in Geography or Environmental Sciences.

But what it most definitely isn’t the kind of thing you’d want or hope to read from the spiritual leader of 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, whose word is supposedly infalliable and who holds an office that dates back two thousand years.

First ‚Äì despite the Pope’s much-vaunted masters degree in Chemistry ‚Äì it’s wrong scientifically.

There is no evidence that sea-levels are rising at an abnormal rate; ocean acidification is a busted flush; catastrophic man-made global warming remains, at best, an unproven and increasingly shaky theory.

Second, it’s wrong morally.

As Marc Morano and others frequently argue (because it’s true), “fossil fuels are the moral choice for the developing world.” Why? Because unlike inefficient renewables (solar, wind, etc) they don’t require poor countries to devote vast government budgets to subsidise them, and they give growing economies the thing they need perhaps above all else which is a cheap, reliable source of energy. If you truly care about the poor ‚Äì as the Pope professes to do ‚Äì the very last thing you’d want to impose on them is carbon reduction targets or green regulations or crazy schemes which involve chopping down rainforest to grow palm oil or using farm land to grow biofuels. This just creates food shortages and drives up the cost of living.

Third, it makes no sense theologically.

Though it’s true that popes occasionally use encyclicals for political purposes ‚Äì railing against the Vietnam or Gulf wars, for example ‚Äì they are most usually, by tradition, employed to clarify a pope’s thoughts on Catholic doctrine.

And this is as it should be for a papal encyclical is binding in its authority. According to Pope Pius XII, once a pope has written an encyclical on a “hitherto controversial matter” it ought to be clear that matter “cannot any longer be considered a question of free discussion among theologians.”

In other words, Francis, simply by dint of his office, has now formally declared that “global warming is real.”

Taking so strong a position on an issue so contentious ‚Äì and also so completely unrelated to matters of faith ‚Äì is an abuse of papal authority which hardly adds to the Catholic church’s credibility.

Fourth, it’s wrong economically.

However much the Pope’s kindred spirits at places at the Guardian may rail against fossil fuels, they’re still what keep the world’s industries spinning round.

Over the last decade, for example, global coal use grew by 968 million tonnes of oil equivalent. That means it grew four times faster than renewables.

In 2014, as The Australian reports, “…if the world had relied on renewable energy like wind, solar and biomass for primary energy, then the world would have had just 9 days of heat, light and artificial horsepower.”

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Meteorologists Dismantle Bill Nye’s Alarmist Global Warming Claims

nye sightedBill Nye the “Science Guy” is once again trying to blame global warming for a series of weather events happening around the U.S., but this time meteorologists aren’t having it.

Meteorologists criticized Nye’s claim that warm temperatures in Alaska and flooding in Texas are a product of man-made global warming.

As Tropical Storm Bill (no relation to Nye) was projected to make landfall in Texas, Nye tweeted:

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<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”><p dir=”ltr” lang=”en”>Bill floods Texas. Alaska is on fire. Just a little global warming &amp; climate change. Nothing to worry about… <a href=”http://t.co/l2qAaiytE6″>pic.twitter.com/l2qAaiytE6</a></p><p>— Bill Nye (@BillNye) <a href=”https://twitter.com/BillNye/status/610864461918937088″>June 16, 2015</a></p></blockquote><p><script src=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” async=”” charset=”utf-8″></script>Nye has been been relentless in trying to connect such extreme weather events to man-made global warming in recent months, to the point where actual meteorologists who study weather patterns are fed up with him.</p><div id=’taboola-mid-article-thumbs-mix’></div><script type=”text/javascript”>window._taboola=window._taboola||[];_taboola.push({mode:’thumbs-1r-mid’,container:’taboola-mid-article-thumbs-mix’,placement:’mid-article-thumbs’,target_type:’mix’});</script><blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”><p>Bill Nye the bloviating, low information &#8220;climate guy&#8221; &#8230; not taken seriously by any meteorologist. <a href=”https://t.co/aOHSCW3Ga2″>https://t.co/aOHSCW3Ga2</a> — Ryan Maue (@RyanMaue) <a href=”https://twitter.com/RyanMaue/status/610866567098839040″>June 16, 2015</a></p></blockquote><p><script src=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” async=”” charset=”utf-8″></script></p><blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”><p dir=”ltr” lang=”en”><a href=”https://twitter.com/BillNye”>@BillNye</a> Are you crazy. Linkage to 50s and MJO textbook! Do you have any clue about what you are saying? <a href=”http://t.co/Jv2qjc6N4O”>pic.twitter.com/Jv2qjc6N4O</a></p><p>— Joe Bastardi (@BigJoeBastardi) <a href=”https://twitter.com/BigJoeBastardi/status/610870196836958208″>June 16, 2015</a></p></blockquote><blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”><p dir=”ltr” lang=”en”><a href=”https://twitter.com/joshwallswx”>@joshwallswx</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/wxhistorian”>@wxhistorian</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/BillNye”>@BillNye</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/weatherbrains”>@weatherbrains</a> he couldn&#8217;t handle people that actually understand how the atmosphere works</p><p>— James Spann (@spann) <a href=”https://twitter.com/spann/status/610871971207843843″>June 16, 2015</a></p></blockquote><p><script src=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” async=”” charset=”utf-8″></script>Nye’s extreme weather claims and hype over Tropical Storm Bill come on the heels of news reports that the U.S. has been in the midst of a 10-year “<a href=”http://dailycaller.com/2015/05/28/obama-warns-of-extreme-weather-despite-9-year-hurricane-drought/”>hurricane drought</a>.” For nearly a decade, no Category 3 or higher hurricanes have made landfall in the U.S., and there’s been <a href=”http://dailycaller.com/2013/07/18/scientist-tells-senators-global-warming-not-causing-extreme-weather/”>no upward trend</a> in other natural disasters like tornadoes, droughts or wildfires. Even a meteorology student at Pennsylvania State University and independent weather forecasters out of New Jersey criticized Nye for harming the scientific debate on global warming.</p><blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”><p><a href=”https://twitter.com/BillNye”>@BillNye</a> you stand for everything that is wrong in the world of climate/atmospheric science — Ryan Breton (@RyanBretonWX) <a href=”https://twitter.com/RyanBretonWX/status/610867915861180417″>June 16, 2015</a></p></blockquote><p><script src=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” async=”” charset=”utf-8″></script></p><blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”><p dir=”ltr” lang=”en”>.<a href=”https://twitter.com/BillNye”>@BillNye</a> Your hysteric stance is harmful to the scientific body currently researching our true footprint (+.6C temp/+55ppm CO2 since ~1950)</p><p>— Weather NJ (@myWeatherNJ) <a href=”https://twitter.com/myWeatherNJ/status/610872716493721601″>June 16, 2015</a></p></blockquote><p><script src=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” async=”” charset=”utf-8″></script></p>
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Drowning In Oil: World Faces Longest Oil Glut In Three Decades

growthThe world is on the brink of the longest-lasting oil glut in at least three decades and OPEC’s quest for market share makes it almost unavoidable. –Grant Smith, Bloomberg, 16 June 2015

According to the BP Review, over the decade to the end of 2014, coal use grew by 968 million tonnes of oil equivalent. That is 4 times faster than renewables, 2.8 times faster than oil and 50 per cent faster than gas. That’s hardly justification for a requiem. –Brendan Pearson and Michael Roche, The Australian, 16 June 2015

It has become urgent and compelling to develop policies so that in the coming years the emission of carbon dioxide and other highly polluting gases is reduced drastically, for instance by replacing fossil fuels and by developing renewable energy sources. —Leaked Papal Encyclical, 15 June 2015

I am very concerned that climate science is becoming biased owing to biases in federal funding priorities and the institutionalization by professional societies of a particular ideology related to climate change. Many scientists, and institutions that support science, are becoming advocates for UN climate policies, which is leading scientists into overconfidence in their assessments and public statements and into failures to respond to genuine criticisms of the scientific consensus. In short, the climate science establishment has become intolerant to disagreement and debate, and is attempting to marginalize and de-legitimized dissent as corrupt or ignorant. Uncertainty and disagreement drive scientific progress. Stifling uncertainty and disagreement stifles scientific progress. –Judith Curry,  House of Lords, 15 June 2015

Pope Francis has endorsed the science behind global warming and denounced the world’s political leaders for putting national self-interests ahead of action. –John Follain, Bloomberg, 16 June 2015

Member of Parliament David Davies has warned of the stubborn nature of organisations like Britain’s Royal Society ‚Äì the oldest grouping of eminent scientists in the world ‚Äì who have admitted that they will not accept any other thinking on global warming for at least “fifty years”, even if the data shows otherwise. — Oliver Lane, Breitbart News, 16 June 2015

The [Royal Society] had two guys whose job it was to go around and persuade everyone that we’re all trying the ruin the economy. We pinned them down on this hiatus. They were arguing that yes, there might have been a hiatus, but warming might be going into the ocean, or it could be due to volcanic activity. So we asked at what point would you begin to accept there had been no warming. If there is no warming for five years, or ten years? Finally they conceded they would wait fifty years. Effectively, we’re all going to be dead before the Royal Society admits they’ve got their facts wrong. There could be absolutely no warming every year for the next fifty years, and the Royal Society would still maintain that climate change is a major problem. David Davies, Breitbart News, 16 June 2015

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PolitiFact: Claim of Scott Walker banning phrase climate change ‘false’

Scottaway Screen ShotPolitiFact took a progressive group out to the woodshed today for creating a misleading website that says presidential hopeful Gov Scott Walker (R) has banned state employees from using the phrase ‘climate change.’ Forecast the Facts, a project of the liberal group Citizen Engagement Laboratory, says it developed the website called scottaway.com in response to the Walker administration’s denial of climate change. But PolitiFact took a closer look at that claim and found it to be without merit.

The “scottaway the truth” website, which allows users to click a giant red button that swaps out ‘climate change’ with words like ‘magic weather’ and ‘extended Popsicle season,’ stated that “Governors Rick Scott (FL) and Scott Walker (WI) both run state governments that ban employees from talking about climate change.” But when PolitiFact started snooping around, the site ‘magically’ swapped out its header to read (changes in bold): “Governors Rick Scott (FL) and Scott Walker (WI) both support state agencies that reportedly ban employees from talking about climate change.”

The claim started months ago when Tia Nelson, executive secretary of the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL), was prohibited from working on non-agency global warming initiatives while at work. Back in early April, the board voted 2-1 to approve a resolution that banned its staff from “engaging in global warming or climate change work while on BPCL time.” The board was aptly concerned that Nelson, daughter of Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, was spending work time advocating global warming policies “as part of her role as co-chair of Gov. Jim Doyle’s now disbanded task force on global warming.”

The board’s job is to manage forested lands, with over a billion dollars in “Trust Fund assets and 77,000 acres of School Trust Lands.” It also makes loans to Wisconsin school districts and employs ten full-time employees at no cost to the taxpayer.  BCPL “distributes 96 cents on every dollar earned from its investments to K-12 public school beneficiaries.”

However, as PolitiFact noted, the board is not part of the executive branch, its officials are elected, and its employees make up roughly “.0003 percent of the state’s 30,000 total employees.” In fact, Walker has no control over the board as it’s outside of the governor’s jurisdiction.

PolitiFact found search results showing numerous Wisconsin agencies actively engaged in conversations about climate change, such as “on the Department of Natural Resources’ web page, which talks about climate change and the Great Lakes, and the Department of Transportation documents related to its long-term transportation plan.” When PolitiFact asked Forecast the Facts to back up its claims, it sent an audio recording of the BCPL’s meeting and vote.

When pressed further, Forecast the Fact’s campaign director Brant Olson could not name a single part of the state government with a climate change ban in place. Instead, Forecast the Facts pointed to an April 9, 2015, NY Times article that says Governor Walker didn’t think it was unreasonable to “enact policies requiring board staff to focus on board-related activities.” The scottaway site also attempts to link Scott Walker to allegations that Gov. Rick Scott banned the phrase climate change in Florida.

Meanwhile, the board is one day away from changing the ban from “engaging in global warming or climate change work” to engaging in “policy advocacy” on the state’s nickel, as a vote is scheduled for tomorrow. Matt Adamczyk, a board member who voted yes on the current ban, believes employees should not be working on issues outside of the agency’s purview. 

Adamczyk said in an April interview the “new rule was designed to prevent employees from involving themselves in issues that go beyond what he sees as the agency’s mission.” He also noted that employees can still discuss climate change but not at the expense of getting their jobs done or on state time. According to the NY Times, Adamczyk is committed to ridding the state of wasteful spending and providing tangible services to Wisconsin residents.

In the end, PolitiFact rated the claim False.

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EXCLUSIVE: ‘We’ll All Be Dead Before Climate Change Orgs Admit They’re Wrong’ Says MP

protestMember of Parliament David Davies has warned of the stubborn nature of organisations like Britain’s Royal Society ‚Äì the oldest grouping of eminent scientists in the world ‚Äì who have admitted that they will not accept any other thinking on global warming for at least “fifty years”, even if the data shows otherwise.

Attending a speech on climate change in the House of Lords, the Welsh Tory MP spoke about on his surreal experience meeting two men from the Royal Society whom he said had been sent to persuade him and fellow climate realists Peter Lilley MP and John Redwood MP to embrace the idea of man-made climate change. He said that representatives from the Society ‚Äì often lauded as the most eminent grouping of scientists, founded in the 1600s ‚Äì told him that they would not change their mind for at least fifty years, regardless of the evidence.

After the meeting, which was chaired by Margaret Thatcher’s former Chancellor Lord Lawson, and also attended by former environment Secretary Owen Paterson MP, Davies Spoke to Breitbart London and recalled the extraordinary admission made by the Royal Society to him as they addressed members of parliament.

Speaking of the ‘hiatus’ in global warming that has been observed since the end of the 20th century, and the doubt that it has cast on climate change modelling ‚Äì points which had been discussed at length at the Global Warming Policy Foundation event ‚Äì Davies remarked:

“They had two guys whose job it was to go around and persuade everyone that we’re all trying the ruin the economy.

“We pinned them down on this hiatus… they were arguing that yes, there might have been a hiatus, but warming might be going into the ocean, or it could be due to volcanic activity. So we asked at what point would you begin to accept there had been no warming. If there is no warming for five years, or ten years?

“Finally they conceded they would wait fifty years.

“We asked would that be fifty years from now, or fifty years from 1997, when the hiatus started? They said they wouldn’t change their mind for fifty years from now.

“Effectively, we’re all going to be dead before the Royal Society admits they’ve got their facts wrong. There could be absolutely no warming every year for the next fifty years, and the Royal Society would still maintain that climate change is a major problem”.

Breitbart London reported in March how the Royal Society had come under a blistering attack by a fellow for  jeopardised both its purpose and integrity by becoming a pressure group for the climate change lobby. Professor Michael Kelly said Britain is now guilty of “leading the world in climate change hypocrisy”, and that the Royal Society had published a key document on climate change which was biased and “‘left out’ parts of the science, so the answers to many of the questions ought to be different”.

Professor Kelly said: “Those who fail to provide balance are not giving advice, but lobbying. It is with the deepest regret that I must now state that this is the role which has been adopted by the Royal Society. And when scientists abandon neutral inquiry for lobbying, they jeopardise their purpose and integrity”.

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