Pope’s Climate Push Comes To Nothing In US Congress

pope congressPope Francis challenged lawmakers to take “courageous actions” to tackle climate change on Thursday, but the partisan fight in Congress on the environment barely paused. Hours after the Popemobile departed Thursday morning, House Republicans took up a bill that would block the government from measuring the carbon impact of construction projects, part of a GOP strategy to throttle President Barack Obama’s green agenda and dim hopes for reaching a global agreement on climate change later this year. –Andrew Restuccia and Darren Goode, Politico, 24 September 2015

A looming federal budget confrontation and Republican hostility to UN global-warming talks threaten a U.S. down payment into a key climate-aid fund, money considered vital to a climate deal in Paris this December. President Barack Obama had requested $500 million in the 2016 budget for the first tranche of its $3 billion pledge into a UN-administered Green Climate Fund (GCF) that would help poorer countries make a transition to clean energy technologies and adapt to climate change. But Congressional Republicans have vowed to oppose that spending request, and the wider dispute between the President and Republicans over the federal budget has raised the possibility that Obama will not be able to guarantee that U.S. funding before the December summit. —Reuters, 24 September 2015

Only once did the Pope call Congress to specific action. “I am convinced,” Francis said, “that we can make a difference, and I have no doubt that the United States ‚Äì and this Congress ‚Äì have an important role to play.” The subject: climate change. On every other topic, the Pope pointed indirectly at the path he’d recommend. On climate change, he called Congress to do something concrete. But Congress has probably never been less likely to heed that call. In short: No deal, Francis. When the pope first produced his climate encyclical, we offered skepticism that it would make a difference. That skepticism still holds, even after the pope’s unprecedented personal appeal in front of the full federal representation of the United States. It was the only topic on which he broke from his preferred style of referring obliquely to the change he wanted to see. But that forcefulness by-Francis-standards isn’t likely to make a dent at all. –Philip Bump, The Washington Post, 24 September 2015

From the White House lawn, Pope Francis made a plea to protect our “common home” from climate change. It may seem odd for a religious leader to address global warming. But for many, global warming is a religion. No, we’re not being sacrilegious. For left-wing adherents of global warming, their faith holds all the comforts of a religion. We’re not surprised that the pope’s remarks resonate so strongly with those who no longer believe in God. He’s speaking a language they can understand. —Investor’s Business Daily, 23 September 2015

Past pessimists such as Thomas Malthus, William Stanley Jevons and Paul Ehrlich have been proven comprehensively wrong in their predictions of gloom, and I am confident that Nicolas Stern will join them. –Michael Kelly, Standpoint Magazine, October 2015

One of the major items of climate news in the past week or so has been the minimum Arctic ice extent that is reached in September each year. After last year’s increase in minimal ice extent the 2015 figure was treated as a return to the normal decline. The Washington Post was typical the Arctic was, it said, “far from recovering.” One reporter however did ask a pertinent question. Are the minimums getting more minimal? This year’s data continues the “pause” or “hiatus” or whatever one wants to call it. If global warming was really taking hold in the Arctic with force ‚Äì a force stronger in recent years because of the ever-increasing CO2 levels ‚Äì I don’t think it would have resulted in no change in Arctic ice minima for almost a decade. –David Whitehouse, Global Warming Policy Forum, 22 September 2015