US Republicans Shrug Off Pope Francis’ Climate Message

cartoon popeThe reactions [to the papal encyclical] suggested that the pontiff’s desire to translate his climate views into real action to combat greenhouse gases could fall flat, at least as far as the American political system is concerned. –Erica Werner and Matthew Daly, Associated Press, 18 June 2015

Pope Francis’ call for dramatic action on climate change drew a round of shrugs from congressional Republicans on Thursday, while many of the party’s presidential candidates ignored it entirely. “I don’t want to be disrespectful, but I don’t consider him an expert on environmental issues,” said Texas Rep. Joe Barton, a senior Republican on the Energy and Commerce Committee, in a comment echoed by a number of other Republicans. Even Capitol Hill’s many Catholics, despite their religion’s reverence for the holy father, seemed unmoved by his urgent plea to save the planet.  –Erica Werner and Matthew Daly, Associated Press, 18 June 2015

Like other environmental activists, the pope — who might now be considered the world’s leading green — is using global warming to prosecute a deeply ecological, anti-capitalist agenda. The pope’s green Peronism is hardly going to persuade American conservatives to join his climate crusade. Indeed, the pope invites disagreement with his views. “The Church does not presume to settle scientific questions or to replace politics,” the Pope writes in Laudato si.’ “But I am concerned to encourage an honest and open debate.” Surely everyone can agree with that. –Rupert Darwall, National Review, 18 June 2015

A new Pew Research Center survey, released as Pope Francis publishes an encyclical on the environment and climate change, finds that 71% of self-identified American Catholics believe the earth is getting warmer, but only 47% attribute the perceived warming to human activity. –Susan Berry, Breitbart News, 17 June 2015

Pope Francis’s plunge into the climate change debate has caused uneasiness in the heartland of European conservative Catholicism in Poland, exposing the dilemma for Catholics who are devout but prefer their leaders to steer clear of “liberal” causes. For many Poles, coal is a national security issue. Without it, the country would need to import much more gas from Russia, making it dependent on a former overlord which it views with deep suspicion. Piotr Naimski, a member of parliament who is drafting energy policy for Law and Justice, would not comment directly on the encyclical but said: “All actions related to climate policy should be based on local needs.” –Pawel Sobczak and Jakub Iglewski, Reuters, 18 June 2015

The Pope has released an Encyclical on Care for our Common Home. It is rather long. It has good things. It has bad things. Carbon dioxide is referred to as pollution, which is a nonsense (outside the US legal system). Para 24 offers the alarmist claptrap you would expect to find in a Greenpeace magazine. Para 25 suggests that the poor are vulnerable to climate change because of where they live. Actually, they’re vulnerable because they’re poor. The Pope misdiagnoses, and thus recommends the wrong treatment. Economic growth is the prime strategy against the disproportionate impacts of climate change on the poor. —Richard Tol, 19 June 2015

We have, in the UK, devised the most blatant transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich ‚Äì and I am slightly surprised that it is so strongly supported by those who consider themselves to be the tribunes of the people and politically on the Left. I refer to our system of heavily subsidizing wealthy landlords to have wind farms on their land, so that the poor can be supplied with one of the most expensive forms of electricity known to man. However, the greatest immorality of all concerns those in the developing world. There are still hundreds of millions of people in these countries in dire poverty, suffering all the ills that this brings, in terms of malnutrition, preventable disease, and premature death. Asking these countries to abandon the cheapest available sources of energy is, at the very least, asking them to delay the conquest of malnutrition, to perpetuate the incidence of preventable disease, and to increase the number of premature deaths. Global warming orthodoxy is not merely irrational. It is wicked. –Nigel Lawson, Financial Post, 18 June 2015