The Pope derides those who have “blind faith” in technological advances as a solution to climate change. Instead, his encyclical declares that the world must stop consuming so much. That, he says, will help the poor people who stand to be affected most by global warming. That is troubling, because technical innovation is exactly what we need more of.
Pope Francis pontificates: People may well have a growing ecological sensitivity but it has not succeeded in changing their harmful habits of consumption which, rather than decreasing, appear to be growing all the more. A simple example is the increasing use and power of air-conditioning. The markets, which immediately benefit from sales, stimulate ever greater demand. An outsider looking at our world would be amazed at such behaviour, which at times appears self-destructive.Recycling paper, actually a biodegradable product of a renewable resource, is now a religious issue?
These problems are closely linked to a throwaway culture which affects the excluded just as it quickly reduces things to rubbish. To cite one example, most of the paper we produce is thrown away and not recycled.It is hard to read an encyclical with such passages as a religious document.
But worse is that it contains so much emotional and apocalyptic claptrap of the kind we’d expect in a fundraising pamphlet from Greenpeace but not in a papal encyclical:
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. This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor.A “sickness evident in the soil”? And in “all forms of life”? The earth “laid waste”? Seriously?
There is something manic in this railing:
The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth. In many parts of the planet, the lament that once beautiful landscapes are now covered with rubbish.This is simply not true of vast parts of our planet. Go outside and see for yourself.
Nor is this true:
A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system. In recent decades this warming has been accompanied by a constant rise in the sea level and, it would appear, by an increase of extreme weather events, even if a scientifically determinable cause cannot be assigned to each particular phenomenon… The melting in the polar ice caps and in high altitude plains can lead to the dangerous release of methane gas.In fact, there has been a pause in warming of the global atmosphere that has lasted at least 17 years, to the puzzlement of warmist scientists. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change itself struggles to find any evidence of “an increase of extreme weather events”, such as cyclones, storms or droughts. One of the two polar ice caps has actually seen an increase in sea ice extent, and the other has seen no further deterioration for several years.
The Pope does not consider the cost to the poor of the shift he now advocates:
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 Way I See It.....a shift to green power will in many cases mean a big increase in the cost of electricity, keeping it beyond the reach of the poorest people in the world. This is the very point stressed by India, whose Prime Minister has set himself the goal of bring electricity to those who have none. Also, Humanity’s answer to huge levels of famine wasn’t to insist we should eat less.
There is much in the encyclical that is worth considering, not least its appeals to consider the poor, the central importance of the family and the cost of pollution. There is also an argument against abortion which I doubt that the greens now hailing the Pope will demand we heed as they demand we heed his climate alarmism.
But too much of the document seems simply alarmist and just one impatient man’s grumpy opinion.