Statists of both the environmentalist and religious persuasions are rallying behind Pope Francis’s climate change encyclical. A letter published in the New Jersey Star-Ledger by Tony Giordano asserted that Pope Francis has authority to speak on climate change, and criticized dissenters. Giordano wrote, in part:
Recently, presidential candidate Rick Santorum and Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) have both said that Pope Francis should not talk about climate change, arguing that the issue should be left to scientists.
Well, the scientists have spoken and an overwhelming 97 percent of them happen to concur with the Pope—that climate change is occurring now and it is caused by human activity.
Just who are they to tell the Pope what to say? With its threat to affect the lives, health and welfare of billions of people, now and for generations to come, climate change is absolutely within the moral and leadership responsibilities of the Pope.
The pope believes that “Mother Earth” and all of the goods produced on Earth belong to God, not people, and that governments, as God’s servants, must control the use and distribution of Earth's raw materials, including the goods created from them by productive human beings, for the benefit of all human beings, who are all “God’s children.” In other words, the Pope is an authoritarian in the communistic camp. Like all statists, Francis demands that human beings be subordinate to a “higher instance than ourselves"—some higher authority. The pope sees himself as God’s moral authority pulling the strings of governments’ policies—a status that Ayn Rand equated to that of a Witch Doctor.
The Pope’s “moral and leadership responsibilities” must be evaluated in that context.
I left these comments:
“Well, the scientists have spoken and an overwhelming 97 percent of them happen to concur with the Pope—that climate change is occurring now and it is caused by human activity.”
As energy expert Alex Epstein has exposed, that is a flat-out meaningless and misleading statement. It doesn’t tell you how much “the 97%” believes humans contributed to the minor 1.4° increase in global temperatures since 1880, because there is no consensus on that. It doesn’t tell you how many believe in forced cutbacks in fossil fuels, because the literature the study depends on doesn’t say anything about energy. These are climate scientists, not energy experts. It doesn’t tell you how many of the 97% believe in catastrophic, human-caused climate change, because only a small minority hold that view. And it certainly doesn’t mean that the scientists agree with Pope Francis’ and the Catholic Church’s long-standing war against liberty, free market capitalism, and prosperity.
Keep in mind that the Pope’s concern is for the alleged harm industrial prosperity-driven climate change will do to the poor nations. Why doesn’t the pope advocate the spread of capitalism to foster prosperity in the poor nations? Because that would lead to fossil fuel-driven prosperity, lifting millions more people out of poverty and climate-related harms way. In fact, extreme-weather and climate-related deaths have dropped 98% over the past century—the very era of global warming. Fossil Fuel-driven industrial prosperity has made us safer than ever before. But poverty and misery are the foundation of modern Catholicism. “Ministering to the poor” is central to the Catholic Church’s purpose for being—and its power. Where would the Church be if poverty continues to give way to capitalistic, fossil-fueled prosperity worldwide? The Church has a vested interest in poverty. It will fight tooth and nail to “protect” the poor—from prosperity.
Next, we hear from the religious side.
The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels—Alex Epstein