Pope Issues Rare Encyclical On Climate Change That Demands Action To Curtail Carbon Emissions To Save Humanity

120px-Pope_Francis_in_March_2013_(cropped)earth-screensaver_largeAs widely rumored, Pope Francis has issued a historic papal encyclical that agrees with the vast majority of scientists that global warming is real, largely caused by mankind, and threatens the very future of humanity. He has called for emergency action to curtail carbon emissions by reducing fossil fuels and developing renewables.

220px-AlfedPalmersmokestacksThe Pope denounced the massive levels of pollution that are making the Earth into “an immense pile of filth”. He criticized deniers and said that “doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or disdain.” He acknowledged other contributors to global warming but insisted: ““It is true that there are other factors (such as volcanic activity, variations in the earth’s orbit and axis, the solar cycle), yet 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.”

The papal encyclical sent to 5,000 Catholic bishops worldwide seeks to mobilize the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics and is viewed as one of the significant new voices for action both in terms of its political and religious impact.

He stated “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.” He insisted that without extreme measures “this century may well witness extraordinary climate change and an unprecedented destruction of ecosystems, with serious consequences for all of us.” To achieve such emergency measures, he called for drastic reductions in fossil fuels and the rapid development of renewable energy sources.

He further suggested that special interests and greed are driving the campaign against recognition of the problem and measures needed to address it.

It will be interesting how the papal announcement changes the political landscape, particularly with conservative Catholics and other Christians. The Obama Administration has been in the forefront of seeking global action, a position that I agree with (even though I do not agree with some of its unilateral actions). The Administration will have to convince skeptics in Congress and this Papal encyclical will certainly help, though I doubt it will dramatically change the political position in Congress.

134 thoughts on “Pope Issues Rare Encyclical On Climate Change That Demands Action To Curtail Carbon Emissions To Save Humanity”

  1. Ari, The Pope and Obama think global warming is a clear and present danger. I think radical Islam and Putin are clear and present dangers.

  2. Capitalism derives from freedom. What the American Founders gave us was freedom. Collectivism (communism, socialism, progressivism, democracy) is slavery.

    It’s really quite simple: Freedom or Slavery.

    American freedom, the American context of limited government, freedom and free enterprise without interference by government in the Preamble, and the right to private property, all preclude redistribution of wealth, central planning and control of the means of production.

    “Sorry, Mr. Marx,” the American Founders said, “you can’t do that here.”

  3. old nurse said …

    The pope would be more likely to comment on the violence around that world that takes the lives of all people, not just Christians.

    Yep. I am anxiously awaiting that in the next encyclical. Universal condemnation of religious based genocide. Wait…my lips are turning blue.

    Never-the-less ordinary parish priests speak to this genocide of all kinds almost every day, so why should his eminence bother? I doubt he lives in a 90% Muslim community and has no inkling of how important it would be to lead from the front on religious genocide, while, I, a “professed” Catholic (who are any of y’all to determine who is Catholic for real, or not…I can prove it, can you?) do know and know my neighbors well, and we do not have problems.

    But never mind those killed recently for just being Catholic or a form related to Catholicism elsewhere. Let’s talk about carbon dioxide.

    As I said, screw him. Politics and religion mixed together by the religious leadership is never a good thing…as I tried to explain by reference to Fr Coughlin….who thought Hitler had a good thing going.

  4. My attitude is on the record. I believe in reasonable conservation and steps. Climate science is about control and power, trying to put money in the hands of the govt. to make decisions the market should be making. I drive a 4 cylinder car. I recycle. I use reusable shopping bags. I do the SENSIBLE stuff.

  5. Mike, I’ve ready nothing of it. Since I believe climate science is a scam it would seem wasting my time.

  6. Jim

    True Capitalism is an oxymoron. There is no true anything. A benevolent dictator that does everything right and nothing could be better eventually needs to be replaced. So, that doesn’t work. The only thing we can hope for is observed, monitored, supervised, and regulated anything. It’s kind of like your word true. The only was something can be true is if it is not perverted, which means control, which means government. True Capitalism is nothing more than capitalism given a god like aura. Capitalism is nothing more than a tool to be used for the betterment of mankind, along with socialism, responsibility, good stewardship, etc.

    You criticize my lack of detail and reliance on my purported facts and then you come up with something like ‘True Capitalism’. SHEEESH

  7. old nurse

    In case you haven’t noticed, Christians are being singled out, specifically due to their religious beliefs and practices, for persecution, displacement, beheadings, rape, and murder. I expect the Pope to use his voice and power to speak for those unfortunate people. Yes, he does have an obligation, given his title and his standing in the world, to specifically denounce those crimes, especially as they affect his fellow Christians. Too bad the point is lost on you.

  8. Nick:

    I trust you’ve already read the pope’s “polemic” How many pages is it, anyway?

  9. Squeeky:

    The “light-hearted superficiality” phrase does sound particular. That may just be a translation issue.

  10. The panic by the global warming people is because of fracking. Polls show the majority of Catholics don’t buy the Pope’s polemic. This is a tempest in a teapot.

  11. According to the “science” presented by scientists and ABC back @ the turn of the century, NYC is supposed to be underwater this exact month[June 2015]. So, there’s that. Climate “science” will be seen to be on par w/ phrenology within the next 50 years. IF THE PLANET DOESN’T SPONTANEOUSLY COMBUST BEFORE THEN, OH MY!

    Pope, boobsy, how about locking up pedophile protecting Cardinals before preening for the press.

  12. I agree with Isaac. I would add the following:

    1. The history of industrial development in this country reflects that every industrial empire, beginning with the railroads, has relied on massive government subsidy. The true capitalism/free market myth is just that, a myth, endlessly repeated by libertarian romantics.

    2. There is a growing fossil fuel industry divestment movement that makes long-term economic sense. We forget that the valuation of oil and gas companies relies on the assumption that all reserves, both proven and unproven, will be extracted and consumed. That cannot and will not happen, but it means that the industry is already overvalued, which at least partially explains the opposition to the development of alternative energy sources.

  13. <i.old nurse
    The commandment doesn’t say, “Thou shalt not kill Christians.” Christian lives are no more or less valuable than any others.

    Reminds me of this:


    Smith College President Kathleen McCartney thought she was showing solidarity with students protesting racism and police brutality when she sent a campus-wide email with the subject line, “All Lives Matter.” But the anti-racism slogan popular with students is actually the more selective “black lives matter.”

    Uh oh. Burn the heretic!

    Students were furious and offended.

    No doubt old nurse was educating the black lives matter crowd.

  14. Squeeky, There are people who understand base load energy and people who don’t.

  15. isaac – “The only reason this is not being done is the status quo and the ignorance it subsidizes.”

    isaac, Just because you say something is a fact doesn’t make it so. The status quo as you call it is cheaper. I’m all for removing all subsidies. But at the same time the govt. needs to get out of the way for more exploration and development i.e. Keystone. You really crack me up though when you write about how our crony capitalism works and try to apply that to true capitalism/free market principals.

  16. Just for what it’s worth, Britannica puts its Encyclicals on line now, and doesn’t even do a print version anymore. Which is kind of a shame. But anyway, the Pope must have learned from them, because his is online, too!

    Here it is:


    This was part of it, which is very true as a general matter:

    228. Care for nature is part of a lifestyle which includes the capacity for living together and communion. Jesus reminded us that we have God as our common Father and that this makes us brothers and sisters. Fraternal love can only be gratuitous; it can never be a means of repaying others for what they have done or will do for us. That is why it is possible to love our enemies. This same gratuitousness inspires us to love and accept the wind, the sun and the clouds, even though we cannot control them. In this sense, we can speak of a “universal fraternity”.

    229. We must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world, and that being good and decent are worth it. We have had enough of immorality and the mockery of ethics, goodness, faith and honesty. It is time to acknowledge that light-hearted superficiality has done us no good. When the foundations of social life are corroded, what ensues are battles over conflicting interests, new forms of violence and brutality, and obstacles to the growth of a genuine culture of care for the environment.

    For some reason which escapes me at the moment, I am not real fond of the “light-hearted superficiality” remark, but overall what he says is true.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  17. The pope would be more likely to comment on the violence around that world that takes the lives of all people, not just Christians. The commandment doesn’t say, “Thou shalt not kill Christians.” Christian lives are no more or less valuable than any others.

  18. A good percentage of global warming is caused by humans. The bean industry is at the heart of it. Or the fart of it. You must understand that a human artFay is much warmer than the air it is released into. The air temp in the room goes up. The thermostat picks up on this in the winter and the furnace goes off. The more artFays the more the gas use goes down. But, in the summer with the AC running the opposite happens. The AC runs longer to make up for the artFays. So, outside the warming goes up. Now if humans would just artFay in the winter and not the summer then it would have a positive effect on global warming. This information is all available in a study published by the Laclede Gas Company of Saint Louis.

    Beans, beans, two cents a quart.
    The more you eat, the more you fart.
    The more you fart, the better you feel.
    So lets have beans at every meal.

    –Campbells Bean commercial in 1959. Taken off the air in 1960 for wrong use of the artFay word.

    The Pope is a bean eater and knows all about global warming.

  19. Jim22

    Again with the selective arguments. Renewables in Germany may be 10% now but the country is 10% further along than it was and still increasing. Regarding the Lignite coal, Germany does not have the natural gas and oil resources found in the US. The difference is that Germany is developing cleaner ways of burning coal and implementing them. They are even exporting this technology to other countries. The US coal plant owners are resisting because there is not enough profit left for them. By the way, per capita, Germany far outstrips the US and most other countries regarding industrial advancement, exporting of heavy machinery, cars, wages, benefits, etc. They do this through a tripartite arrangement of Labor, Management, and Government. Call it what you will.

    Some truths of the matter are:

    -The fossil fuel industries are heavily subsidized by the taxpayer. This is to keep basic costs down, keeps the consumer happily ignorant and makes the money to buy the politicians.

    -In many industries pollution and toxins have been taken out of the equation but only through government action. The air conditioning industry would never have taken fluorocarbons out of the formula regardless of the damage to the ozone layer. Only government regulations would have done that. The Ozone layer is repairing itself, since these regulations were effected. Wood preservatives which save millions of acres of trees by prolonging the working life of lumber were once toxic and poisonous until the governments regulated their make up. Now kids aren’t getting infections and you can plant stuff in boxes made of wood impregnated by the regulated preservatives.

    -Left to itself the private sector will do anything and everything in order to make a profit including out sourcing as much labor from the US as possible, using whatever products cost the least regardless of the damage they do to our health, burn as much fossil fuel with as much pollution as makes economic sense for their profits regardless of the damage it does.

    -That is why we have a government(s). Governments are necessary. Only the fool preaches individual liberty beyond collective responsibility. Without collective responsibility there can be no individual liberty. That same fool believes that the corporations, global or otherwise have the individual’s best interests first and foremost.

    -There are numerous examples of ecologically sound industries that make enough money to pay decent wages and shareholder dividends as well as exorbitant management salaries.

    -Regarding the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy this is no different: the technology is now so advanced regarding solar that the main argument against solar is no longer that it costs more than fossil fuel but that the infrastructure developed by the traditional energy sources, i.e. the ‘grid’ cannot function unless everyone pays into it. Now, did the traditional sources miss an opportunity here to create solar energy?

    -The horse and buggy industry suffered also.

    The change is coming and the typical arguments always seen against evolution and progress are seen but simply wearing different accessories.

    Energy consumers will not pay more in the long run if renewable energy industries are advanced as fast as possible. Solar has already proven this. Wind proves this in most cases, not all but most. When renewable energy sources replace fossil fuel sources, the worst first such as coal, then the less fossil fuels burned the better. The 10% now will become 30 and 40 % eventually. That is where the real changes will take hold and the world benefit.

    Most of the arguments against developing renewable energy sources are out dated and disproven. Those that have credibility are becoming less of an argument and more of a challenge. It is possible to draw enough energy from the sun to produce hydrogen and/or directly power what we need.

    Regarding hydrogen fuel cell stations. Only with government regulations and subsidies can entire fleets of vehicles be used to advance the technology. A solar panel system covering warehouse and building roofs generating power when the sun shines to produce the hydrogen that can be dispensed to: police cars, delivery vans, taxis, postal vehicles, and all other fleet vehicles that remain within workable distances.

    The only reason this is not being done is the status quo and the ignorance it subsidizes.

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