The Pope’s climate change encyclical: what it all means

The Pope has published his long-awaited, 300 page encyclical on climate change, Laudato Si’. 

Here are some initial thoughts on what it all means:

The Pope is a true believer (in the climate “consensus”)

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 Pope wants the rest of us to become true believers, too, whether we like it or not

Humanity is called to recognize the need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption, in order to combat this warming.

The Pope has bought into all the doomiest of the climate alarmist establishment’s doomsday predictions, including ones that are looking decidedly shaky these days like “ocean acidification” and a deadly release of methane.

The melting in the polar ice caps and in high altitude plains can lead to the dangerous release of methane gas, while the decomposition of frozen organic material can further increase the emission of carbon dioxide.

Carbon dioxide pollution increases the acidification of the oceans and compromises the marine food chain.

The Pope didn’t get the memo about sea level rises being entirely normal. Nor, apparently, has he ever wondered why Al Gore owns waterfront property.

A rise in the sea level, for example, can create extremely serious situations, if we consider that a quarter of the world’s population lives on the coast or nearby, and that the majority of our megacities are situated in coastal areas.

The Pope – like US Secretary of State John Kerry and others – appears to believe that ‘climate change’ is worse than Al Shabaab, ISIS, Boko Haram, the Taliban or Al Qaeda

There has been a tragic rise in the number of migrants seeking to flee from the growing poverty caused by environmental degradation. They are not recognized by international conventions as refugees; they bear the loss of the lives they have left behind, without enjoying any legal protection whatsoever. Sadly, there is widespread indifference to such suffering, which is even now taking place throughout our world.

The Pope is an anti-capitalist Luddite with an antipathy towards economic progress and depressingly little faith in man’s achievements.

But a sober look at our world shows that the degree of human intervention, often in the service of business interests and consumerism, is actually making our earth less rich and beautiful, ever more limited and grey, even as technological advances and consumer goods continue to abound limitlessly. We seem to think that we can substitute an irreplaceable and irretrievable beauty with something which we have created ourselves.

The Pope is not looking for consultancy work in the oil, mining or timber industries.

The earth’s resources are also being plundered because of short-sighted approaches to the economy, commerce and production.

The Pope clearly has no idea of how great a stranglehold environmental compliance now holds over the productive sector of the economy.

In assessing the environmental impact of any project, concern is usually shown for its effects on soil, water and air, yet few careful studies are made of its impact on biodiversity, as if the loss of species or animals and plant groups were of little importance.

The Pope gets the palm oil problem – but hasn’t quite twigged that this is a direct consequence of all the environmental nonsense he bigs up elsewhere in his encyclical.

The replacement of virgin forest with plantations of trees, usually monocultures, is rarely adequately analyzed.

The Pope has a t-shirt that says: “Property is theft.”

In some places, rural and urban alike, the privatization of certain spaces has restricted people’s access to places of particular beauty

The Pope may be a lefty but he is not a Malthusian

To blame population growth instead of extreme and selective consumerism on the part of some, is one way of refusing to face the issues.

The Pope doesn’t want to come across as too unreasonable, though

At one extreme, we find those who doggedly uphold the myth of progress and tell us that ecological problems will solve themselves simply with the application of new technology and without any need for ethical considerations or deep change. At the other extreme are those who view men and women and all their interventions as no more than a threat, jeopardizing the global ecosystem, and consequently the presence of human beings on the planet should be reduced and all forms of intervention prohibited. Viable future scenarios will have to be generated between these extremes, since there is no one path to a solution.

The Pope doesn’t like the bit in Genesis which says God granted man “dominion” over earth

[This] has encouraged the unbridled exploitation of nature by painting him as domineering and destructive by nature. This is not a correct interpretation of the Bible as understood by the Church. Although it is true that we Christians have at times incorrectly interpreted the Scriptures, nowadays we must forcefully reject the notion that our being created in God’s image and given dominion over the earth justifies absolute domination over other creatures. The biblical texts are to be read in their context, with an appropriate hermeneutic, recognizing that they tell us to “till and keep” the garden of the world

The Pope, like the Club of Rome, suspects that “The Earth has a cancer and the cancer is Man.”

Modern anthropocentrism has paradoxically ended up prizing technical thought over reality, since “the technological mind sees nature as an insensate order, as a cold body of facts, as a mere ‘given’, as an object of utility, as raw material to be hammered into useful shape; it views the cosmos similarly as a mere ‘space’ into which objects can be thrown with complete indifference”.[92] The intrinsic dignity of the world is thus compromised.

The Pope has either read up on Gaia theory. Or possibly been very impressed by the shiny tree thing in Avatar.

It cannot be emphasized enough how everything is interconnected.

The Pope is not in the running to be the next presenter of Top Gear

Many cars, used by one or more people, circulate in cities, causing traffic congestion, raising the level of pollution, and consuming enormous quantities of non-renewable energy.

The Pope won’t have you dissing The Day After Tomorrow or any of the Mad Max series.

Doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or disdain. We may well be leaving to coming generations debris, desolation and filth.


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