Francis and climate change

So, today we got more official proof of Pope Francis‘ awesomeness with his encyclical calling for government action to address climate change:

Pope Francis on Thursday called for a radical transformation of politics, economics and individual lifestyles to confront environmental degradation and climate change, as his much-awaited papal encyclical blended a biting critique of consumerism and irresponsible development with a plea for swift and unified global action…

“The basic idea is, in order to love God, you have to love your fellow human beings, and you have to love and care for the rest of creation,” said Vincent Miller, who holds a chair in Catholic theology and culture at the University of Dayton, a Catholic college in Ohio. “It gives Francis a very traditional basis to argue for the inclusion of environmental concern at the center of Christian faith.”

He added: “Critics will say the church can’t teach policy, the church can’t teach politics. And Francis is saying, ‘No, these things are at the core of the church’s teaching.’”

And the are.  Stewardship for the environment is one of the core tenets of Catholic social teaching.  Alas, one too often not taking seriously enough as bishops prefer to engage in divisive culture wars.

In anticipation, earlier this week Pew published this FactTank summary on the political divide over the issue.

Liberal Democrats Overwhelmingly Say Solid Evidence Global Warming is Occurring; Most Conservative Republicans Say There is Not

As one of my students (a libertarian) said in an email to me today, Republicans are approaching flat-earther on this.  But, damn, with Fox News and Republican elites falling into line, the Flat Earth view is embarrassingly pervasive.  A slim plurarilty actually endorses the view that the earth is not warming at all (forget human made).

Oh, and for those who argue that the earth has stopped warming, a more careful look at the data suggests there’s no hiatus at all:

The new results, published in the journal Science, may dispel the idea that Earth has been in the midst of a “global warming hiatus” — a period over the past 20 years where the planet’s temperature appears to have risen very little…

Here’s why: The single number — average global temperature — comes from tens of thousands of independent temperature readings. And, in recent decades, the technology for getting those readings has gradually shifted…

Even though the two thermometers were in the same place, they gave different readings. And it was happening all over the world. As more buoys were dropped into the sea — all delivering measurements that were consistently cooler than a ship would show in that same spot — the warming trend in the average global temperature seemed to slow dramatically.

But Karl and his colleagues believe what looked like a flattening of the warming trend actually just reflected a change in the way the temperature was taken. When the team factored in a correction to the historical data that reconciled the buoys with the ships, they found that what had seemed to be a hiatus in warming disappeared.

I’m sure George Will and friends will soon be writing columns about this (well, they might, about how the scientists are lying as part of the global, one-world government agenda).  But let’s end with some fun.  Awesome New Yorker cartoon of the day:






About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

2 Responses to Francis and climate change

  1. rgbact says:

    I skimmed thru the very long encyclical. Very little on climate change, from what i saw. Mostly just generic pro-environment rhetoric. Typical low content statement you read from organizations who have no clue what they’re talking about. I didn’t even see the IPCC mentioned.

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